Fear of failure can stop you in the tracks of meeting your goals. You may work hard, you might be talented and you might be a genuinely nice person, but if fear holds you back, your goals will remain beyond the horizon of achievability. You have to be willing to fail to grow and succeed. Falling and getting up, brushing yourself off and trying again is a much more rewarding life strategy than never sticking your toe in the water (excuse the mixed metaphors!) Be tenacious and strong in the face of fear.
1 Change Perspective
One of the best tips for facing fear of failure is to completely change your perspective of the term. Try to think of failure not as something to be scared and ashamed of, but rather as something that can inform and teach you valuable lessons for your future attempts and endeavors. There isn’t a single person in the world who has been successful at everything the first time around. It is all about failing and learning and repeating until you have achieved your goal.
2 Cross Your Boundaries
Make the prospect of failure a little less daunting day by day by doing things to break out of your comfort zone and get you used to the feeling of less than 100% control. This could be small things like picking a different route to the office to bigger things like finally voicing your disagreement with a colleague at work. The benefit is that the more you open yourself up to unknown outcomes, the less scary failure begins to seem.
3 Forgive Yourself
People who are scared of failure tend to be the kind of people that can’t help but beat themselves up at even the slightest mistake or misstep. To truly become comfortable with the prospect of failure, you need to look deep inside yourself and make a conscious effort not to attack yourself if something goes wrong. This kind of internal psychological safety blanket can work wonders.
4 Celebrate Successes
Just as you are frightened of failure, you should be equally as excited about success. By celebrating and rewarding yourself for personal successes, you will find yourself craving more of the same, and the only way to experience more success is to take more risks. Eventually, you will be more excited about the prospect of celebration than worried about the potential for failure.
5 Physical Relaxation
As well as the psychological battle, there are also a number of physical exercises you can perform to help your body relax and be more accepting of different outcomes. These involve slow breathing, shoulder dropping and jaw unclenching; all exercises that can be attributed to a larger meditative workout.
6 Positive Affirmations
You should not underestimate the power that a simple positive affirmation can hold. Leave little notes all over your home, from the refrigerator door to the bedroom mirror, which let you know that whilst your struggles might be difficult and lengthy, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel that can only be reached by an overwhelming attitude of positivity and belief in your own ambitions and capabilities.
7 Ask for Help
The last thing you should be doing is suffering in silence about this. There are plenty of people in your life - family, friends and colleagues - who would be more than willing to help fight this battle with you. And of course, there is no shame in seeking professional help if you feel that getting advice from a qualified therapist might get you on the road to winning your fight with failure.
8 Set Realistic Goals
One mistake people make with goal setting is that they get so caught up looking at the endgame or what they ultimately want to achieve. Even though this is obviously where you want to be at the end of it all, it can also be a struggle to know where to start on your journey to success, which is why this is often when people begin to fear the idea of failure. Switch up your approach by setting small, achievable and realistic goals that you can use as baby steps to lead up to the one main goal you ultimately want. Make it easier for yourself by aiming to achieve your main goals in small, manageable stages.
9 Get It off Your Chest
For many people it can help to express their doubts via talking to a friend, writing it down, brainstorming etc. Are you one of these people? If so, whenever you're feeling fearful of things like failure try to get into the habit of getting it off your chest via an outlet, such as writing. Write down exactly what you're feeling, and use these thoughts to understand what is causing this fear of failure to come about and what you can do to overcome it and move past it. You'll probably also find that you'll feel significantly better once you have done this.
10 Understand Failure Itself
For those who would like to understand the idea of failure as well as the common fear that lies behind it, consider doing some research about it and use this to help you understand more about the concept. Remember that a fear of failure is something that many, many people struggle with and can relate to, so never think that you are alone or the only one with this fear.
It’s usually the first step that’s the hardest. Go on, take it!