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Episode 34 of The Everyday Confidence Podcast was about overcoming your fear of failure. If you’d prefer to read the information, rather than listen to the podcast, you can do that below.
Overcoming Fear of Failure
The Fear of Failure’s probably the biggest reason people stop trying to achieve things. It often isn’t the fact that there’s probably an equal opportunity for both failure and success. But that the simple thought they might fail, tends to overpower any other alternative.
Unfortunately, although it seems like the best option at the time, not trying is actually the worst thing you can do.
Why? Because by not trying, you’re not only preventing yourself from maybe succeeding, because you’ll never really know if you’d have been successful until you try it. And you’re giving strength to the negative thought that you would probably have failed anyway.
And as we’ve said before, you get what you focus on. So, if you’re focussing on the fact that you’re bound to fail. That’s exactly what’s likely to happen.
So, by not at least trying, you’re effectively restricting your potential. I know I’ve told you before, but one of the greatest questions you can ask yourself in a situation like this is… “what’s the worst that can happen?” Once you understand the worst thing, anything that actually happens isn’t going to be any where as bad as the worst thing.
So, you might be saying, that’s all well-and-good. But, how can you go about changing the way you think? Well, there are several things you can try.
Simple ways to overcome your fear of failure
Firstly, remember what I said before… If you don’t even try, you can’t really now whether you’d have been successful or not. So you’re relying on information that’s made up in your mind, using a technique who’s sole reason for being is to keep you safe and out of harm’s way. So if there’s any chance that what you’re about to try could cause you some form of harm, it’s going to try to put you off.
But, that’s not a realistic educated decision, it’s just your mind trying to watch out for you. Unfortunately, it just tries too hard sometimes and end’s up making decisions that make no sense if you look at them logically.
So, take a few minutes to ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen. Now obviously, if the worst thing was that there’s a good chance it could kill you, or cause some long lasting damage, then your mind was right to warn you and you probably should be doing it. but, apart from that, it’s gotta worth considering hasn’t it?
Even if you don’t succeed, there’s always something you can learn from the experience. So nothing’s ever a total failure, even if it seems like it is at the time.
The second time is always easier
Once you’ve been brave enough to take the leap and try something new, next time it’s much easier. But you have to start somewhere.
If the thought of failing really bothers you, then start small. Do something where there’s only minor consequences if you mess it up. There must be loads of things you could try where it’s not going to be the end of the world if you fail. So try those first.
Give it your all
Something else that can make the difference between success and failure, is your attitude toward it.
If you decide to give something a go, then spend all the time you’re doing it, worrying about what might go wrong, you’re willing yourself to make mistakes, so you can prove yourself right. So, when you’re making a decision like this, be decisive.
Decide that in order to give it the best possible chance of success, you’re going to do the best you can and see what happens, good or bad. Don’t go into it half-cocked, because you’ll never get the best result if you don’t give your best intentions. So, put the fear aside for a bit and do the best you can.
Like I said, if it results in a failure, then learn what you can from it and try a different approach next time.
Don’t take it personally
It’ll also be worth looking at the reason you failed. We tend to instinctively blame ourselves when things go wrong, even though most of the time it’s a systematic failure that caused the problem, not us directly. So, try to identify exactly why the process failed and address that, rather than just blaming the failure on you personally.
And, if it’s a success, then celebrate that you can do things you thought you couldn’t and start looking for other things you could try next.
So finally, going back to probably the most important thing to remember. Failures should always be seen as a learning experience. If we just dismiss them as abject failures and move on, we’ll never be in a position to change anything.
To improve anything, you need to know what needs improving first. And if you just write it off, you’ll never learn anything. That’s why people carry on making the same mistakes over and over. Because they never took the time to find out why it failed the first time.
I think it was Einstein that’s credited with saying… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result”. For things to change, you have to change them and you can only do that when you know what needs changing.
So don’t just give up, or fail once and never look back. When things don’t go as planned, identify the actual reasons for the failure then try again with more information. I hope that gives you some food for thought.
Okay. That’s it for today. I hope it was useful and it’ll help you overcome your fear of failure. If you’d like to leave questions or comments below, I’ll do my very best to answer them for you.
Podcast music: Is ‘Sweet Life’ by Twisterium.
Music Link: https://www.twisterium.com