The fear of failure is something that almost everyone experiences in some form. It can be a powerful tool that drives your actions, or a formidable force holding you back. In this post, I will discuss how the fear of failure can stand in the way of achieving success, and then give you strategies for overcoming it.
The fear of failure has killed more dreams than all other fears combined. The fear of failure is deceptive because it’s largely in your imagination. It can also prevent you from even trying in the first place, which by default guarantees failure.
Your fear of failure is a barrier that stands between you and success. It’s not stopping you from falling, however, but rather it’s pushing you towards failing while prematurely giving up.
The consequences of this are that you end up underachieving, wasting time, and falling short of your true potential as a person who is capable of greatness.
It’s interesting that very small children have no concept of failure. They couldn’t care less if they fail to do something. They just try again. There are no negative thoughts or emotions involved. They just keep on going.
But it doesn’t take long before children learn to fear the opinions of others.
As they grow older, they start building negative beliefs about failure. And this is how it begins.
As we get older, failure means more to us than when we were kids. We have a lot of thoughts and emotions tied to failure. Not just from life experiences but from what we’ve been taught in our society. We learn that failures are bad and should be avoided at all costs.
It might not be possible to recapture a toddler’s mentality, but you can come close. The fear of failure doesn’t have to impact your life significantly.
Consider these facts about failure
Failure is temporary
Unless you quit. Failure isn’t final unless you give up. All the most successful people have experienced a lot of failures. But they ended up being successful because they didn’t quit. Failure is just a temporary state that means nothing because it’s only temporary.
Failure is common
You’ve failed thousands of times and managed to survive. Consider how many times you failed to walk or to talk well. Babies have constant failure.
Successful people fail all of the time. It’s a huge part of how human beings learn. We realize that our approach didn’t work, we adjust, and we try again.
Failure is a learning opportunity
You can learn something from every single one of your failures. Failure makes you more knowledgeable and capable. The more you fail, the stronger you become.
Others are far less concerned about your failure than you think
A few people might notice your failure, but they quickly turn their attention back to themselves and their own challenges.
There’s nothing to worry about. Feel free to fail as much as necessary. Fail enough and you’ll quickly see that no one relevant cares. Because those that are pursuing success are doing their work and failing forward too!
Focus on how great it will be when you succeed
Instead of worrying about possible failure, consider possible success. Make yourself feel excited and positive about taking action.
With high enough expectations, you’ll do just about anything without worrying about failure.
Redirect your thoughts
Put your attention on what you’re doing. If a negative outcome isn’t going to cause any real harm, forget about the outcome. Stay focused on your actions or something positive. Thinking about failing will freeze you in your tracks every time.
Consider the cost of doing nothing
Taking action might be a little scary, but what will happen if you do nothing?
What will you feel about failing to take action?
What if you’re stuck in your current life for the next decade or more?
Maybe taking a risk is far more attractive than remaining where you are.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing? Probably a lot more than you’re currently doing!
How much has the fear of failure limited your life?
We’ve all allowed the fear of failure to influence our decisions. We’ve allowed this fear to stop us from trying new things or taking risks. We all have smaller lives than we could because we’re too concerned with what others think.
Rejecting the fear of failure is one of the greatest things you can do for your future!
You can start today. What are you going to do today that you’ve been afraid to try?
Nobody enjoys failing, but you may be letting a fear of failure sabotage your chances for success. Some people are so afraid to fail that they refuse to try. However, failing to try is the only true failure. If you try something and fail, try again. Eventually, you'll succeed.
Without trying, your chances of success are 0%.
There are countless stories of successful people that failed but didn't give up. Perseverance led them to success.
Consider these stories about some women who simply wouldn't quit:
Before she became an Oscar-winning actress, Halle Berry has shared that she spent some time in a homeless shelter when trying to break into show business. At the beginning of her career, at the age of 21 after finishing as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and coming in sixth in the Miss World 1986, she took her modeling money and headed to NYC, and was without cash three months later.
She landed her breakthrough role in Boomerang in 1992 and went on to be one of the highest-paid actresses in the 2000s, and became a Revlon spokesmodel. Choosing motherhood later in life, she is currently living out motherhood and working behind the scenes in production.
After working as a news co-anchor in Baltimore’ for seven and a half months in her early twenties, Oprah was put on morning TV. This was considered a significant step down from her original role.
Through that experience, she met her best friend Gayle, and what appeared to be a failure, arguably launched her on her path to incredible career success. She went on to host a talk show that dominated daytime TV for 25 years, became the queen of her own media empire, and has become a living inspiration to women of all colors and backgrounds alike.
Starting out as a figure skater, she dreamed of making it to the Olympics. But she failed to make the 1968 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.
That failure led to her accepting an internship with Vogue. After 15 years with the magazine, Wang was passed over for the editor-in-chief position. As a result, she ended up exactly where she was supposed to be.
It’s hard to even think of wedding attire without her name coming up, as she is an incredibly successful and iconic fashion designer.
The Harry Potter author’s story is one that you seemingly only read in a good book.
Rowling wrote the first book in the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as a struggling single mother on welfare. She endured 12 rejections from publishers, and eventually reportedly sold the book for $4,000.
The series went on to break various sales records, be turned into an amazingly successful film series, and earn an unreplaceable spot in the hearts of children and adults all over the world.
It is worth noting that J.K. Rowling is now worth an estimated $1 billion dollars.
How can things be different if you don’t let your fear of failure win?
If you're letting a fear of failure hold you back from accomplishing your dreams, think about all these examples. How different would things have been if they had quit?
How many lives would have been left unimpacted in a multitude of ways?
The world needs your failures as much as it needs your success!
If these individuals had been afraid to fail, they wouldn't have gone on to achieve the incredible success the world has enjoyed with them.
Successful people embrace failure because they realize that there is no such thing as success without it.
This is the life you are supposed to be living, and the post you are supposed to be reading.
Failure is a crucial part of growth. But you don't have to fail alone.
Interested in partnering with someone to help you navigate failure to get to success?
Book a discovery call today to see how we can work together.
As a personal and professional development coach, I help women live the life they want by understanding their personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses, but then also how to use those strengths and weaknesses to their fullest potential and highest advantage. I am a Myers Briggs Personality test enthusiast, and I use the Myers Briggs Personality Test in helping my coaching clients with the services that I provide. You can find out more here.