Fear of failure is one of the most fundamental fears we face in life. Or is it?
As Seth Godin wrote in his book Tribes, often fear of failure isn’t actually a fear at all, rather a fear of criticism, looking foolish or losing face in front of those whose approval and admiration we value. We are more afraid of being judged for our failure than of the failure itself.
Allowing what other people think or say – or what you think they may think or say – to run your life is a powerless way to live. Letting your fear of criticism keep you from proactively making changes in your business and life that you believe would be in your best interest is essentially handing over the reins for running your life to other people.
Here are four tips to successfully navigate through the fear process.
- Understand everyone fails. I can guarantee you that everyone you know and admire has failed at some point. We aren’t born with a chip or a gene that prevents us from failing. Understand you are not alone and if failure does occur, it is a matter of assessing the situation, learning the lessons and moving ahead with the new information. It could be a slight detour you require or a full change of plan. Either way, you are now equipped with better information to allow you to achieve your goals.
- Realise image isn’t everything. What we see on the outside doesn’t mean failure hasn’t occurred. I recall in my first year of business that someone said to me that they were envious of me as I was doing so many things right. In my head I thought, “Are you kidding me?”. I had experienced many failures both small and large. The failures were there for anyone to see but they didn’t. I realised that my successes had out shined the failures. I didn’t talk about my failures openly, not to create a slick image to those close to me or to clients and suppliers, but from a standpoint of not dwelling upon them. It happened so I moved on.
- Let go of what isn’t serving you. It can be difficult letting go of what we know however miserable it happens to be than to risk it for something else. We are biologically wired to be naturally averse to loss, and all change involves loss in some way. We can’t adapt to new situations without being willing to give up something of our current way of being or doing. Ask yourself “What can I gain?” rather than “What will I lose?”. The change of focus is the major difference between successfully dealing with change. By embracing change, you will discover more opportunities than you thought possible.
- Just move forward. Now I’m not saying move ahead blindly without weighing the pros and cons of a new way of being or doing. Due diligence is always required and learn to trust your intuition. If you truly know that it is the right path to take, then keep moving forward. Each step of the way will continue to show itself. If it doesn’t feel right, and it truly does comes from a place of not feeling right rather than the unfamiliar, then you can adapt your plans to redirect yourself in a new direction. Wherever you are on your path, don’t undermine your ability to assess, plan and move forward in whichever direction you choose.
Now I would love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me your biggest insight you are taking away from this?
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