Updated: Apr 10
Fear of failure is like being stuck in quicksand. You’re probably not happy with your current situation, but you’re too uncomfortable with your options for making meaningful changes in your life. We’re great at procrastinating and coming up with 100 reasons why we can’t move forward, but those are just manifestations of being afraid.
Fear of failure could actually be a fear of several different things. It might be the fear of being judged or criticized. Or it might just be the fear of wasting time on something that we don’t think will work out in the end. Unfortunately, fear can prevent you from ever really knowing your true capabilities.
If your feelings of failure have you handcuffed, understanding these concepts can set you free:
1. Failure isn’t always about you. A great way to make yourself feel depressed is to internalize negative experiences. Try considering your contribution to the situation. Many factors are outside of your control and it’s foolish and counterproductive to take all the blame.
For example, not acknowledging the effect of the economy on your new business venture, or the effect that distance has on an intimate relationship isn’t reasonable. Any failure has contributors that aren’t under your immediate control.
2. It’s just a mental construct. Is a very young child afraid of failure? Of course not. The concept is entirely foreign to them. This is good since none of us would have learned to walk! Learn to enjoy the process of seeing just how far you can take something. Make your goal more about discovery than about accomplishing something specific.
3. There are only results. One of the best ways to figure out what works is to figure out what doesn’t work. We learn by trying ideas. Regardless of whether or not an attempt is successful, you learn something every time you try. Then it’s just a matter of applying what you’ve learned to develop a better solution for the next attempt.
4. Have a clear vision of your desired results. What does success really mean to you? Sometimes the fear of failure is actually a fear of failing other people’s expectations. But their definition of success might not match your own. It’s your life. Choose your own vision of success.
5. Think about how you’ll feel if you never try. Sometimes the pain of sitting on the sidelines is stronger than the fear of failing. How will you feel in your later years if you don’t put forth your best effort now? Most seniors regret the things they never tried, not the things at which they failed.
6. Consider the worst likely outcome. What’s the worst that could happen? Could you handle it? What contingency plans could you put into place? If you’re prepared for the worst, there’s no reason to fear failing.
Minimizing your fear of failure is critical to maximizing your success. At some point, it’s important to forge ahead in spite of fear. There’s nothing wrong with taking action, even if you’re a little uncomfortable. Dealing with discomfort is a part of success.
Use these tips to help you conquer your fear of failure. Your life will be enriched in many positive ways.
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