Fear and Failure

Sue Enquist – Fear and Failure

Just caught another great talk from the “What Drives Winning Conference” and this time it was with Sue Enquist the former UCLA Softball coach and 11 time National Champion. She touched on the concepts of “Fear and Failure”.

I believe that both are imperative for growth, which eventually leads to success on and off the playing field. Growing up I was taught that both are actually negative. The concept went as follows fear should be considered taboo because in order to attack a project or an opponent effectively fear must be absent, you can’t be scared or show fear. This is the case for many of us growing up, and spans across many cultures.  

Eventually the talk became about overcoming fears but the first thing we must know are those fears that hold us back, and honest self-realization would have to come into play. She points out that failure on the hand is a feeling we have when an action doesn’t get the results we expected – it becomes self made which also becomes heightened by the reactions of coaches and teammates. This combination isn’t exactly a formula for growth on the surface.

As I got older and my work with athletes and actors grew, I soon realized that greatness comes from both fear and failure. I can truly relate with Sue Enquist and herviews.  Strength, growth, and skills of all kinds are born from these 2 concepts that were not encouraged for me or my players and actors. It was obvious to me that I was helping people overcome their fears and failures but I had done a poor job of facing my own. This is when I noticed something had to change, I had to grow my inner voice – the positive one - and let that voice be the carrier of my goals and dreams.  Sue Enquist calls this the battle of the Strong Voice vs the Weak Voice. She says that you can’t change the Weak Voice but you can make it so that the Strong Voice has the last word. Here are some more nuggets from the video that I strongly encourage you to watch!

33% Rule

1/3 of people you come across your day will suck the life out of you (Bottom)

1/3 of them are “blow in the wind” people – ones who waver throughout the day (Middle)

1/3 are the special ones who gives you everything they have (Top)

Protect yourself from the bottom 1/3 – do not let them to effect you

Doubt is a part of ourselves that fuels us

Culture and mindset doesn’t change with one event it happens drip by drip

Stain your brain with the Strong Voice

Our calling is to effect the way people believe in themselves

Be an engineer for belief

Where they’ve been -> Where they are -> Where they are going

Have and live the PHD in convincing – convince your players of what they haven’t seen yet

Failure/Success – they hold hands


Create the hardest practice AND the safest environment

Excellence waits for no one