Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail

by Joe Lavelle on April 2, 2009

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I did not make up this phrase.  In fact, I first saw it at the bottom of an e-mail sent to me years ago from a friend that had her e-mail configured to display random inspirational phrases. It was a cathartic moment for me when I saw the phrase at the bottom of that e-mail.  I immediately “borrowed” the phrase by copying it from the e-mail and pasting it into the signature of my e-mails.  It has been in my e-mail signature ever since and has become part of my personal brand.  My catharsis was a result of the realization that the phrase embodied how I try to live and the mindset with which I try to approach every day and every activity.

The phrase is attributed to two people, American writer and editor Dorothea Brande and American inventor, teacher and humanitarian Charles F. Kettering.  Dorothea Brande said, “All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if were impossible to fail.  That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right about face which turns us from failure to success.”  Charles Kettering wrote, “Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”

I believe that achieving the “Act as if were impossible to fail” mindset requires inspiration and a strong determination to make each piece of the world better because of your interaction with it.  Being inspired, or in spirit, places you in a position to succeed by ignoring the perils of fear, insecurity and doubt.  Each one of us has the ability to live an inspired life, though we sometimes fail to because of the challenges that come our way each day.

I’ve tried to live my life according to this principle and have found great success and pleasure in my work and my life. When you eliminate the negative thought patterns associated with the fear of failure, you liberate yourself to embrace victory. When you act as if failure were an impossible outcome, you train your brain to focus on the fastest route to success rather than concentrating on the possibility for mistakes and missteps.

Yes, failure is a fact of life; however, you can learn to view failure as an important lesson rather than feeling disappointment and resignation. As Elbert Hubbard once said, “A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.” When you eliminate the possibility of failure from your vocabulary and life, your errors become lessons that you use to improve your performance in the future and climb higher on the ladder of success. When you act as if it were impossible to fail, you concentrate on your triumphs, and approach challenges with enthusiasm and boldness.

I have just completed writing my first book which I have entitled, you guessed it, Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail.  It will be released shortly.  The book provides professionals with strategies, tools and knowledge that will accelerate their careers.  To put it in simpler vernacular, get raises and promotions faster.

As the book is released, I will be repackaging my coaching services around the Act As If brand and philosophy.  As, such I will be rolling out ActAsIfBlog.com and www.ActAsIfSite.com with the release of Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail.

Finally, I have two requests.

  1. First, please pass the word about Act As If to any professionals you know that want to accelerate their career success.
  2. Second, please tell me what your personal Act As If phrase is in the comments of this post.    For example, football players are told to “Act As If they have been there before” when scoring a touchdown.

Thank you in advance for helping me with both requests.  I look forward to providing you with valuable insight that helps you accelerate your career growth and success!

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