There’s not a lot to fear if you’re living in a first-world country. We’re free of wars, famine, plagues, animals that eat us, and dictators. However, fear is part of the human condition. We’ll always find something to be fearful about.
The fear of failure is a common fear that most people have experienced. We don’t like to appear inadequate in front of others.
Unfortunately, if you’re unwilling to risk failure, your life is going to be very limited. Learning to deal with the fear of failure is a worthy goal. Most people avoid situations where they might fail. That just means you’ll have less competition if you can get over your fear.
Take advantage of these strategies and refuse to allow the fear of failure to limit your life:
1. Define your fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you worried about being laughed at by your peers? Would you feel bad about yourself if you failed? Are you worried that you’ll never be successful? Define your fear.
2. Redefine failure. What is failure to you? Is it an inescapable and permanent result? Is it a sign that you’re incapable or inadequate?
◦ A healthier definition of failure is that it’s just an undesired result. You took a guess and you were wrong. You can learn from that result and do better on your next attempt. That’s not so bad.
3. Visualize success. Rather than imagining yourself failing, imagine yourself being successful. Take five minutes a few times each day and imagine yourself succeeding. Notice how great it feels and focus on that feeling.
◦ Give your brain more images of success than of failure. In time, you’ll grow to expect to be successful.
4. Consider the worst-case scenario. What is the worst that can happen? Can you handle it? Of course, you can.
◦ Develop a strategy for dealing with the worst possible outcome. Once you’re certain you can handle the worst, there’s nothing left to worry about.
5. Recall your past failures. You’ve overcome numerous failures. How many times did you fail while learning to walk? To talk? And yet here you are. You survived. We fail in small ways each day and the sun still rises the next day. The world will go on.
6. Become comfortable with discomfort. The thought of failure is uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow it to influence your actions. The uncomfortable sensations of any negative emotions are just suggestions. You’re free to choose how you’re going to respond.
7. Start small. If you’re too uncomfortable to move forward with your plans, just start small. Take a small action and notice that you’re still okay. Tomorrow you can take a slightly bigger step. In no time at all, you’ll be taking massive action toward your goals.
8. Consider what will happen if you allow your fear to stop you. Imagine yourself 20 years from now having not taken this risk. How will you feel about that? You’ll almost certainly regret it.
◦ Think back to your high school days. Remember that boy or girl you were too afraid to speak to? How do you feel about that now? You know that you’d muster up the courage if you could do it again.
◦ We regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.
How much has the fear of failure impacted your life? It’s okay to be afraid, but it’s a little silly if you have a good understanding of failure.
What’s not okay is to allow your fear of failure to keep you out of the game. Your life is passing by. Refuse to allow fear to get in your way. You only have one life to live.