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July 7, 2021 Renee Alexis

Overcoming the Fear of Failure (at work and otherwise)

If there’s one thing that hinders us from reaching our goals and full potential, that is the fear of failure. And this mindset is common because as mere human beings, fear is an emotion innate in all of us.

No one wants to fail, that’s for sure. But how do you get over the fear of failure to actually start something new?

When it comes to building a business, there is always a risk. Things won’t always go as planned and there will be hiccups along the way. How do you overcome the overwhelming feeling of fear of failing and strive forward to move closer to your goals?

In this post, we will be discussing this fear. What it’s about, why we have it, and how to possibly overcome it so you can fully enjoy life and your journey towards achieving your goals.

 

The Fear of Failure

This fear comes in all shapes and sizes but it all boils down to what “failure” means to you.

We all have a standard that we keep unconsciously in our minds. Though it may be different in each person, this is the benchmark that we don’t allow ourselves to cross because when we do, we automatically think that we have failed.

We have many definitions of failure, and some people’s failure may only be a learning curve for others. What’s bad about the fear of failure is it hinders us from trying, gives us self-doubt, and stops us from doing the things that can move us forward.

Trying is better than doing nothing.

There are many reasons why we have this fear. It can root in childhood traumas, unsupportive parents, being a perfectionist, having an overly-inflated ego, low self-esteem, and so on.

 

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

We have to realize that there are always two sides to a story. When doing something, while there is a possibility to fail, there is also a possibility to succeed. To face challenges head-on even with the knowledge that failure is possible makes you not only courageous but also empowered, and this will grant you a fuller life that is more rewarding.

Here are ways to overcome this fear.

 

Find the benefits of your failures in the past

The negative experiences that we had in the past come with valuable life lessons that can be very beneficial to our present lives. Learn and practice how to find these benefits so that the next time you fail, you know that there is still a silver lining after it.

To start practicing this habit, think of a past negative experience, reflect on it, and list down three things that you’ve learned from it. By doing so, you will know what to change in your actions to prevent this failure from happening again.

Our failures are what make us keep going and what improves us because we learn from our mistakes and we do our best not to make them again.

 

 

When failure is inevitable, take it as a learning experience

There are times when failure seems inevitable and knowing this can be stressful. In these cases, it’s up to you how to handle that stress.

If we give in to the stress, our bodies will gear us up to battle this threat. But if you train yourself to view this stress as a challenge, your body will react to it more calmly and you will less likely fail from what you are doing or about to do.

Build this mindset by reflecting on past mistakes and challenges that you have conquered. Think about how you did it and how it felt to have overcome them. This will give you the confidence to remind yourself that you have succeeded before, and then the task in front of you won’t look as intimidating as it did before.

 

Learn to see the positive side

We tend to believe the things that we tell ourselves and that is why positive affirmations are such a game-changer when you want to have a change in perspective.

Everyone wants to succeed, our society is obsessed with it. But we need to acknowledge the fact that success does not happen overnight. Successful people also had their fair share of failures before achieving their goals and dreams. Take Steve Jobs and Walt Disney for example. Both were fired from their jobs and both were put down with negative feedback, but that did not stop them from pursuing their dreams and working hard to reach their goals. Now, the companies they’ve founded are the biggest names in their industry.

You have the power to cultivate negative feedback thrown your way and make them your fuel to strive harder to overcome the challenges ahead. Exercise positive thinking whenever negativity creeps inside you.

 

Treat yourself kindly when you experience failure

Failures are unavoidable and you will experience them a couple of times in your life. When this happens, it’s okay to feel down but don’t beat yourself up and be too hard on yourself.

It’s normal to feel bad and disappointed, after all, we’re just humans. But you have the power to choose how to react. And in these times, you can choose to be kind to yourself by cultivating a more forgiving attitude to stave yourself off from guilt, shame, and embarrassment.

Practice self-care, this is one way to be kind to yourself. Do something stress-relieving, something that will take your mind off your problems.

Failing is a part of life and everyone experiences it. There’s no need to put yourself down and feel more guilty. Feel sad, feel bad, feel the disappointment, but at the end of the day, pick yourself up and move forward.

 

Visualize all potential outcomes/results

When starting something, it’s better to imagine and visualize potential results rather than just standing there being uncertain about what will happen next. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios and mentally prepare yourself for both.

The fear of the unknown will eat you up and might keep you from doing things. List down the pros and cons and think about the potential failures and successes when you make your move. This will help you prepare yourself for the disappointment if you do fail.

 

Have a Backup Plan or Two

When Plan A does not work out, always have a Plan B and Plan C and so on. Having a contingency plan will help you feel more prepared and confident in case what you expected did not happen.

 

Learn From Whatever Happens

Sometimes, life will not go on as you’ve planned it but this does not mean that you’ve failed. Whatever happens, learn from it and take those lessons to heart. They might come in handy in your future endeavors.

 

Our Takeaway

The fear of failure is present in all human beings and what matters is what we do to overcome it. This may be easier said than done but this is not impossible. Build yourself up gradually to take in these failures and view them as life lessons you needed to learn to improve yourself and move forward. 

 

Renee Alexis

Filipina, 20-something, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and Mobile Legends. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.

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