Imagine if you could do anything in the world without feeling fear or any negative feelings whatsoever.
The fear of failure is instilled in us from early childhood because of overly protective parents. It’s not easy to hear the words “No!” over and over again.
After awhile you start getting cautious about what you do. You constantly look to an authority figure to see if it’s okay.
As we grow, this negative belief becomes unconscious. You don’t even know it’s there. You just live your life as best as you can.
Overcoming fear of failure is not easy, but it can be done, especially if you are determined to take your personal growth to the next level.
There is no magic pill that will transform you into a fearless hero, only steps that will take you closer to freedom from the imaginary jail cell of your mind.
1. Identify the Root Cause
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Where does your fear of failure originate?
Sit down, take a few deep breaths, ask yourself when your fear of failure was formed, and observe what you see, feel, or hear.
When you see what caused your fear of failure, you’ll also see that your mind’s interpretation is far from accurate.
If your parents were overly protective, or if you had a particularly strict teacher, you’ll see that they did it because they want the best for you.
It’s easy to see how the you of the past interpreted events as he or she did. But if you look at the event as an outsider, you will see that it had nothing to do with you.
It’s crucial to examine your negative beliefs. They have a big influence on how you live your life.
Here’s a quick video I recorded that’ll help:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci
Complexity is hard to visualize, and if you try, you will feel overwhelmed. Everything will feel hopeless and not worth doing, because you just don’t know how.
When I began my online journey, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea of where to go, what to do, or how to do it.
When I simplified the tasks that I needed to do, it all became much easier. I had no problem taking action because I had broken everything down into actionable pieces.
And if I didn’t know what to do, I asked someone, or joined a training program.
I took the task of starting a website and broke it down to coming up with a domain name, buying hosting, getting a website up and running, and getting a simple design.
It also didn’t hurt that I was determined to make it work. If you don’t have that fire burning inside of you, you should think twice about moving forward.
Find your passion, and boldly go where you have never gone before.
3. Failure is Inevitable
“It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.” — Publius Syrus
Let’s face it, failure is inevitable if you want to live a remarkable life. I know you want to live a life full of passion, meaning, and purpose.
We all do.
But it’s not going to happen if you succumb to your fears and try to look for a more comfortable way out, because there is none.
Sooner or later you will have to overcome the fear of failure, and you will have to overcome many other fears during your lifetime.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting. I know, I’ve been there, but the more you move through tough periods, the faster you’ll grow.
If you want the life of your dreams, make failure a part of your life.
4. Fail More. Succeed More.
“There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen
The more you fail, the more you succeed.
I was lucky to learn that lesson early in my life. When I became a professional poker player, I was 18, and I already knew that the more feedback I got, the faster I would learn.
I crave constructive criticism. It is a chance for me to improve what I’m doing.
I never assume that I know it all, nor do I assume that I am above failure. Even the most successful people fail every single day.
The difference between the successful and the not-yet-successful is the realization that failure is simply a stepping stone, not a permanent event.
5. Failure is Temporary
“Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown
Failure feels permanent, but it isn’t. You and I both know that, but we don’t act like it is so.
You may imagine yourself failing and the movie in your head stops there. If you let the movie play, you will see that that failure may be exactly what you needed.
It may be the messenger of the lesson you needed to succeed down the road. Failure isn’t easy, but it is what will make you the person you want to become.
I’ve failed more times than I can count, yet I still fear failure. The difference now versus when I was in my late teens is that I know that the fear of failure is just a thought.
It conjures up feelings in my body that feel bad. It has no bearing in reality. It is often exaggerated and out of control.
Most people never stop to observe their thoughts. And they never stop to ponder that their thoughts could be wrong.
Why give your thoughts all that authority if they make you feel bad?
6. Free Your Mind
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha
See your thoughts for what they are … thoughts.
Just because you have a thought doesn’t make it true.
We aren’t taught how we create our experience of life, so we end up being prisoners of our mind.
So how does it work? You feel your thinking.
If I have a thought that says I’m not good enough, and I believe that thought, then I’ll experience the corresponding feeling. In other words, I’ll feel like I’m not good enough.
But just because I have that thought, and I believe it, doesn’t make it so.
So how does this help you with the fear of failure? You don’t have to believe every thought you have. If I have a thought tells me that I’ll fail, I can watch it and let it be. I don’t have to react.
You can feel the feeling of failing. Welcome it in your body. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
Below is a short video where I dive deeper into this subject:
7. Shift Your Perspective
“Failure teaches success.” — Japanese Saying
Who taught you that failure was a bad thing?
It feels bad, so it must be bad. Is that really true?
