If you’ve ever tortured yourself by replaying over and over in your head something that went wrong, or imagined everything that could possibly go wrong, then you know how fear of failure can paralyze you. Take a moment right now to consider what the fear of failure has ever stopped you doing. Speaking up in a team meeting? Asking for a raise? Setting boundaries? I can say a ‘heck, yeah’ to all of those.
What would you do if you absolutely knew nobody would laugh at you, nobody would think you stupid or wrong, nobody would think you unreasonable or pushy? How would your life be different?
To quote Jack Canfield – “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
If you allow it, fear will grow into a three-headed monster and run your life. One way to keep fear in perspective and in manageable chunks is to focus on your wins – no matter how small you think them to be. We have a terrible habit of magnifying what we perceive as mistakes and shrinking our successes.
I know you’ve had experiences of success – whether it’s in everyday smaller tasks that you barely even recognize or the larger, holy-cow, can you believe that just happened variety. And yet the chances are you don’t build on these successes. Let’s take our career as an example. How often have you wanted to speak up or set boundaries but worried about what others will think? And yet there will have been times you did speak up, we sometimes find it easier to speak up for others than ourselves, and thing went well. The earth didn’t stop spinning, but the imagined fear of what others will think becomes our focus and stops us living in our own power.
In order to have a happy and fulfilled life that isn’t run from a place of fear, focus on the boosts rather than the stumbles. Focus on what you have done rather than what you fear you cannot do. Take one small step and add one building block at a time.
Sure, there’ll be setbacks – that’s life. If you are recognizing the falls (completely ignoring them is just denial) and focusing on the success you’ll bounce back more quickly. Trust your abilities – if you don’t believe in them how can you expect others to? And if they don’t believe in your abilities why would they hire you, buy your product or trust you as a leader?
If something goes wrong analyze it logically (not emotionally), see the lesson and then focus on doing it better next time. Do not let it stop you moving forward.
Allow yourself to take the small steps towards your goal and accept and trust yourself during both successful and difficult times.
Stepping up to stand in your own light and play amongst the ‘big kids’ is scary – and if you listen to your fear you will never try. Accept that sometimes life works the way we want and sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t have to be perfect – you just have to try your best and learn from your lessons.
Don’t miss out on life – live to your fullest, be prepared to make mistakes, recognize the fear and step forward anyway.
• What fear is holding you back right now? What are you afraid of?
• What success have you had that you can apply to this (regardless of how small)?
• What baby step can you take regardless of your fear?