The comforting thing you should know about having a fear of failure is that you’re not the only one. It’s completely normal so don’t panic!
For me, getting over some of my fears has been a huge journey. One that I’m still on and always will be because there are always new challenges in business and life in general. I have many fears, however, the fear of failure has always been my biggest weakness.
Being 30 has it’s advantages though as my life experience has taught an awful lot around fears.
Small Steps = Big Difference
Getting over your fears isn’t about changing yourself overnight or doing anything extreme in the heat of the moment. It’s about the journey you take in your pursuit of bravery.
Small actions really have the power to change you and make you grow. If you took one small step every day for the next few weeks or even months, it would amount to a big change
Let today be the start of your journey. Unlike other goals in life, getting over your fear of failure doesn’t need to have a deadline but it does require you to start somewhere.
You can do this by setting small actionable steps that seem less scary than the big fear you currently have. For example, if you wanted to set up your own business but your fear of failure is putting you off, you wouldn’t start by quitting your job tomorrow and suddenly announce your business!
You would take it step by step. Break it down into chunks:
Day 1: Research your idea
Day 2: Look at the costs involved, etc.
As you can see, it’s the small steps you need to concentrate on to get to the end result. If you let your fear drive your decision, you’ll never even make a start.
Ask yourself this:
What happens when I let fear drive my decisions?
Take a few minutes to think about it, even write your answer down. It really helps to get your thoughts down on paper.
Redefine the Word ‘Fail’
You need to explore the actual word ‘fail’. What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel?
Most people associate that word with negative feelings and emotions, but honestly, it’s more the word that we’re afraid of than anything else! Luckily for us it’s just a word and we can allow ourselves to feel however we want about it.
For me, a good acronym for the word fail is ‘first attempt in learning’ and the word fear ‘false evidence appearing real’ It’s really all about how we choose to interpret it.
Personally I love the fear acronym because it suggests that we sometimes create false feelings linked to a situation in our minds without having concrete evidence of it being true.
Think about your fear of failure for a second, are you just creating the worst scenario in your head without any evidence? Our minds are programmed to keep us safe physically and emotionally. So anything that your brain associates with negative outcomes will generally make you feel scared.
Perhaps you need to understand where this fear is coming from for you to eliminate it. Read my post:
Think of 3 situations in the past when you’ve been brave. Ask yourself this :
What was I initially afraid of?
Don’t Have Regrets
I want to tell you about a life story of mine…
When I finished school at 16 I really wanted to pursue an acting career. I applied to go to college and do a an acting course, I was so excited.
I got my letter through the post one morning, and much to my disappointment the letter advised me that I had to audition with a script enclosed. Of course, I knew that auditioning was part of having an acting career but I was needing more confidence and I was hoping to get that from the acting course itself.
To cut a long story short, I never made it to the audition and never got into the class. The thing that held me back was fear of failing. I was scared of not getting in.
I obviously never made it as an actress and even though I love my job now, I still regret that decision because I will never know what my life could have been.
Don’t let fear win. Think about your decisions and how they can really impact your life if you give in to fear. You’re stronger, braver, and smarter than that, I know it!
Ask yourself this:
When in my life have I regretted not being brave?
Shut Down Your Inner Voice
It’s that nagging aunt again, showing up in your thoughts every time you want to do something differently “what if this” and “what if that”
To shut her down you need to first realise that practice makes perfect. You might not get it right the first time but that’s OK! No successful person got it right the first time, trust me!
Secondly, putting yourself out there is a positive process, so smile! You’re doing something for yourself, it should feel good and it will if you silence your negative thoughts.
Speak to yourself as if you would your best friend. There’s no way you’d say to her “You won’t be able to do that because you’ll fail” so don’t say it to yourself, simple! Tell yourself the opposite thing instead “I will succeed no matter what”
Ask yourself this:
What can I achieve without this fear?
Celebrate the Small Wins
Set small goals like I mentioned earlier and celebrate every time you do something that scares you slightly. Go as far as deciding how you’re going to celebrate your accomplishments.
To me, there’s no such thing as failure. Only lessons learned and knowledge gained by what didn’t go right the first time and what to do differently next time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, use it to your advantage.
At least at the end of your life you can say the words “I tried”
Finally, ask yourself this:
What have been some concrete pay-offs in my life for being brave?