The Fear of Failure

For a long time, I was afraid of failing. I was afraid to let myself and my family down. I played it safe, took the road more travelled, and lived in security. But I wasn’t content. When I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life, I had to face the demon of failure. In my head, failure is aiming for a mark and not hitting the target. It’s being broke, alone, and being laughed at for doing what I really want to do with my life. It’s criticism. Here are a few things that help me overcome my fear of failure.

1. Decide that staying the same is worse than failing. If it’s not, well then, you may just not have found something that sets your soul on fire. But if you’ve come to the realization that staying the same is more painful than changing, you’re finally ready to face your fears.

2. Stop listening to the negative people in your life. If you can’t think of anybody who you think would support your ideas and cheer you on, honestly, you need a new circle of friends.

3. Don’t tell the whole world your plans. It’s not their business. Why get feedback from people you don’t really even care what their opinions are? Remember: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

4. Play out the worst- case scenario. OK, so let’s say you DO fail, your worst nightmare comes true. Then what? Make a game plan. It probably isn’t as bad as you think. So what, somebody doesn’t like your work? They don’t like you? Boo hoo. Cry me a river. Put things into perspective. Don’t let your mind hold your heart back.

5. Give up people-pleasing. This is something that I struggled with my entire life and will have its own post, but for real. Stop caring what other people think of you. Those who really love and support you will be there through thick and thin, success or failure, mountain tops and valleys.

6. Ask yourself this, would you regret not trying if you’re 90 and on your deathbed? What then? Sorry to be so morbid, but I find that thinking about death really puts life into perspective.

7. Take action. You will not gain clarity by thinking, but you will gain clarity by doing.

8. Just start. Start anywhere, but make a change. Prioritize yourself.

In summary, don’t let the fear of failure keep you from playing the game. Work with it, overcome it, accept that you probably will fail a time or two. Just because you lose a battle doesn’t mean you will lose the whole war. Prioritize yourself, follow your heart, and don’t care what other people think.

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