Did you know that the fear of failure can alter everything that we do, as it most likely influences every choice we make?
In some cases, fear can be helpful. Although it’s only the case when we’re able to use the fear of failure, in a positive way. For example as motivation, or encouragement do our possible best.
However, in most cases, fear influences us in a negative way.
We can sometimes go to extreme lengths to avoid what scares us, despite any added inconvenience in the process.
Can you see how this limits our results? We mobilize resources to avoid fear when we could be focusing on creating our desired outcomes instead.
So how do you get out of this vicious circle?
You need to put the fear of failure behind you:
I know, it’s easier said than done …
So here I’ll present 9 options that you can take and apply to do just that.
You can do them all (recommended), or you can pick and choose. The most important thing is to repeat them, include them in your routine, and make them become habits. Soon enough, you’ll be jumping in before you’re ready, with no time to worry about eventually failing. It’s all work in progress, right!?
1. Realize that “failure” is part of the process.
When you can understand that, figuring out the right way to do something, with your first effort is the exception, not the rule. You can easily see that failing is just part of the game. It’s a trying, training, perfecting… The essence here is that it’s not finished. Everything has to develop before it’s accomplished; expecting otherwise, is shortcutting the experience.
Growth can seem rough & tough but it’s also beautiful. That’s where we discover, we experiment and we learn from the resulting lessons, the experience. Shortcuts are great, but the experience is priceless.
So next time you set to achieve a significant goal, please expect the shortcomings, welcome them even. Because they will make you wiser, they will make you stronger; they’ll be contributing to your expertise.
All you have to do is keep improving your process until you’re successful.
2. Notice that failing is only temporary.
Each failing attempt is short lived. It doesn’t last. As soon as you start a new attempt, it’s virtually gone, so there is no much point dwelling on it, right?
The best course is to go ahead and start the next round. With this in mind, it should be easier to let go and concentrate on the next try.
A good analogy is that failure is like a rainy day, it doesn’t matter because there will always be another sunny day on the way. It’s just a waiting game.
3. Don’t take failure personally – It’s not personal.
Think about it, the more successful you are, the most likely you have been training, trialing, attempting than anyone else. Your success only tops the mountain of failures you had to overcome to get there.
Yes, because they should be admired for their dedication and perseverance, for not giving up and showing us it’s possible. They deserve every bit of their achievement – and so will you when you overcome your own fear of failure.
So don’t look at someone successful and envy them thinking they had it good because “they must be so talented”. Instead, look at their achievements and think “Wow! how dedicated.”
4. Find something meaningful.
When something doesn’t work out, it only means that the approach wasn’t the best. It doesn’t say anything about the person performing/attempting the task. Everyone, even the most talented people have to deal with failure on a regular basis. They actually deal with the most amount of failure.
When we are truly motivated, fear ceases to be an issue. If you are unhappy, unsatisfied or struggling to do what you “should” be doing.
Ask yourself “According to whom?” Should are usually an indication of something we don’t want to do. If the reason, if fear… we are working on that. If the reason is elsewhere, for example, work… Then we know we need to change something: the field or the company perhaps.
Try to find a way to transition from something you feel obligated to do to something you love doing. Because when you engage with your passion, fear is much easier to overcome. Love is stronger than fear.
5. Try to stay in the present
Being present will limit the amount of time you spend worrying about the future you have not yet achieved. It’s easy to get lost in our thoughts, past, and future.
So do yourself a favor and stay present. Focus on the task at hand and you’ll be progressing in no time.
You know why they say, time flies when you’re having fun? It’s because we are fully present and we realize just how fast things happen. If you always live in the future, in the anticipation, it feels like forever. That’s because it literally is. The future never comes; it’s behavior the present when it does. So live in the present. Live fully, enjoy every moment.
6. Learn to appreciate the fear
Dangerous life situations aside, being afraid is a sign that you’re doing something new. That uncomfortable feeling is the sign that something amazing might happen soon.
As you take new action and add new things into your life, it creates new consequences and new results. But your Ego doesn’t like “new”, it’s a preservation mechanism. So recognize the fear as just that. Don’t let it stop you. i.e. Never let it stop you unless it’s life-threatening.
If you want new results, you know that you have to try something else. Otherwise, you’ll just keep getting what you have always had. It’s common sense. But our ego doesn’t have any, so don’t expect it to. It’s just doing its job of protecting you from the unknown.
That’s why you are to take charge and show your ego who’s the boss by persevering. It will fall back in line, that’s experienced when our comfort zone grows.
It’s your job to expand yourself or not… and it’s mine to remind you of that
7. Reduce fear by taking more actions
When we are afraid, we can experience a sense of paralysis, we freeze before we panic. This reaction comes from a stimulus we receive from what scares us. Something conditioned you to behave in such a
So by giving in to fear, you keep teaching your brain, that fear is an effective way to control your behavior.
It will continue to bring up the fear, because it works.
Instead, acknowledge the conditioning, ignore the fear and take action. You will notice it has the opposite effect. You will end up teaching yourself, that fear doesn’t impact your behavior. In time, you’ll also notice that the amount of fear you fee will be considerably reduced.
8. Plan your future
Planning is not the same as empty wishing (see No.5 for the dangers of living in the future daydream world). Having a plan give you structure and a guide map to follow, or to aim at.
Keeping that as a reference, what do you think will happen if you continue to allow fear to shape your behavior? What will your life look like in 10 – 20 years from now?
Now think, imagine. How would your life be different if fear didn’t control you or your action? what would you do? What could you achieve?
Lastly, I know you saw this coming. Would you rather be a little uncomfortable now or be filled with regret for the rest of your life?
The answers to these questions should help you to start planning/shaping your future deliberately, rather than just letting it happen.
You create your future “Now” – always.
9. Try to see your failures as opportunities to learn.
Failing might hurt, the moment it happens but it will also provide you with invaluable information. Take a moment to acknowledge that and search for it when it happens. I know it’s difficult but this habit will also serve as a distraction from the sting.
We all know small improvements are often enough to turn a failed attempt into a roaring success. So bide your time, look for the lessons and apply them to the next attempt.
There you have them, 9 principles/keys, you can apply in your life today to overcome your fear of failure.
Conclusion: Dealing with the fear of failure is something everyone faces.
Just make sure you follow some of the advise above and avoid allowing it to dictate and limit your life.
Remember that fear is self-created. You can always choose to have an attitude that supports it or instead supports your success.
If you need more support, feel free to check out this online course which will strengthen your mindset and deepen and anchor your learning and resilience to fear and blocking patterns.