The fear of failure is probably one of the universal feelings people experience across the globe and throughout the ages. Even the most confident and positive people have encountered the fear of failure. Most things worth doing involve a real possibility of failure. Rewarding goals always carry the risk of being unsuccessful.
Attempting to avoid failure can easily result in missing out on your dreams. If the fear of failure holds you back from pursuing a worthwhile relationship, new job, or new business, the reality of an unfulfilled life might be worse than experiencing the consequences of failure.
Samuel Clemens, commonly known as Mark Twain, reinforces this point by reflecting, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
For most people, this question prompts many answers. Others may not have an answer, because it begs the questions:
? What is missing in my life that would make me happier and more fulfilled?
? What dreams am I avoiding because I am afraid I will not achieve them? Is the fear of failure holding me back from the real possibility of achieving my goals?
Unfortunately, people tend to be afraid of the unknown. We trudge along in unpleasant circumstances, sometimes for years, rather than move to a new situation out of worry that it could possibly be worse. Hence the saying, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
The good news is that sometimes it only takes a small step to make a big change, such as getting a new job. Oftentimes after we make such a step, we look back and think, “Why didn’t I do that earlier? If only I’d known it was so easy, I would have made the change years ago!”
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back
The fear of failure can be immobilizing – it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore resist moving forward.
The fear of failure grows in our hearts and minds quite pervasively. Biologically, fear helps us protect ourselves. It helps safeguard us from dangers, like investing all of our money in risky ventures or jumping out of airplanes. However, the fear of failure is not limited to extreme situations.
Fear also manifests itself in small things, such as speaking to strangers. Where does this needless fear come from?
As babies learning to walk, we were rewarded for getting up every time after falling. We experienced an environment of safety where we could learn in incremental “baby steps.” As we progressed through childhood and into adulthood, making mistakes and learning from them was not always rewarded so enthusiastically; for example, failing a test. Along the way, we learned through negative conditioning to wrongly associate failure as a threat, rather than an opportunity to evolve and grow.
Just because we incorrectly learned to fear the possibility of failure, doesn’t mean we have to let these limiting beliefs continue to control our lives. Overcoming this fear begins with a deeper awareness of who you are and what matters to you. Changing your mindset will change your life.
If you are unhappy with your current situation, you really don’t have anything to lose by working to change it. If you try and fail, you haven’t lost anything – you’re still where you began. You can learn from the experience to make adjustments then try again. And when you succeed, it is a victory you will carry with you forever.
Overcoming the fear of failure
AllBe understands the challenges brought on by the fear of failure. You can read about how we overcame them by tapping into the essence of bravery. To help others do the same, we offer immersive personal development courses. These courses will help you regain the connection, strength, optimism, and confidence to live a purposeful and meaningful life.
Join us for a shared journey of personal mastery that will explore many transformative techniques, tools, and practices to help you overcome the fear of failure and live your absolute best version.