How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Why are we so afraid to fail?

Could it be that we live in a society where failure is looked down upon? Or that as we were growing up, failure and mistakes = being in trouble? Whatever the reason, the fear of failure is one of the key reasons many do not reach their full potential.

I believe that we forget that making mistakes and failing is part of the learning process. Just because we failed does not mean we are a failure.

There are two main times when failure holds us back:

  • Before we try something new

  • After an event

How to get past the fear of failure

For so many of us, the fear of failure holds us back from trying. We stay stuck in jobs we hate, doing things that we do not enjoy, and our dreams sit on a shelf collecting dust.

  • You are not alone - Everyone is afraid that they will fail; the feeling is normal. The good news is that pushing ourselves even when we are worried is like a muscle. It gets easier every time. The trick is to take the first step.

  • Stop Self-Doubt - Whatever the voice in our heads is screaming: we are not smart enough, good enough, business savvy enough. Start telling it to STOP, you are enough.

  • Use the Fear - A wise person once told me that fear and anxiety are a way for our body to keep us safe. We can use fear as a tool to help us plan for ways to minimize risk.

  • Start Small - Always start with a risk analysis. The goal is to learn and pivot on a small scale.

  • Get Started - It is so easy to get into the research and development trap and get stuck, never wanting to pull the trigger in fear of failure. Learn that progress is better than perfection. Set time limits to our R&D stage, do small soft launches, know that we will improve as we go.

See it in action...

When my husband wanted to leave his job and start his own company, we were afraid that a new company would not generate enough income (use the fear). We decided to invest a couple of hundred dollars in a local savings magazine to test the market (start small). We agreed that he would work evenings and weekends for the first few months to see if we could get enough customers (get started) and save up money when he switched to being his boss.

Dig Deep

What is holding you back? What can we do to push past our fears? Valiant warrior, I encourage you to be honest with yourself and then work through wherever we are. If time or money is holding us back, embrace the books at the library, the web, and YouTube. The world deserves to see your gifts.

Why Failing is not a bad thing

Whether we are learning something new or pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, failure (learning) is a part of the process. It's inevitable that we will make mistakes, that we will miss goals and milestones, that we will "fail" at some point in the process. It is how we react and what we do next that makes the difference between success and settling.

Albert Einstein once said that failure is success in progress. When we look at failure in this light, we remind ourselves growth and progress come in many different forms. When we are doing our best, learning and trying again, we are not failing; we are on the path to success.

What is the lesson learned method?

In the military, there is a practice called "lesson learned". After a mission or a training session, the soldiers will meet for a briefing. They check their egos at the doors to review what went right, what went wrong, and how they can improve for next time. This process has allowed the military and many organizations that have used its principles to grow, improve, and be the best that they can be. Using the backbones of "failures" (lessons learned) to be reviewed, corrected, and learned from you to can start to see how failure is not a bad thing, but something to be accepted as part of the path to success.

The only way to grow is to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Start small, try, learn, and try again. Build up our confidence with small steps at a time.

Be Brave, Stay curious, and always act with love.


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