Every belief and thought that makes us feel bad needs to be examined. What good does a fear of failure do us?
It’s easier said than done to eliminate negative beliefs, but it all starts with being aware that a problem actually exists.
The last thing you want to do is get mad at yourself for not being perfect. We all have our unique fears and they are there for a reason.
Your fears will help you grow in the way you need to grow. You realize your negative beliefs when they need to be realized. There is no rush. This is not a competition. You’re doing perfectly.
Look at each failure as a blessing in disguise. It is not through success that we become wise, but through our failures.
I learned this lesson particularly well when I played poker for a living for half a decade. In poker, luck is a big factor, which means that you can play well, but still lose for weeks and months.
It can be extremely frustrating, but what it teaches you is discipline, and it teaches you to constantly improve your game.
It taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life, which is to look at the negative periods as times of learning.
The same goes for life. Whenever you’re faced with something particularly difficult, learn from it and grow, because it will pass.
And if you feel like giving up, watch the below video:
8. Self Growth
“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford
We all have the same basic fears. While same get through them easily, others get stuck. Use your fears as signposts that tell you where you have room to grow.
Fear of failure is something everyone faces at one point or another. This isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of an amazing journey.
I know you may feel like being afraid of failure is horrible. That is because you imagine it to be so in your mind. Look at the pictures and thoughts that come up when you think about the fear of failure.
What do you see? Do you see yourself failing in front of a large group of people, which then proceed to laugh and point?
They are nothing but thoughts. You can let them be. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article.
Even if you wanted to go back to your comfortable existence, it’s already too late, because the seed has been planted by you reading this article 😉
9. Welcome Fear
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Everyone is afraid to one degree or another. No one is different. It’s ingrown into our biological mechanism.
The sooner you befriend your fear, the faster you can keep moving forward. It is not fear that stops you from going after your dreams, but what you decide to do because of those fears.
You can reprogram the way you react to your fears, thoughts, and worries. Whenever I am working on something that is important, such as doing what I love, and a fear pops up, I know I will get through it.
The alternative is giving up, which isn’t an option.
If you are determined to go after your passion, your fears will become insignificant in comparison.
Below is a video on how I welcome my darkest fears.
10. Take Action
“I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison
We have more knowledge at our fingertips now than ever before in history. The internet gives you access to endless amounts of courses, guides, and training programs.
You can learn and do whatever you feel inspired to do. It’s fantastic. But it can also be paralyzing and a breeding ground for fear.
The what if thoughts enter your mind and you start worrying about this and that. No matter what, if you take action, you will eventually end up in the right place.
When you blend action with the guidance that comes from your heart, your progress will be fast, powerful, and fulfilling.
You see, while most people sit on the sidelines waiting for the perfect moment, you will be out there learning, doing, and growing.
That is what will get you to the life of your dreams.
And below is a video on how to take action before you feel ready.
11. Imagine Your Future
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” — Vincent van Gogh
Sometimes negativity helps.
Imagine your future if you let fear control your life.
What does it look like?
Where would you end up?
Do you think you would regret it when you’re taking your last breath?
Now imagine your life if you had followed your passion despite the fears you encountered. You would be living the life you always desired.
You would look back at your life without regrets. Sure, you may have done some foolish things, but they just added some spice to your life.
You can sit home and feel sorry for yourself all you want, but it isn’t going to make your life different. Only you have the power to change your life, so you might as well start now.
12. Stay in the Now
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
Most of us live in either the past or in the future.
We regret what we’ve done (or not done), or we worry about what’s to come.
Using the past and present is fine when done with a purpose, like #11 up there, but letting your mind run amok will do you no good, as you probably already know.
There are no problems in the present. You are okay right now. You have a roof over your head, you have food in the fridge, and you feel fine.
You would be fine without a roof as well. What would make it not okay is your mind, and the stories it tells around your situation.
Accept the gift that is the present moment.
Breathe, smell, hear, and enjoy who you are, right now. You already have the key to your happiness.
Below is a video if you want to dive deeper into how you can live in the present moment.
13. Follow Your Passion
“No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” — William Feather
Last, but definitely not least is to follow your passion.
If you decide to follow your passion, you will be much more likely to blast through your fears.
You know, like me, that doing anything other than going after your dreams is not an option. I might feel secure in a regular job, but I would never be happy or fulfilled.
Sometimes I feel like I am not living life, but life is living me. I go with my feelings and my heart. I do what excites me.
It’s an interesting way to live, and I invite you to try it.
Overcoming fear of failure is as hard as you make it. When you face your fears, you will realize that they are nowhere as bad as you thought they would be.
So what will it be?
Your fears, or the life of your dreams?