If you harbour ambitions to become a top chef in a leading restaurant, or even own your own one day, but don’t feel as though you’re doing enough to realise those dreams, it might be that the fear of failure itself is holding you back.
This is an entirely natural feeling - there’s not a single person on the planet that enjoys failing at something - but all of the most successful people in any profession would tell you that failure is an integral part of your path to success.
If you haven’t failed, you’ve probably not been trying hard enough
Don’t think you’ve ever really failed at anything? It probably means you haven’t tried that much or ventured outside of your comfort zone.
When we push ourselves to try new things, or do anything challenging, it’s likely that sooner or later we’re going to fail at something. This might be taking on a role at a restaurant that is a step above what you’ve done previously, attempting to introduce a particularly difficult technique or taking over the management of a kitchen before you’ve gained enough experience.
If you’ve clocked up a few failures to date, take a moment to reflect on these, have they changed who you are and have they contributed to the development of your career?
Failure is a learning tool
The definition of learning is discovering something you didn’t know before.
When we fail at something, we learn more about ourselves as well as whatever it is we were trying and, ultimately, failed to do. This is as true for for the minor failures, as for the larger failures, eg: first time cooking a soufflé? If it doesn’t turn out how you expected (which is likely when you first make a soufflé) that’s okay - you’re going to be that much better at it the next time. The same goes for major career steps, like launching your own restaurant.
It’s character building
People react in two ways to a failure - either they let it knock them back and subsequently fear trying again, or take it as a learning opportunity and come back stronger.
When you look at successes you’ve had in the past, whether it’s passing your first chef qualifications or rising to the challenge of your first job, they are a culmination of a lot of hard work, determination and maybe the odd failure or struggle along the way.
Trying at something and failing is one of the most character building experiences you can go through as a chef, helping you to realise it’s not necessarily the end of the world and learn from your mistakes for next time.
Build a fearless mindset
Fear of failure is one of the main reasons people hold themselves back in their careers but, rather than lead to it being more entrenched, the experience of failing can actually help to achieve a more fearless mindset. In fact, studies have shown that entrepreneurs were more likely to be risk takers - for the average entrepreneur, failure is just a step along the way to where they need to reach.
You’ll never truly succeed and realise your ambitions without moving outside of your comfort zone, and conquering this fear is essential in this regard. Maintain a positive attitude as much as possible when entering into new challenges, and above all have faith in yourself and your own abilities.