It is our fears that can hold us back from living our greatness more than anything else. Fear of failure is definitely up there with the top 3 fears that stop us dead in our tracks.
False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R)
The first thing to understand about fear is that there are 2 types. There is the physical fear that arises when we are confronted with real danger and then there is this imagined fear that comes from your head. I call this “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
If you are in physical danger, then the fight / flight response kicks in an adrenalin starts pumping through your body as it gears up for action. Things like the fear of failure though are purely psychological and have nothing to do with real fear – it is 100% imagined in your head.
If you understand this last statement then you’ll follow me when I say that there is no such thing as fear of failure. It is just a mind game you play with yourself to stay stuck in the illusion that you are small and powerless.
Yes, it may feel real to you because your may exhibit physical reactions such as sweating, nervousness, or even the fight and flight response but that is only because your mind is tricking your brain into thinking it is real.
You see your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you image and what is real – it only knows what it gets fed.
The Short Term Payoff Of Fear of Failure
- It allows an easy way out. What I mean by this is that it gives you a convenient excuse to give up on challenges or to pursue goals, or to justify being a quitter.
- It provides a false sense of safety and security as you can’t lose a race if you don’t even enter it.
- It gives you a perfect excuse to not attempt anything new.
- You can easily become a critic. The most outspoken critics are generally people who are ruled by fear.
How To Overcome Fear of Failure
Let’s now take a look at some of the simple ways that you can reverse the negative or limiting impact that fear may be having on your work or personal life.
1. Redefine fear of failure as, “There is no such thing as failure – only results!” No matter what you do, you will get a result. Results aren’t failures they are opportunities to learn and grow.
2. Define YOUR standard of success. Don’t let success be defined by what your parents think, your peers think, society thinks or anyone else but you. You are the captain of your ship and only you get to decide what success means to you.
3. Set a goal and evaluate your own performance in terms of degrees of success (results).
4. Don’t feel you have to excel in everything. Remember to have fun along the way. I’ts not whether you win or lose – it’s that you enjoy the game.
5. Meet your fear of failure ‘head on’. Do something you fear you will fail in. Start small and build on it. It’s better to feel sorry for what you’ve done than regret what you missed out on doing.
6. Learn from ALL your results. You may not remember back to when you first learnt to walk but you would have fallen over hundreds of times before you succeeded. The point is you made it happen because you never gave up.
7. Believe in yourself. We are taught to doubt ourselves, which leads to us believing that we can fail. Drop any self doubt you might have and know that you are good enough as you are. Let go of the ‘winning’ versus ‘losing’ mentality and instead just go for results. At least with results they can improve.
8. Always see things through to their natural conclusion wherever possible. This means that any obstacles that come your way are there to help you to grow as a human being. Once you are on the other-side of them you will feel so much better about yourself.
Everything that you you’ve ever wanted to have, be or do is on the other side of your fear of failure. You owe it to yourself to live your life as freely and fully as you dreamed of before fear got in the way. You can change this right now.
From this moment on pick one thing a day that you have been putting off because of fear of failing or looking like an idiot and just do it. No more excuses or self doubt – chuck them out the window. If you give this to yourself then in one years time
you’ll have achieved 365 steps towards a bigger and brighter destiny.