When you know how to overcome fear of failure, nothing can hold you back.
It is completely natural to feel fear. Those butterflies you feel in your stomach when you get nervous? Everyone feels those same butterflies (whether they admit it or not).
But where courageous people power through their fears, the weak cave in to them.
Everything worth doing carries with it a fear. Because every success could potentially be a failure.
Every success worth attaining comes with a possibility of failure. When NASA fires space shuttles to the moon they know there’s a chance that the space shuttle might not make it. The possibility of success, of landing on the moon, is gambled against the possibility of failure, of seeing the space shuttle explode and the astronauts dead.
Sure, NASA could play it safe. They could keep their shuttles locked up. They could stop space travel. But mankind wasn’t built to cave in at the possibility of failure. Mankind was made to power through the fear of failure and conquer.
Every great mission starts that same way. We see the goal, the success, and we see the possible failure. And we decide. We do this? We don’t do this? We overcome fear? We cave in to it?
The possibilities of fear and failure follow us every day of our lives.
You want a raise. Your boss could fire you for asking. You ask? You don’t ask?
You see someone you’re really attracted to. You talk to them? You don’t talk to them?
You dream of becoming a famous artist, but that means quitting your job to follow your passion. You follow your dream? You don’t follow your dream? You might end up poor. Still, is it better to be poor and happy or rich and unhappy? Who knows? Lot’s of people are afraid to find out.
Fear of failure is there always. And it’s up to you to overcome it. You have to decide to face the fear in your life and beat it.
So ask yourself, right now, while you’ve got the power to change: Are you suffering from fear of failure?
All right. Time for you to step up, mate. Let’s get to it. Do you know how to overcome fear of failure or not? Answer these questions and you’ll know one way or another.
- I’m afraid to fail.
- I play it too safe.
- I’m afraid of choking before a group.
- I worry about making mistakes.
- I’m afraid of disapproval.
- I worry about looking incompetent.
- I dread I won’t do well enough.
- I lack confidence in my abilities.
- I feel anxious when uncertain.
- Others will evaluate me negatively.
Test from Bill Knaus on Psychology Today
If you answered yes to any one question, you’ve found a weak spot in your psyche that you can work on.
Answered YES to Play It Safe? Conquer that. Beat that. Find ways to not play it safe. And do it today (time is the essence of all things). Do it today and tomorrow you’ll be stronger.
Think others will judge you negatively? Yeah. Tons of people suffer that fear. Don’t take it. Don’t let that be your downfall. Smash that fear to smitherines. Do something, TODAY, that you think people might judge you negatively for. Overcome that fear. You’ll grow stronger.
We’re building our strength and overcoming fear. Let’s continue this.
So you know you’ll fail? That’s great. Fail. And grow stronger from it.
Failure means falling short. It means not getting the result you want. You got a B+ but you wanted an A. You ran that mile in 5 minutes, you wanted 4 and a half. Failure.
Crazy thing is, failure isn’t failure.
Failure is lesser success.
You ran a mile in 5 minutes but you wanted to do it in four and a half. That’s not failure. That’s success to a slighter less degree than you anticipated.
You wanted to write a bestseller. But your book only sold a hundred copies and most of those were to friends and family. That’s not failure .That’s success to a lesser degree than you anticipated.
You wanted to get a first class honours degree. You got second with honours. That’s not failure. That’s success to a lesser degree than you anticipated.
Stop saying you’re failing. Why lie to yourself? You’re not failing. You’re succeeding, but at a slightly slower rate than you would want. Maybe if you stopped expecting too much you would be happy.
Besides, every time you do fail you will get closer to success. Having run that mile in five minutes you’re that much closer to running it in 4 and a half.
And really, you’ve got ask yourself, have you really failed for trying something and getting a good but not great result? And if so, is the failure in the result, or in the unfair expectation you placed on yourself when you started out?
Truth is, if you fail anywhere it’s not in the result, it’s in the prediction
99% of the time, the end result of something is not the failure. You wanted your start-up company to make a million this year but you made 50 grand. The failure there isn’t the 50 grand. The failure is your wrong prediction. That’s the failure.
And this is the vital point: Your fear of failure stems from your predictions, and it’s your predictions that are wrong in the first place.
Why does it hurt to get second when you wanted first? Because you wanted first.
Why does it mess you up to make $50,000 a year when you wanted $100,000? Because you wanted $100,000.
Why does it sting when your blog gets 80,000 hits a month and you wanted 200,000? Because you wanted 200,000.
It’s the prediction that stings. It’s the fact that you told yourself you were going to do something, and then you didn’t quite meet your own expectations.
You can see how to overcome fear of failure now, right?
Your fear is based on the idea of not meeting your own expectations. OR of not meeting someone else’s expectations.
So how so you overcome fear of failure? Simple. Stop making your expectations the be all and end all.
Results are not what matters in life. What matters is the journey. So your start-up made $20,000 less than you expected. How much did you learn along the way? How much fun did you have? How much did you grow?
When you say to yourself “I want $50,000 from this thing this year” you’re placing your entire stock in one arbitrary figure.
Life’s deeper than that.
Life’s not about results. It’s about the journey.
And besides, even if you were perfect would you be happy?
If you want to know how to overcome the fear of failure, throw your expectations out the window. Don’t base your life on facts and figures. Open your mind to the bigger picture.
When you base your existence on the journey and not on the destination, you cannot fail, because no matter where you go, so long as you keep moving you will have been on a grand journey.
And that’s the key to overcoming fear of failure: Throw those damn expectations out the window, and live for the actual moments of your life.
Fear be damned.