One of the biggest fears many of us deal with is the fear of failure. We think if we try something and then don’t achieve what we set out for reflects badly on us. When we fail we judge ourselves, think we are losers and ball up in the fetal position wrapped around a tub of ice cream (yes, in this metaphor we’re all women from a 90s sitcom).
Fear of failure is a real a-hole. It holds us back from what we want to achieve in life, makes us settle for mediocre instead of awesome and keeps us from realizing our potential. It’s the thing that makes us work a “safe” job we hate for 40 years. A while ago it deeply paralyzed me. Until one day I decided to find ways to deal with it. Today I want to share some strategies and mindsets that have helped me.
- There is no failure, there are just lessons to learn. Be aware that everything that comes easy to you today, be it talking, riding a bike or tying your shoes is something you sucked at before. It’s only second nature now because you did it wrong repeatedly until you did it right. If you fail, fail again and fail better.
- Redefine its meaning in your mind. Failure has different meanings to different people. The definition is usually trying and being rejected or not getting what you want. But what if you changed its meaning to quitting, giving up or never trying at all?
- Leverage your past. Think about a time when you tried something and made a mistake. Then picture an instance when you did not take action to achieve something you wanted because you feared to fail and later regretted it. Which one weighs heavier? Which one would you like to avoid more in the future?
- Create a bigger fear. Vividly imagine what your life is going to be like in 5, 10 and 20 years if you continue to let this emotion control and limit you. Imagine it in all detail. It’s scary, isn’t it?
Failure is feedback, it only means you need to recalibrate your approach. Don’t let it hold you back. The only thing you can do wrong is to never even try and to not learn from your mistakes.
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