I recently wrote about facing your fears as this is something that I am currently working through. One of the biggest fears that I have carried around with me for years now is the fear of failure. Hi there failure! Are you enjoying the ride?…….. Well, I’m not!
The fear of failure is fed by thoughts like:
What if I can’t do it? What if it all goes horribly wrong? What will other people think of me? Maybe I should just stick to what I know I can do ….. What if I look like a fraud? What if people laugh at me? What happens if I fail?
The fear of failure is crippling and devastating and one of the strongest forces holding people below their full potential. And as if you didn’t already have enough going on, it usually rears it very, very ugly head when you are at the edge of a breakthrough. In fact, that uncomfortable feeling brought on by thoughts of fear IS the breakthrough.
What we learn to do is to use that energy and change it into something that actually serves us.
I had decided to use all the energy that my fear of failure conjures up and instead perceive it as excitement of the unknown, of what is coming up ahead. And there is A LOT coming up ahead. And I really, truly am so excited! And then sometimes I get scared ……. What if I fail? blah blah blah! And then I remember this:
The path to success always encompasses failure. (I think Richard Branson said it……)
But what exactly is failure then?
When a baby is learning to walk, and it falls down on it’s first attempt, has it failed? I can hear you emphatically say NO!
So, when I make an attempt to try something new, and I don’t get it quite right the first time, have I failed? (I hope you’re saying NO!)
Failure is a very strong concept in most people’e minds that is bound to expectations and lack of self worth.
Failure doesn’t actually exist.
It is simply when something doesn’t happen quite how one had imagined it would. It is the opportunity to try it again and do it better next time. It is the space to consider how you would actually like your success to manifest and take new actions towards that.
When babies “fail” at their first attempt to walk (and we all do) do they sit down and think to themselves …. Well, that’s it, I gave it a shot and I didn’t get it right, so I’m gonna stick to crawling for the rest of my life. At least I know I can do that! Apparently not, since most of us have failed at walking several times and now are extremely proficient at it!
So I have learnt that when I am afraid of failure there are three things I can do to overcome it:
- Recognise the fear as being only a thought. It doesn’t exist. And a thought can be changed.
- Take action towards the goal of success and if failure should occur, don’t take it too seriously. Get up and try again.
- Use the energy that the fear creates within my body to propel me forward towards my actual goal which is to succeed.