Fear of failure is a powerful mindset that could keep us away from trying to change anything in our life. I spent a lot of years in a job that I didn’t like that much. However, as I try to keep the positive in mind, I was able to travel and work anywhere in the world. But it is time to change. Reaching a certain age, you realize that you’ve got two choices: do what you do every day until your retirement, or aim for something else. That’s what I chose. And in order to achieve that, I’ve learned a lot about how to overcome your fear of failure.
In this post, I will take the professional aspect as an example, as this is what I am experiencing. But, of course, the advice can be related to any area of your life: in a relationship, in sport, just apply it to anything you want to achieve but that scares the hell out of you. At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself: what will happen if I don’t change a thing? Am I satisfied with my life? If not, what needs to change? So, keep reading if you need tips to help you overcome your fear of failure, and start living your dreams!
Overcome your fear of failure by separating internal and external factors
First of all, you need to understand something. In life in general, there are two types of factors around us: internal and external. Internal is what we can control. For example, our thoughts and actions, and the way we live. External is everything else: the thoughts and actions of other people, the outside world in general. That being said, it means that we should concentrate only on the things we can control: there is no point losing energy trying to change what can’t be, basically.
Focus on yourself
If we take the example of the job market, the unemployment rates are high in most parts of the world, and it can be challenging to find a job nowadays. This is something you can’t control. However, what you can do is take action to outstand other applicants and get the job you want. For example, if you apply in the same field, stand out with your resume, be ready for the interview, and learn some stress management tricks. If you want a change of career, why not take a short course where you’ll learn new skills, or even study for a new degree. Of course, none of this is going to happen overnight. But if you want to change something in your life, you need to take action now. Stop thinking that you won’t be able to do it, just because of the outside world. Focus on yourself and your own ways to get better.
Overcome your fear of failure by being positive
Another positive thing to do: stop comparing yourself to others and instead, focus on gratitude. Remember everyone has their own path and every story is different. Some days you won’t feel good enough, and that is totally normal. I am sure that everybody felt this way one day. But you should try to stop comparing yourself to others and be grateful for what you have: certain skills and knowledge, or a talent that somebody else doesn’t have.
“Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” — Marilyn Monroe
Reframe your mindset
Another great thing to think about: reframing your mindset about the word failure! Because you know what? It is part of making progress and evolving. Moreover, you will learn more from failure than you do from success. There are two things to keep in mind that will make this word less scary. First of all, understand that failure is not necessarily a negative thing (but we will talk about that later). And the most important of all: if you don’t even bother to try, you’ll fail for sure.
In order to achieve something, you need to decide what aspects of your life you are willing to change. Be specific: is it your job, a relationship, a bad habit? A big project, whether it is professional or in your personal life, will look too overwhelming. For it to look more feasible, you should set goals about the process and break it down into small steps. Of course, you can even set goals aiming for skills and experience, as acquiring knowledge and learning is part of it.
The thought of changing some aspects of your life will be overwhelming at first. But if you just take a deep breath and think about it, you’ll realize it is not impossible. Of course, try to set realistic goals: avoid thinking about being the next Lady Gaga if you never had a singing lesson.
Define what failure means to you
We tend to be scared of things when it’s too vague. So once again, be specific, and define what failure means to you. For example, let’s say you want to set up your own online business. You’ll need to think about what is the worst possible thing that could happen if you fail? Is there any way to pull through this?
Overcome your fear of failure by having a plan
So, the next point is pretty logic: have a plan. With the same example, you’ll need to answer the “what if?”. Like what if my online shop doesn’t work? What would I do? How would I cope? Answer these questions seriously. For example, you’ll lose money. You might need another job. But would it be the end of it? You could get a new job and save some money. You could try to sell a different product. If this doesn’t work the first time, think about other ways to reach your goals. Have a plan (just in case) will make things a lot less scary.
“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
On the other hand, you need to stop the visualization of success. Like my dream job would be working for myself, as an entrepreneur. I see myself in front of my laptop somewhere on a beach in a sunny country all year round. Well, this is not helping. You need to be more realistic and instead focus on the way to get there. Behind your perfect picture, there would probably be a lot of hard work, sweat and tears, discouragement, and obstacles. This is the truth and you need to embrace it.
See failure as a lesson
At the end of the day, you might fail along the way. However, this won’t be the end of it, but just a step. It is pretty rare to see someone build a business or be ready for a marathon overnight. Good things take time, right? And more importantly, before you reach your ultimate goal, failure will probably be part of the process. Don’t think about it as a lack of success, but as a lesson and an opportunity to learn and get better. Failure is not an end, just a stopover.
“The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” — Paulo Coelho
Fear of failure is a powerful mindset that can hold you back from trying to chase your dreams. I hope that with these few tips you’ll be able to overcome it and achieve your goals. Just remember that you only fail if you never try!