Fear of Failure
Today the negative news bombarding us every time we turn around can add to our fear. We hear about all the bad things that can happen to us – and what has happened to others. It’s easy to understand that playing it safe and not taking risks is a comfortable choice for many.
However, when I see the “fear of failure” as a strong fear for so many, it leads me to think these people want to do something and are allowing this fear to stop them from action. Deciding not to act is an action in itself. Following are some thoughts, if you decide to take a different action – these may be pretty familiar to you already.
Thought 1: Opportunity cost. Think about what you’re missing out on by allowing your fear to take over. Your earnings might be less. Your experiences might be limited. You may not be considered for a promotion. You may not meet your new employer. Realize that missed opportunities come with a cost to you.
Thought 2: The unknown. When you don’t know what you’re dealing with, potential consequences can seem a lot worse than they really are. Research all the possible outcomes – good and bad – so you understand what failing would look like and what the benefits might be. Apply for the job you might want – failure would be not getting it – success would be starting something new.
Thought 3: Enlist support. Find someone who has done what you would like to do. Talk to them, interview them, pick their brain. Find out everything you can about how they succeeded. Ask them how they got over their fears or if they even had them. Too many times, we go it alone. The most successful people I know always ask for help and use resources.
Thought 4: Plan ahead. When you understand what the worst thing that could happen is, you can plan to minimize the worst. Perhaps you’d like to start a business and the worst thing would be the business would fail. Plan ahead and make sure you have enough savings to weather the bad times. For more tips on starting a business see my six part blog series “You want to be the Boss”.
Thought 5: Take action. When you’re starting something new you might find it difficult. Over time, with repetition, it will become easier. Start with small steps and build up your confidence until your fears are manageable.
Thought 6: Burn the boats. I don’t know if this is true, I read somewhere that when ancient Greek armies traveled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do when they landed was to burn the boat, leaving them stranded. The only way home was through victory. When success and failure are the only options, you have no choice but to follow through.
What do you do to work through your fears? Do you have any tips that you can share? Do you find fear is holding you back? Leave a comment below.
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