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Overcoming your fear of failure

Whether you’re applying for a job or starting your own business, failure is something you are going to encounter. Not because you didn’t try hard enough, or because you didn’t do everything right. Failure is a natural part of life, so it’s important to not let your fear of failure consume you or stop you from trying.

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.

That is not a weakness. That is life.”

Gene Roddenberry

Too often, we look at failure as the ultimate defeat. And for many people, the desire to simply give up when things don’t work out can be overwhelming. But that’s the one thing you shouldn’t do. Because the reality is you are going to fail. A lot.

Failure isn’t the end. It’s a part of the process of learning. If you’ve failed, it means that you have ruled out one road as a dead end. The great thing is that there are a million other roads to try, and one of them will lead to success. You just need to stick with it.

Failure helps us grow as people. It builds character, grit, resilience, and knowledge. It is a powerful tool wrapped in a tough lesson that can motivate us to win if we let it. The problem is too many people stop prematurely and never see their vision come to fruition.

Don’t let failure cripple you. Let it teach you. Face the very real possibility that you may fail and embrace it. Often the things that we are most afraid of failing at are the things that lead us to a fuller, more rewarding life.

Practical ways to reduce your fear of failure

Analyse 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.

Visualise the best outcome – Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and neutralise self-sabotage. Picture what your life will look like and how you will feel when you succeed.

Consider the worst-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 recognising this can help. Considering what your “Plan B” could be can you feel more confident moving forward.

Practice makes progress – Life is full of ups and downs and if you’re not happy with anything except perfection, you’ll be unhappy a lot! Take a step back every once in a while, and look at your successes as a bigger picture rather than a series of successes and failures. If you’re making overall progress, you’re on the right track!

Face your fears head on

Have you ever built a problem up in your head until it seemed totally insurmountable? Stress and fear are what causes us to procrastinate on important projects, like putting off organising that interview or making those important sales calls.

Failure is your worst fear come true. Something that you put your heart and soul into didn’t work out the way you wanted it to, and that’s heartbreaking. So how do you dust yourself off so you can try again?

Start by setting small goals. It’s easy to lose motivation and fall into procrastination when you’re afraid of failure, so think of an “easy win” goal that isn’t going to overwhelm you. Soon you’ll find that each small goal you meet is helping you to build confidence and is keeping you moving forward.

Learning from failure

Failure helps you disqualify things that aren’t worth your time. Fail early and often and you will be able to quickly assess what works for you. This is where learning from your failure comes into play. Instead of thinking that you’ll never get a job or that your business idea will never work just because you hit a hiccup, see it as a blessing. You’ve just become wiser. That knowledge will serve you well in meeting your ultimate goals.

Nobody likes to fail, it’s scary because it feels horrible. But it is important for us to experience it so we can grow and learn. We need to fail so we can learn to pick ourselves back up again. Instead of fearing failure, try to see it as an unpleasant reality that will accelerate your growth if you let it.