Imagine if you could do anything in the world without feeling fear or any negative feelings.
Fear of failure is instilled in us from early childhood. We’re told not to do that, avoid this, or else.
After awhile you become cautious. Instead of taking action, you seek permission and confirmation.
As we grow, this belief tends to become unconscious and automatic. You aren’t aware of it’s presence, yet it controls you from the shadows, like an invisible puppet master.
Overcoming fear of failure is not easy, but it can be done, especially when you are determined to take your personal growth to the next level.
There is no magic pill. You don’t have to become fearless.
You have to be willing to face and investigate your fears.
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 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 wanted the best for you.
It’s easy to see how your past self interpreted events. But if you look at the event as an outsider, you 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. If you try, you end up feeling overwhelmed. Everything may begin to feel hopeless and not worth doing, because you just don’t know how, or where, to start.
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 in front of me, clarity emerged. 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 sought out the information I needed.
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, 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
Failure is inevitable if you want to live a remarkable life.
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 seek the comfortable path.
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 more you grow.
If you want the life of your dreams, make failure a part of your life.
Embrace the temporary pain of uncertainty and struggle.
4. Fail More. Succeed More.
“There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen
The more you fail, the more you succeed.
I learned that lesson early in life. When I became a professional poker player, I was 18, and I already knew that the more feedback I received, the faster I learned.
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 a stepping stone, not a death sentence.
5. Failure is Temporary
“Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown
Failure feels permanent, but it isn’t.
When you imagine failing, you probably play an internal movie until you fail, and the credits roll. But real life doesn’t work like that.
Consider some of your favorite movies. The protagonist may struggle. He or she may fail over and over again, until a vital lesson is learned.
You can’t predict the future, which means you don’t know if failure is good or bad. If you learn from it, and keep going, chances are it’s going to improve your chances of success.
Failure molds you into your ideal self.
I’ve failed more times than I can count, yet I still fear failure. The difference now versus my past self 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.
It’s a mental movie that stops before the story even starts.
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, 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 is 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. They often serve a hidden purpose that only reveals itself in hindsight.
Your fears 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 just fine.
Look at each failure as a blessing in disguise. It is not through our successes that we become wise, but through our failures.
I learned this lesson 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 prolonged periods.
It can be extremely frustrating, but it teaches you discipline, and it teaches you to value process over results.
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 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 some get through them easily, others become stuck. Use your fears as signposts that tell you where you have room to grow.
Fear of failure is something everyone has to face.
It may feel horrible. That’s 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 ridicule you?
This is a story. A movie. You can let it all be.
In a way, you’re not afraid of failing, you’re afraid of the mental movie you keep playing.
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 seems to be etched into our DNA.
The sooner you befriend your fear, the faster you can move 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 I deem important, such as a book or ocourse, 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. The internet gives you access to a sea of information.
You can learn and do whatever you feel inspired to do. It’s fantastic. But you can also drown in that sea if you don’t know how to swim.
The key is to learn enough to take the next step.
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 wait 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.
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 a future where fear controls your life.
What does it look like?
Where do you end up?
Do you think you would regret it when you’re taking your last breath?
Now imagine your life having followed your passion despite your fears. You would be living the life you always desired.
You would look back at your life without regret. Mistakes will have been made. You may even have embarrassed yourself once or twice, but it will have added splashes of color to the canvas of your life.
You can sit at home and feel sorry for yourself. But it’s not going to change your life.
In order to live a regret-free life, you have to be willing to make mistakes. Throw some color at the canvas and see what happens. You might just be surprised at what you discover.
Live life for you, not for anyone else.
This is your experience. Enjoy it.
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 are pulled to the past or the future.
We regret what we’ve done (or not done), and 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.
There are no problems in the present. If you’re reading this, chances are high that you are okay. 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
When you decide to follow your passion, you are 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. I invite you to try it.
Overcoming fear of failure is as hard as you make it. When you face your fears, you realize that they aren’t as bad as you thought they’d be.
So what will it be?
Your fears, or the life of your dreams?
Enjoy the ride,
P.S. Would you like to learn how to follow your heart, and live a fulfilling life? I invite you to check out my popular book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.
It’s affordable, practical, and to the point. Check it out if you’re even a bit interested.