Fear of failure is one of the heaviest weights that often hold us back from success. This common and powerful condition is closely related to fear of criticism and fear of rejection. Truly successful people must find ways to overcome their fear of failure. That doesn’t mean this potentially paralyzing set of fears goes away. It simply means that to obtain ones goals, we must learn to move forward in spite of those fears…
The Law of Feedback states: there is no failure; there is only feedback. All information can be applied to success. Successful people look at mistakes as outcomes or results, not as failure. Unsuccessful people look at mistakes as permanent and personal.
Buckminster Fuller wrote, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through their mistakes.”
Many people self-limit. They get in their own way sabotaging potential success BEFORE they’ve even tried… It’s important to realize that in everything we do, there’s always a chance that we’ll fail. Facing that chance, and embracing it, is not only courageous – it also gives us a fuller, more rewarding life.
So let’s explore a few ways to handle those fears and move toward success….
Analyze all potential outcomes – Many people experience fear of failure because they fear the unknown. Remove that fear by considering all of the potential outcomes of your decision. You might use an approach called “Mind Mapping” (google it) to help with your considerations..
Learn to think more positively – Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and neutralize self-sabotage. There is a lot of new research that shows a positive focus and attitude can not only help us be successful, but actually can affect us on a biochemical level, helping us stay healthy AND happy.
Look at the worse-case scenario – In some cases, the worst case scenario may be genuinely disastrous, and it may be perfectly rational to fear failure. In other cases, however, this worst case may actually not be that bad, and recognizing this can help. This may seem counter to the “positive thinking” approach but actually is a way to stay prepared and “try on the shoes” of failure to reduce the anxiety of that potential.
Have a contingency plan – If you’re afraid of failing at something, having a “Plan B” in place can help you feel more confident about moving forward. In real estate we talk about “exit strategies”. We always want to have several possible exit strategies so we can change and adapt as each situation dictates. Feeling locked in to only one approach is what leads to feelings of helplessness and ultimately failure.