I’ve been asked:
“I have big dreams and goals, but I’m so afraid of failing that I don’t do anything to work towards them. How can I get over this?”
“How do I deal with letting thoughts of failure stopping me from being motivated?”
“How do I reach my goals when I’m scared I’ll fail?”
I think fear of failing is something so many of us struggle with, so know that if you feel this way you are definitely not alone.
I know this is something that used to hold me back a lot in the past and it’s also something that comes up with my 1:1 clients all the time as well.
But if we want to make our goals happen and live the life we want — we really need to stop letting the fear of failing hold us back from moving forward.
Here are 3 things that have helped me to think about failure differently, so I can not let it hold me back.
1. If you don’t try — you fail by default.
If you don’t give yourself a chance because you’re afraid you will fail — well you’ve already failed!
I know looking back on my experiences that even the times when I have failed or things haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to or hoped they would — I was always glad that I tried and took action.
I think that being afraid of failing is a way of playing small and holding yourself back (and this has definitely been the case for me!).
Choosing to see not trying and not taking action as failing anyway, it makes me feel like I might as well try anyway. This has really helped me to show up and try, even when I’ve been afraid of failing.
2. The idea of failing is actually worse than failing itself.
When something doesn’t work out and or we don’t get what we wanted it’s important to remember that: You will survive!
The worse case scenario when we fail is often survivable… Even if we feel like it won’t be.
For example, as I’m getting closer to getting my drivers licence I’ve started thinking about my actual driving test. I hadn’t really thought much about this before until recently and I got overcome with all these thoughts of “What if I fail my driving test?” and freaking out about it.
But then I realised… If I fail my driving test — I fail my driving test. It wouldn’t be the end of the world and I would survive.
The real failure would be being so afraid of failing the test that I don’t actually do it — no matter the outcome.
3. Reframe failures as opportunities.
A question for you: What if it was impossible to “fail”?
What if you no matter what you didn’t achieve or when you didn’t succeed you still didn’t fail?
You can decide right now that you will never have another failure again in your life time. You can choose to remove that word and concept from your experience. It’s up to you!
Instead of failing you could choose to see every “failure” as an opportunity or a lesson instead.
You can choose to approach every goal as an experiment. Scientist never say that their experiments “failed” they either find something that supports their theory or doesn’t — but there is no such thing as a failed experiment.
So what if you chose to approach working towards your goals as an experiment? One where it was impossible to fail?
I hope that these 3 tips can help you to see failure differently, so you can take action and not let the fear or failure hold you back.
To put a new spin on a great quote by Susan Jeffers about fear:
Feel the fear and take action anyway!
PS. If you’re wanting some support in overcoming what’s holding you back (and not letting fear of failure stop you from living the life you want) I’d love to support you. You can find out everything you need to know about my current coaching packages here.
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