Four Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Failure
As a business coach and author, one of the greatest reasons I have discovered that smart, savvy, businesswomen don’t start a business is because they fear failure. It’s a fear that resonates with most of us and certainly resonates with me.
When I wrote my first book, it felt a little like walking naked into a crowded room. There was no hiding, no covering up. It was like taking all my flaws and failures and parading them for all the world to see. I worried that I didn’t have the right credentials to write a book. I worried that no one would take me seriously. I worried that the book would be a flop.
My fears were unfounded, but they were crippling in the moment.
Since that time, I have developed a mantra I use when fear of failure comes knocking, a mantra I developed for my book on fear, Fierce Faith. When I feel fear getting the best of me, I say these words, “Show Up, Be Real, Love Others, Don’t Quit.” These are my four ways to overcome the fear of failure.
1 Show Up
Fear is an actual physical response to a perceived threat. Our hearts race, our pupils dilate, our response to pain is slowed, all as a means to preserve our lives should we have to make a run for it. So it makes sense that when the fear of failure kicks in, we want to run and hide. But half the battle in fighting the fear of failure is just showing up. When you want to talk yourself out of showing up, give yourself a good pep talk and put yourself out there.
2 Be Real
A very common response to fear of failure is to just be like everyone else. Why be yourself and possibly fail when you can just blend into the security net of the crowd, right? Why not be someone else, or worse yet, “everyone else?” Being real, being true to yourself and to what you were meant to do in this world is a big step in fighting the fear of failure. Fight the temptation to dumb yourself down, to keep your mouth shut, and to be just like everyone else. Be real. You’ll be amazed at how much confidence it will give you.
3 Love Others
This one may not seem like it fits in this mantra, but when I fear failing at something, I can get really mean, with myself and with the people around me who I can trust to handle my crazy. The fear of failure drives us to focus on performing instead of treating others well. When I find myself driven by what others think of me (perfectionism) at the sake of how I treat others, I know I’m operating under fear of failure.
4 Don’t Quit
Fear is not rational and does not cause us to think clearly. It causes us to say things like, “This is too hard; I can’t do this anymore; I’m not good enough; or What made me think I could do this?” The more we fear failure and speak these negative things over ourselves, the more we give power to them, weakening any resolve we may have to actually succeed.
Don’t let the fear of failure, or any other fear for that matter, cause you to quit.
You want to know the secret to getting strong enough to overcome the desire to quit? Don’t quit. Every time you make the decision to carry on, you are giving yourself the strength to succeed again the next time!
When we remember to show up, be real, love others, and not quit, we can loosen our white-knuckled hold on fear. We don’t have to control the outcome of what we do, we just have to get out there and try.