The triumphant feeling you get when you finally reach that goal that you set for yourself is remarkable! Everyone likes the fulfilling feeling of knowing that you achieved something significant. We wonder why this feeling can’t be obtained constantly? You set yourself a goal, but before you can even start, disaster strikes you like a ton of bricks. We become our own worst enemy. Thoughts of failure come rushing through your head. The anxiety and fear of failing leaves you immobilized, left there too anxious to even pursue your objectives. We choose to not try, or not try our best for the fact that the idea of not being perfect all the time leaves us scared and vulnerable. Most people do not actually fear failure itself, but the feeling of inadequacy and shame that follows afterward. Many of us can handle the feelings of disappointment and anger of failure but are much more reluctant to try something knowing that the result could take a big shot at our self-esteem. This feeling of deep shame associated with failure is an anchor that is tied to our ankles suppressing our happiness and diminishing our own self-worth. We need to stop treating this fear as an unsurpassable enemy and learn how to defeat that little voice in our heads once and for all.
Failure is Unavoidable
Do you think LeBron James beats himself up if he misses a shot? Steven Speilberg, one of the greatest film directors of all time was rejected from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema Arts. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times! If he can face rejection that many times, we can learn to accept our shortcomings. The bad reputation failure gets is so pointless, because, without failure, you will never have success. When I was growing up I used to always apologize when I messed up a pass while playing soccer. Those constant regretful remarks provoked me to not even want to receive the ball anymore as I started to slowly fear the idea of inaccuracy. This later snowballed in the rest of my life as I was too afraid to try out for clubs or go to competitions since I had developed such a sense of inadequacy in daily life. Now I turn failure into my best friend! I do this because I now understand that mastery takes time and practice! There are only a few people in this world that excel on their first attempts while trying something new. Most of us have to work on our skill to improve, which in turn does mean making some mistakes along the way… but this is not a bad thing! This just means that you are improving. The most successful people fail every day and feed off it to develop. The only thing holding you back from this is the realization that failure is a stepping stone, not your tombstone.
Signs and Solutions of Fear of Failure
Some of us are terrified of failure and we don’t even realize it yet! The first step towards overcoming your fear is to realize some of the signs and situations where you feel most defenseless.
Sign: You are afraid what others will think if you do not succeed.
Solution: For most of my life I was so concerned about what everybody thought about me. I tried to please everybody while still trying to uphold a high standard for myself. This resulted in disappointment and a lot of anxiety. I now know that YOU CAN NOT PLEASE EVERYBODY. No matter what happens there are some people that just can’t be satisfied. Whether that’s because they don’t like you or your work or they just plain and simple don’t like you without any particular reason. These people will always be there to try to bring you down to improve their own egos, I like to call them bullies in disguise. Just remember that anyone whose opinion actually matters would always be proud of you when you are simply being yourself. Cut out the poisonous people, because life is so much easier when you don’t give a rats tail about what others think.
Sign: You have low self-esteem
Solution: You are a constant culprit of self-sabotage. Phrases like “I am shi*ty”, “I’m not good enough to do that” or “What’s the point of even trying because I know I won’t succeed” are frequently in your thoughts. These are thoughts that are holding you back from attaining whatever you want in life. I am a firm believer that anyone can achieve anything they want, so long as they have the commitment and discipline to reach their goals. The only thing that is holding you back is the little voice in your head trying to convince you that you are not good enough. Which can cause you to procrastinate until the time has already passed and you can justify the failure because “you did not have enough time” Remember that these voices in your head are not who you are, so don’t let them convince you that they are! Most of our suffering arises when you believe each thought that comes up in your head. It is human nature to see the negative within ourselves, and that is why we dwell on the limited criticisms and forget the endless accolades we hear. Learn to let go of these negative thoughts because they are not true! Bonus Tip: Write “I am worthy” somewhere that you can see every day! Whether that be your phone lock screen or your bathroom window, the constant affirmation that you truly are great and worthy will help boost your self-esteem!
Sign: You like to stay in your comfort zone
Solution: You show a lot of signs of perfectionism… you hate the idea of something not being done perfectly and you’re only willing to try things you know you will be able to do successfully and flawlessly. This reluctance keeps you stuck right in your comfort zone because doing anything outside of it brings you a considerable amount of anxiety. When you get stuck in the situation where you want to try something new but you are too concerned that you won’t shine at it, ask yourself a few questions:
Whats the worst that can happen?
If your answer is not death, extreme injury or bankruptcy, then go for it! The worst thing that happens is you fail, and like we talked about before… FAILURE IS GOOD! You learn something from it and you move on.
Do I really want to live the rest of my life with this regret?
How often do you look back and wish you had tried something but you didn’t because you were too afraid you couldn’t do it. Then you see other people gleefully excelling at something you were too afraid to try, making you feel like a flop. Don’t live life with regrets. Be more confident. Don’t be afraid of failing!
Embrace the Fear
Allow yourself to feel the fear and let it pass through you. Instead of being afraid be excited about all of the new things that you are going to do and accomplish! Use your fear as fire to light your torch of success. By embracing your fears, you are acknowledging that they exist and the more you consciously think about them, the more you realize how inaccurate they really are! When you start getting passionate about the outcome of your endeavor instead of the of the outcome is when you will truly become successful!