I work with both career women and entrepreneurs and almost all of them tell me they have a fear of failure.
The source of the fear does vary such as “I might appear stupid” or “I’m not good enough”. But for both groups of women, the feeling can be paralysing and cause procrastination.
That can then lead to us playing small, not moving out of our comfort zones and not taking up new opportunities.
If you’d like to conquer your fear of failure then I have 4 proven secrets to share with you.
Stop running films in your head.
This type of thinking is known as ‘what if’ thinking. When we play films in our mind about the possible catastrophes that could happen. The mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and our thinking.
The mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and our thinking. Instead, decide if there is anything you can do to prevent the worst possibilities. If not then let go of the film because it’s out of your control. Distract yourself or focus on what are the positives that could happen.
Surprisingly the students asked to be positive about the week had less energy and achieved less during the week than the control group.
This demonstrates that just thinking positively isn’t enough to achieve the outcomes we want. Research has shown that the best outcomes are created when we balance positive thinking with visualising the future obstacles and struggles we will encounter.
Have a go at visualising a situation in which you are afraid of failure. Imagine yourself now hitting an obstacle, allow yourself to feel the fear, and then see yourself carrying on anyway. Finally think about how you could overcome these obstacles, then see yourself succeeding despite these obstacles.
Separate Yourself From The Failure
When you’ve failed in the past, did you make it about you or the situation? It’s important to take responsibility for our actions, but that doesn’t mean we are the failure. It’s much healthier if you can separate you and your beliefs about yourself from what actually happened.
For example, making a mistake in a project doesn’t mean you’re stupid or not good enough. It just means you made a mistake and can learn from the mistake next time.
Feel The Fear (And Do It AnyWay!)
Even if you use the 2 secrets above you may still have the feeling of fear and because we don’t like to feel uncomfortable it can stop us moving forward.
Rather than doing something to get rid of the feeling, try sitting quietly with the sensations and deep breathing. Or imagine you’re sitting outside yourself observing what you’re doing. Then you’ll find the feeling dissipates by itself and the bodies natural calm returns.
Having realised that the fear is transitory you’ll feel more confident to take action next time.
When we see other people’s successes, it can be tempting to believe that it came easily to them. Or that it was our bad luck that meant we weren’t successful too.
But the truth is that at the heart of almost every successful business, career or relationship there has been some form of failure.
You’ve probably heard the stories of famous people who talk about all the failures that they had before their fabulous successes. For example, the author J.K Rowling says:
“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I suspected.”
As uncomfortable as it feels, failure is essential to our self-development and to build our confidence.
I have had my own experience of failures. Such as; when I’ve developed new coaching programmes or tried new marketing methods, which came to nothing.
However, from these setbacks, I have become confident about what I do and resilient if things don’t go well.
If you feel like a fear of failure is holding you back then here’re 5 reasons not to:
You learn more from failure than success. A study at the University Of Colorado has shown that knowledge picked up from successes is easily forgotten. Whereas knowledge from failures tends to stick with us for years
It teaches you how to get up again and be resilient. The more you fail the more your resilience builds and although you may not want to fail, you’ll lose that fear of failure
You get better at taking risks. Those people who are the most confident and successful have a history of taking risks. Learning to step out of your comfort zone and taking even a small risk is essential to building confidence
It reminds you that every phase of life is temporary. What was a big issue at the time when you failed, often becomes less significant as time passes
You can use it to review what is important to you. If you fail to get a promotion or to achieve your goals it can remind you of what is more important in your life
If there’s a goal you want to achieve or an opportunity you’d like to take, but you’re scared you might fail. Then remember that whatever the outcome is, it doesn’t affect who you are or your value to the world.
If you’d like to talk about your goals, your fear of failure or the confidence challenges you have then you can book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Live fully and confidently