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How to Recognize and Overcome the Fear of Failure

How to Recognize and Overcome the Fear of Failure

The signs of fear of failure:

You lack faith in yourself, your unique talents, knowledge and wisdom. You don’t believe that you are capable of doing great things.

You need things to be perfect. You spend too much time over-thinking, over-analyzing and over-planning. Lost in the details, you’re unable to move forward.

You’re paralyzed by your consistent and persistent thoughts about failure.

You obsessively engage in worry and anxiety about the future. You imagine what could go wrong and expect things to not work out. You feel hopeless, anxious and stuck.

How to overcome fear of failure:

When I fear failure, I look for the worst possible outcome if I fail. Some possibilities: I get a bruised ego. I may feel embarrassed or stupid. Nothing earth shattering ever comes up.

I also ask myself, “What’s the best possible outcome if I fail?” It’s likely that I gain new insights and skills. I learn what I don’t like or want. I gain experience from what doesn’t work. I learn what does work. I move forward.

  • Identify your fear.Write down everything you’re afraid of.  Bring it out of the dark and into the light. Make the unknown known. After you name your fear, you can understand the root cause of it and manage it.
  • Question each fear you’ve written down:Is this concept true or false? Does this have any real consequences? How can I manage this risk?
  • Next to each fear write down the worst case scenarioif you fail. Be honest. How bad could it really be? However ridiculous, stupid or unimportant, for each fear write down the worst that could happen if you fail.
  • Write down what the best case scenario if you did fail.What might you learn or discover about yourself or your dream. You may find true friends, inner strength, motivation and inspiration. Question how these new insights could help you move forward.
  • Create a plan B.When you’re afraid, a contingency plan can help you gather the courage and confidence to move forward. Fear of failure keeps us close-minded. There are unlimited options available.
  • Treat yourself like a small child. When a child learns to talk, walk, sing, or play a game, we understand that there will be a lot of mistakes. We allow them the opportunity to fail. We also know that eventually they will succeed. Give yourself permission to try new things, experiment, learn and take risks.  Allow yourself the opportunity to fail.Like a child, you will eventually succeed.
  • Take small steps. Begin where you are with what you have. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Be persistent and consistent. Just keep moving!

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