“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”
- J.K. Rowling
Fear happens to all of us. Fear of flying. Fear of public speaking. Fear of never having enough money. But, most of all, people fear failure.
We often let fear take over. It drives our actions. The problem comes when people fear failure so much that they let it cripple them to the point where they don’t even try.
Think of fear as an opportunity for growth. The way you deal with this is like strengthening any other skill. Treat it as a learning experience where you try what works and then you adjust. The biggest consequence of the fear of failure is: We start doing nothing.
No matter how big, no matter how bad you are, fear will be part of your experience. Fear is part of the human experience. No one is immune. Not you. Not me. The difference is in how you respond to that fear.
There are many people who have failed only to become a huge success. Thomas Edison, Oprah, JK Rowling...to name a few. Imagine if these people feared failure. They would never have achieved or succeeded in their life. They never give up attitude helped them. They trusted their abilities. They remained positive throughout their failure journey.
So what can we do to overcome the fear of failure?
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone - Take Risks
To succeed in life, you have to take risks. And unless you practice taking risks, there is no way to get rid of your fear. And if you don't take risks in life, you are likely to find life boring at the best and depressing at the worst.
So the real question is How do you overcome the fear of taking risks?
The answer is, as usual, practice, practice, practice.
By integrating risk-taking into your daily life, you’re signalling to yourself that failure is something you’re not afraid of, that it’s something you accept. You accept that it will occur, and it doesn’t phase you the least bit. By adopting this mindset, you’re setting yourself up for more successes in the future!
Take on challenges in other areas of life outside of where you seek to grow. Ever wonder why triathlons, mud runs and marathons are so popular? People want to push their boundaries and see what they’re capable of. You build willpower and drive. Once you achieve your goal, you can apply the same skills and determination to perform in other areas.
I wanted to find a workout that I enjoyed. I joined rowing and liked it. It was hard and the workouts were strenuous. I would try to equal or surpass my strokes from the last session of every class. By building up my endurance during these classes, it has helped with my other activities. While snowshoeing or hiking up mountains, I take fewer breaks. Before rowing, I would stop every few feet because I was so out of breath.
Take Small Steps to Succeed In Your Goals.
When you start completing your small goals, your self-confidence will start to climb. It will make sure that your fear of failure stays out of your room.
I nearly drowned in high school and swimming scares the heck out of me. When vacationing, if there’s a beach, I would go into the water only as far as my head is still above water. When in a swimming pool, I stay in the shallow end. Recently, a friend introduced me to a floatation belt. She uses this with her students when she teaches aqua fitness. I tried it on and slowly entered the deep end of her pool while holding onto a styrofoam noodle. Eventually, I let go of the noodle and started to flutter kick around the pool. It felt funny not to be able to touch the bottom but got used to the sensation. I’m still not comfortable going into the deep end without the belt, but it’s helping to conquer my fear of water.
Focus your mental energy on what you can control. To focus on the emotion of fear would be wasteful.
Without the proper planning and strategies, nothing can be achieved.
When you get into the process of planning, you snap yourself into long-term thinking. Fear is of the moment. It makes everything seem bigger than they are. Against the backdrop of time, those fears begin to diminish. Instead, they become either legitimate concerns or something not worthy of your attention.
Having a plan also permeates you with confidence. Enough confidence to embrace the fear.
Plan whatever it is you’re doing. Don’t try to be perfect or wait for perfection, plan and go.
Be Kind to Yourself
To overcome the fear of failure is to accept that failure is going to happen. It's unavoidable. And it's also a natural part of growing and experiencing the best of life. When you do fail, learn from it. Accept that failure is part of the process. The victories are so much sweeter because we’ve experienced failures. One of the greatest feelings in the world is finally overcoming a big challenge. It allows us to become a stronger person.
Believe in yourself that no matter how many times you fail, you will get up and come back more strong every time. Develop a "never give up" attitude.
Stay positive. Surrounding yourself with negative people and thoughts will only bring fear of failure. Have confidence in your abilities and never underestimate your capabilities.
Don't let the fear of failure prevent you from experiencing life to the fullest. Ask yourself - “what good is this fear of failure doing you?”
The only thing in life you have control over is how you react to these things. Relax. Adopt a positive mindset and work to make the best decision out of every situation that comes your way.
I would love to hear how you overcame your fear.
(Written by Rita Chin, President & Creator of the It-za... Stay Skirt)