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How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

Fear makes us human. It protects us from the things that may hurt us along the way. It ensures our safety. But fear can sometimes go overboard. Sometimes, it prevents us from reaching our dreams. It keeps us from success or simply even trying. It amplifies our self-doubts and creates a barrier between us and our greatest potential. 

Fear is simply the art of self-sabotage. We all have different fears. One thing that we have in common is the fear of failure. In one way or another, we are all afraid to fail. 

Failure is my biggest fear. As an entrepreneur and a Coach, people may think that failure and I go along quite well. Honestly, it doesn’t happen all the time. I set a lot of goals for myself. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, not all of those goals come into fruition. When they don’t, I blame myself too hard and everything just snowballs. Sometimes, you may not have realized it but the fear of failure can get the best of us. Thus, I dedicated most of my entrepreneurial journey to learn the depths of this fear. I wanted to know why I have it and how I can overcome it somehow. Here are some of the things I found out. 

 

What causes the fear of failure?

 

Childhood Patterns

We are all raised in different environments and different ways. What’s okay with one may be totally prohibited for another. People raised in harsh environments are afraid of doing the wrong things because they bring trouble. They subconsciously bring that fear as they grow older.

 

Overthinking

Due to our different upbringings, you may be one of those people who think multiple times before doing anything. You want to play it safe. Everytime you think about something that could lead you closer to your goals, you’ll have a hundred reasons why it would not work out. The more you think about it, the longer the list gets.

 

Uncertainty

There are lots of uncertainties surrounding failure. Failing can sometimes mean being booted out of the tribe. When you fail, emotions consume you and there wouldn’t be any logical way out. It is difficult to start over. 

 

Perfectionism

You want things to go just the way you envisioned them to be. You want a perfect world where everything is controlled. You are afraid to go out of your comfort zone. 

 

If you fear failure, it is possible that you have one or all of these characteristics. Don’t be ashamed. We are all in this together. Honestly, I embodied all of these when I started my coaching business. I talked negatively to myself. It took me a while to get over it. 

I was hungry for success. I know I deserve to be successful but I was so afraid of making mistakes. I looked at mistakes as blockages instead of building blocks to the success that I was chasing. I lost creativity and motivation. It was a downward spiral. 

No one taught me how to deal with those situations. My initial response was getting back to my comfort zone - the things that I know too well. There, it’s safe. But then, I realized that my comfort zone is boring. There’s no growth associated with it. It’s doing the same old habits for the exact same results. I knew, by then, that overcoming my fear of failure is the only way out.

 

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

 

Acknowledge It

The reason why we cannot get over the fear is because we cannot even accept it in the first place. It’s easy to mask it and go on with life. Trust me, I have tried that multiple times. And believe me when I say, it’s not going to work. Think of it like putting tape to a broken vase. It’s not going to fix it. 

You have to understand why you fear failure. Acknowledge it. Claim that it could no longer take back your power. 

 

Think Positive

Negative thoughts make you weaker. The more you think and talk negatively, the worse you feel. Stop banging your head to your own wall. Stop self-sabotage.

Instead of thinking about the reasons why you cannot fail, think of the things that failure will teach you. Failures are just lessons designed to make us the better versions of ourselves. Failures are part of success. Think of the good in all the bad. 

 

Set S.M.A.R.T goals

Don’t consider yourself a loser when you fail, maybe you’re just not setting the right goals. Don’t set goals that are too far-fetched from reality. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. 

If your goals are too big, make them bite-size. List the things that you need to accomplish to get closer to that goal in a week, a month, a quarter and then a year. Take small consistent steps and you’ll surely make that goal a reality. 

 

Have a Backup Plan

We don’t live in a perfect world. Bad things may happen when we least expect them to. Prepare for them. Expect the worst-case scenario and know when to execute Plan B. 

Preparation is the key to avoid failure. If you know what to expect, you know what to do. If everything goes according to plan, good for you. If it doesn’t, then there’s nothing to worry about. 

 

Take it Easy

Failure is not a dead end. It is an opportunity to grow. The most successful people had an accumulation of failures too but look at them now.

Failure is self-imposed. It’s just in our minds. Everything that happens to us, good or bad, teaches us a lesson. In reality, you don’t lose when you fail, you learn. Yes, you can’t just wake up one day unafraid of failing, it’s a process. Whenever you feel like it’s getting the best out of you, breathe, relax, count backwards from 5 and go for it. You are a winner. Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from claiming the success you most definitely deserve. 



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