Many people start off to do great things in life, but then they get stuck and can’t move forward. Often the reason behind their stuck-ness is the fear of failure.
People who have a fear of failure are reluctant to try something new and challenging. This fear will stop you from doing the things you need to do to do to move forward and achieve your goals.
Where Does the Fear of Failure Come From?
While the roots of the fear of failure can have many sources, one of the most common is having what Stanford Professor Carol Dweck calls a “fixed mindset”.
A fixed mindset as one that believes we have a fixed amount of an ability, such as for volleyball or math.
This mindset leads us to believe that we succeed, or fail, based on the amount of this fixed or limited resource.
People with a fixed mindset are afraid to try anything they could fail at.
The problem is accomplishing nearly anything worthwhile will have a fair amount of failure along the way. And if you fear failure, you can’t get done what needs to be done to achieve the great things you have inside of you.
Are You Afraid of Failure?
Are any of these happening to you?
- You’re not pursuing your goals enthusiastically
I’m hallucinating that since you’re reading this you have at least a few goals you’d like to achieve.
So, here’s the question. Are you excitedly going after them each day, or do you make excuses and “wait until tomorrow” to take an action?
Putting your goals off is a good sign that you have a fear of failure.
- You’ve got to be perfect
Perfect is the arch-enemy of taking action. Perfect is a common excuse to avoid doing something.
I don’t know how many people I’ve talked want to write a book, but they haven’t because they think that they need to make it perfect.
Here’s where I call B.S. This is simply an avoidance technique.
Unless you are doing heart surgery or developing a rocket to Mars, what you’re doing doesn’t need to be perfect. A need to be perfect at anything is simply a sign that you fear failure.
- You continually procrastinate
People often say they are putting things off because conditions aren’t right. They say when conditions change they’ll be ready to start.
But you can always find unfavorable conditions. The weather, your boss, the government. You name it.
You can always find conditions that will delay you. But by putting things off, you are actually sabotaging yourself and deciding to fail.
When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself, “Why am I sabotaging myself? What’s the purpose behind this?
How to Overcome the Fear of Failure
The following are five easy tips you can use to overcome the fear of failure.
- Focus on what you want
People who fear failure focus on what they don’t want, which is failure. Instead, focus on what you do want – success.
When you focus on what you want you are less likely to be afraid. Spend a few minutes each day visualizing the outcome you desire.
- Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
While you do want to focus on what you want, just one time, allow yourself to consider the worst thing that can happen.
Now ask yourself, “Is it really that bad?”
Then ask yourself, “What can I do to handle that?”
By planning for the worst and expecting the best you’ll create the kind of confidence you need to move ahead.
- Stay present
All worries reside in the future. All regret resides in the past.
When you stay grounded in the present you are able to decide what you need to do next to go after what you want in life.
Focus on doing what needs to be done next and concentrate on that.
- Ask yourself, “What have I learned from failure?”
Anyone who has ever succeeded knows you learn something each time you fail. This is they only way you can get better at whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
Failures help you become more resilient. Each failure teaches you that failure isn’t final and failing isn’t nearly as terrifying as you thought it would be.
But just as important is a failure tells you that you are at least trying to get done what needs to be done to accomplish the great things you have inside you. Instead of playing it safe you are doing something!
- Hang around successful people
Successful people all know that failure is an invaluable part of success. In fact, the reason successful people are successful is they are willing to fail more than most.
Successful people don’t worry about failing. They give their best effort, fail, get feedback, readjust, and try again.
What makes them successful is they just keep going until they have the results they desire.
Stop Letting the Fear of Failure Hold You Back!
How much has a fear of failure negatively impacted your life? It’s probably a lot you’re willing to admit.
If you’re willing to take on fear, you can accomplish some pretty amazing things. Just follow the tips you found here and focus on your goals.
Soon you will, like all successful people, start failing forward and into success.
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