by Doris Helge, Ph.D. © 2011


What happens when you enthusiastically pursue a goal even though you’ve never proven you can succeed in that arena . . . and you refuse to label yourself a failure when you don’t immediately achieve your goal?

You have a rich history of doing this. In fact, this pattern was responsible for one of your greatest successes: You ignored Physics 101 and defied the force of gravity.

When you were a small child learning to walk, you fell over and over again. Even though you were often frustrated, you didn’t label yourself “a failure.” You didn’t feel worthless. Each new attempt to amble around was a hopeful, determined fresh start.

Children learning to walk don’t waste energy judging their performance as inadequate. They focus on what they want. They master many new skills quickly because they see, smell, hear, and taste the benefits of success.

Instead of feeling inadequate, babies concentrate, using all of their senses. “I want to be held. I want to grab that cookie that smells like it will taste yummy. I want to see people smile at me and hear them coo. There’s something interesting in the next room and I’ll do what it takes to get there.”

How about you? Do you really understand that one of the greatest secrets of success is utterly simple?  –  Stand up more often than you fall down.


Below is an exercise my clients love when they’re discouraged or afraid to take a healthy risk. My team and I also field-tested this exercise during the National Happiness at Work Studies that led to writing the book, “Joy on the Job.”

I coach with your brain in mind. I’ve carefully designed exercises like this multisensory activity to enrich stimulation to several areas of your brain that will help you change in positive ways. This helps you enjoy creatively confronting your challenges. Since I’m also helping you link your thinking brain with your emotional brain, exercises like this  help you embrace, rather than fear, new experiences. We can talk later about why a multisensory approach is so important to your achievement. For now, just remember the previous example of how the most rapid human achievers (babies) progress.


  1. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least 10 minutes. Sit quietly and breathe deeply.
  2. Focus on a healthy risk you’ve wanted to take but haven’t because you fear the possibility of failure. Note: Intelligent risks are not impulsive. Although the potential outcome is uncertain, you have previously considered the foreseeable consequences of your actions.
  3. Close your eyes and imagine what life would be like if you did fail. Write a one-sentence description of how you would feel. If you weren’t successful, would you gain feedback that would allow you to improve your method or go another direction?
  4. Complete the following sentence stem. “If I was not afraid of failure, I’d _______________.”
  5. Close your eyes again. Imagine possible benefits of meeting your goal. Talk out loud, using rich multisensory language that describes what it would be like to achieve your desire. Speak in the present tense. Example: “I feel relieved because I’m now comfortable sharing my opinions in a tactful way. I see a new sparkle in my eyes when I look in the mirror. I hear myself breathing deep, calm breaths. When I hold my favorite pen or smell freshly perked coffee, I remember how satisfying it feels to accomplish an objective. Each time I take a bite out of a delicious piece of food, I savor the sweet memory of the taste of success.”
  6. Pause a few moments to cherish the vivid sensations of achieving your goal.
  7. Now imagine how it will feel if you do nothing. What will your life be like if you just continue to experience what dissatisfies you?
  8. Decide if you have more to gain by clinging to your “familiar zone” and not attempting to achieve your dreams by taking a healthy risk.


Avoiding risks is so risky that it’s a reliable recipe for failure and unhappiness. Since only a hen lays down on the job and gets results, take your next steps now.

  • Write down the next healthy risk you’re going to take.
  • When will you take your next step forward?
  • How is this willingness to bet on yourself evidence that you trust the process of your life?

Post your note where you’ll see it often. After two days, send me an email letting me know about your progress.


Asking for help when you feel stuck is a sign of high self-esteem. Would you like to work with a coach who helps you use sound science to overcome the blocks to your happiness and success? Contact me for a FREE laser coaching session. Discover how quickly you can move into the fast lane and achieve your dreams. Contact Doris below using the contact form,.

Visit and claim your free ebooks & podcasts, including “Secrets of Happiness at Work” and “Get the Respect & Appreciation You Deserve Now.” Doris Helge, Ph.D., “The Joy Coach” is author of “Joy on the Job” and “Transforming Pain Into Power.” Discover more at

© 2011. Permission to reprint this article is granted if the article is in tact, with proper credit given. All reprints must state, “Reprinted with permission by Doris Helge, Ph.D. Originally published in “Joy on the Job” & © 2011