How to Overcome the Fear of Failure?

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How to Overcome Fear of Failure

We all experience the fear of failure at one time or another. It might be that we have to do something outside our comfort level. Or we may be afraid that our failure will cause others to think less of us. While fear of failure is a normal feeling, it shouldn’t keep us from exploring the world, trying new things and attempting new challenges.

Past Experiences

No one is perfect; everyone must fail sometimes. Past failures can color our perceptions of ourselves and create barriers to trying again. If you’ve had past experiences with failures that affected your greatly, you may benefit from reflecting on how those failures impacted you emotionally.

We can often find positive things that come from failure, if we look for them. The platitude about a silver lining might be annoying while you’re in the midst of failure, but afterwords you may be able to look back on the experience and find that something good came from failing after all. For instance, perhaps you failed miserably in a job interview and didn’t get the job you wanted, but the following month you landed a better job that you wouldn’t have found if you hadn’t failed to perform well in that first interview.

You can find many examples of famous, successful people who failed:

  • Warren Buffet wanted to get into Harvard University, but wasn’t accepted. He went on to become one of the country’s richest, most successful business leaders.
  • Thomas Edison created 1,000 lightbulbs and all of them failed. He was a terrible student whose teachers told him he was stupid. He went on to develop a lightbulb that did work and became one of America’s most influential inventors.
  • Soichiro Honda failed to land an engineering job at Toyota. Unemployed, he started building motorcycles. He became a billionaire and a his car company, Honda, became Toyota’s largest competitor.

mb3Think It Through

When faced with fear of failure, think through the challenge ahead. Think about these 3 things:

What’s the worst thing that can happen? Usually the worst-case scenario isn’t that bad, once you think it through.

What could I do if I fail? Coming up with a Plan B can help alleviate fear of failure. If you fail, you can always fall back on a second plan.

Think positively. Instead of thinking of all the ways you might fail, think of all the reasons why you’ll succeed.

Set Goals

Instead of thinking of an upcoming challenge as a succeed or fail scenario, think of ways you can succeed in small steps along the way.

For instance, perhaps you’d like to start a diet, but you’ve failed in the past at dieting and you’re afraid you’ll fail again. Instead of looking at it as “If I don’t lose 30 pounds, I’ve failed,” think of your challenge in smaller steps. Set a goal to lose 5 pounds. When you’ve succeeded at that goal, set a goal to lose another 5.

By setting small, manageable goals, the task at hand won’t seem as challenging. If you fail at reaching one small goal, it’s easy to try again.