Quit Your Fear of Failure
You’re afraid of failing. Who isn’t? There are times when we dwell on what went wrong in the past, instead of moving forward and learning from our failures. When you continue to learn and push through your fears of failure, it can propel you forward.
Failure and the fear of failure steal your confidence.
You limit yourself because you’re afraid of what will happen.
Beat Your Fear of Failure
- Failure is hard.
- It’s not a train smash, and it’s not permanent.
- Failure empowers you to find your strengths.
- Don’t reside in the past.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Plan and prepare for both failure and success.
- Get back on the horse again.
Thousands of people fail every day, but when you look at others succeed, they never gave up. Knowing more about the things that prevent you from succeeding will help you overcome them.
1. Failure is Hard
If you’re like most of us, the word “failure” sends a shiver down your spine.
Failure feels like a punch in the kidneys.
When you fail at something big, you take a big hit to your self-esteem, and that’s extremely painful.
Often, when we fail at something, we tend to dwell on it – on how embarrassing it is, or on how we’re never going to get another chance at it again.
Failure is tough emotionally and mentally because it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of negativity. You start thinking about all the other things you have failed at.
The fear of being labelled as “stupid” can feel like a weight around your neck and is demoralizing.
It can make us question ourselves. We tend to assign more meaning to failure than is actually there, which can cause us to become overly self-critical. Sometimes our self-criticism becomes internalized and turns into an internal monologue that really brings our self-esteem down. We may berate ourselves with things like “I’m never going to be able”.
This can make us fear failure to the point of paralysis. The gnawing feeling can be all-consuming, leaving us with a sense of hopelessness and confusion about what we could have done differently.
It can hurt in a very tangible way – not only do we have to deal with our own disappointment but also the disappointment of others who were counting on us.
The shame, the guilt, the harsh self-talk (“I’m such a loser” or “I’m not good enough” can make a failure much worse than it really is.
It’s a universal feeling, and it’s difficult to escape.
It’s no wonder, then, that people recoil from failure – that they try everything they can to avoid it!
But there are ways we can come out on top and make it feel less like a disaster and more like a blip on our journey towards success.
2. Failure Isn’t a Train Smash and It’s Not Permanent
Failing means that you’re trying, which means that you haven’t given up yet. And as long as you haven’t given up yet, there’s still time for success!
Think about it: if you only ever tried things you were sure to succeed at; how much would you really accomplish?
Failure is a stepping stone and part of the process of getting where you want to go.
The best way to learn and grow is by failing. It’s temporary – as long as you’re willing to move on from it.
Failure presents the circumstances to learn, to discover what works and what doesn’t, and the chance to grow stronger, wiser, and more experienced for the next challenge. It is not permanent and does not define you unless you let it.
If you are attempting something new and it doesn’t work out, you are enlarging your boundaries anyway.
3. Failure Empowers You to Find Your Strengths
There will be times when all your effort goes down the drain and leaves you with nothing – at least it feels that way.
It’s in these moments when you’re left at rock bottom, that you have to pick yourself back up again. Maybe you have heard about “failing forward.”
The truth is, that failure can help you learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. It can help you hone in on your strengths and find opportunities to build new skills.
The more you fail, the better you get at it. And then, once you’ve failed enough times, you start to understand what your strengths really are.
Think about it: if you’re doing something where you’re constantly succeeding, how can that possibly lead to feedback or a change in approach? It can’t. Failing means there’s room for improvement.
What’s more, sometimes there are things we think are our strengths when they’re actually weaknesses – and vice versa. If we don’t take stock of our failures and consider them seriously and honestly, then we might never grow.
We all want to be successful – but before we can achieve it, we have to put in the hard work of figuring out exactly what it is that will make us successful. Failure helps us do that.
With every failure you’ve experienced, you’ve learned something new about yourself and how you are able to apply things differently next time. You’ve also learned something about the process.
If you’ve failed at something, it means you’ve discovered one way that doesn’t work.
4. Don’t Reside in The Past
Dwelling on past failures can be detrimental to your emotional health and ability to succeed in the future.
Overcome the feeling of shame. Find a gap to move through and on towards growth.
This is tough when you are drowning in the throes of failure. Take some time to grieve the loss, but don’t wallow for too long.
Let yourself feel sad about what happened, but try not to drag it out for too long. You don’t want this sadness to turn into resentment or bitterness – those feelings will keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving forward.
It’s important to move on and focus on what’s ahead of you rather than what’s behind you. It might feel like there’s nothing good up ahead. Keep moving forward and eventually, your past will seem more distant and far away.
There’s no point in stressing about something that happened yesterday or last week or last month or last year.
If you’re not careful, you might find yourself so caught up in all the things that have gone wrong that you forget about all the amazing things that have gone right.
We beat ourselves up over our failures. Instead of residing in the past, focus on improving your future.
When mistakes are made, it is important to address them. This does not mean that you should dwell on them for years to come.
The past is the past. It’s over. Done with. Gone!
5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Do you know what’s not helpful? Comparing yourself to other people all the time.
In fact, it can be downright harmful. You’re setting yourself up for disillusionment because you’ll never be able to compete with everyone else. You’ll always come across someone who’s better at something than you. That’s just the way life works.
But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be better than everyone else on the planet. You just have to show up and do your best work.
There will never be another person who has quite the same combination of passion, talent, skillset, and personality as you do.
Your uniqueness adds value – and no one can take that away from you.
Focus on what you’re good at, what you’ve done, and where you want to go.
It’s easy to look at someone else and see that they are doing something or acting a certain way in a given situation and feel like you should mirror them. To be fair, sometimes this is helpful, but not at the cost of rejecting yourself.
There’s only one person you should be competing against and that is yourself.
We’re only as good as we were yesterday. We are striving to get better every day and pushing forward.
If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, you’re going to get discouraged. You have been on the planet for a certain amount of time, have had certain experiences, and have made certain choices. You have strengths and weaknesses no one else has.
6. Plan and Prepare for Both Failure and Success
It’s easy to plan for performance; in fact, you probably do it every day. But are you also planning for the possibility of failure?
As much as we all would love things to go perfectly, the harsh reality is that life isn’t always fair, and neither is work.
There are two ways that having a Plan B can help you:
First of all, if your original idea fails, you have a backup plan ready to go. What if you have a project due tomorrow, but your computer crashes and takes the document with it? If you’ve already set yourself up by saving multiple copies of your work on different devices and platforms, you won’t have to scramble at the last minute or beg for an extension. It may feel like overkill when everything is going well, but when things aren’t going as planned, it will make all the difference.
Second of all, anticipating failure enables you to make better decisions. Consider all the possibilities and risks.
Analyse your strategy from every angle, including how your competition will evaluate it. What are the steps in your process? Who is involved in each step? What could go wrong with this particular step and how to prevent it?
When you plan for success, it’s easy to get caught up in the glory of it all. It’s hard not to fantasize about the big win or envision yourself celebrating after clinching a big deal.
But when you plan for failure, it helps keep your head on straight and forces you to plan for the worst-case scenario so that you’re ready if things don’t go your way.
Plan ahead so you can keep moving toward your goal without suffocating in the muck of the emotions that inevitably come with either result.
7. Get Back on the Horse Again
When you encounter failure, it can be hard to see past it.
It’s easy to let yourself get mired in negative self-talk and other destructive habits that ultimately keep you from moving forward.
Crawl from the doldrums after a setback or failure. None of it involves going back to sleep for six months.
Get back in the game! Grab yourself by the collar and go at it again with more knowledge than you had before.