How To Deal With Fear Of Failure
For me, the fear of failure was like the ‘Almighty Formula’ in mathematics. Being an Art student, maths was a nightmare. I hated assignments and the mere mention of the almighty formula filled me with dread! No matter how hard I tried, I failed many maths tests and assignments. Even when I put in all my effort and energy in examinations, my highest grade remains a ‘C’. You can imagine my joy when I finally graduated.
However after school, I came face to face with many ‘almighty formulas’ in my life journey – career, relationships, health, finance and business. For many years, failure became my constant companion and I was crippled by it. I began to dread taking risk or trying something new because I was afraid of failing. Before I knew it, I stopped moving forward in life. The fear of failure kept me on one spot and I couldn’t do many of the things I was passionate about.
Fear of failure tied itself so strongly round my neck and it became impossible for me to even breathe. I knew I was not created a mediocre but the fear of failure erected a very strong iron gate inside my mind and I didn’t know how to pull it down. Due to past failures, I developed cold feet with regards to trying again in areas where I had the hardest blow from failure especially in my career.
Even when I wanted to start my business, fear stopped me from taking the first step. I was scared and kept wondering if I would be good enough for my clients. I kept asking myself ‘What if I fail’? I didn’t know what to do. But one day, I sat down and asked myself “Anita, how long are you going to live your life this way wondering ‘should I, would I or could I’ all because you are afraid of failing”? I began to meditate on this question day and night. Soon a sweet melody began to rise from deep within my soul. It started quietly but grew louder with each passing moment. The lyrics were simple:
‘You were made for more than this’
‘You are a phenomenal and a world changer’
‘You can overcome the fear of failure, yes you can’
Gradually I began to let the words sink in. As I did, courage started to rise up in my innermost being and I saw fear for what it truly is ‘FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL’. Then I took a bold step and spoke to few friends about starting a business. They responded positively which helped me launch out and God was there to guide me. Like they say, today the rest is history.
I’m sure your story is not too far from mine and if you are still held back by the fear of failure, I would like to encourage you not to let it become the BOSS in your life. Please do not let it stop you from living your dream life or achieving any goal you desire. Don’t give it the slightest opportunity because it can steal and kill your joy. While you might have failed many times, you must know that failure is not final. Yes, it can be immobilising, causing you to resist moving forward or making an attempt. But if you allow it to stop your progress in life, you will only be sabotaging your future.
From now on, I want you to see failure as an essential element of life that should be valued because it is the best teacher you can ever have. As Dr. Sam Chad puts it, ‘you’ll learn more from your failures than your successes’. So please don’t give in to the fear of failure, rather make a decision to live your life to the fullest starting from this moment. Take risk because life only rewards those who dare to take risk. Discover your talent and turn your passion into profit. Start that business and turn it into an empire. You can do it, fear will only stop you if you let it.
Do you know that failure is the womb out of which success is born? Many of the successful people you see or read about today experienced many moments of failure you cannot even begin to imagine. You want examples?
- Thomas Edison was labelled dumb and scatterbrain by his school teachers but he went on to become one of the world’s greatest inventors and founded General Electric.
- Giorgio Armani, billionaire founder of the famous fashion brand dropped out of medical school at the University of Bologna.
- Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And yet, he was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skill.
- Bill Gate, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of school.
- Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, was rejected by Harvard University.
- Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, the Wright brothers, all had many records of failure in their lives. However today, people talk mostly about their success and not failure.
It is time you begin to visualize failure as something written in pencil which can be erased by you. Instead of allowing it mar your destiny, let it make a champion out of you. Don’t be afraid to fail, see failure as an opportunity to do better and show the world the stuff you are made of.
These 7 steps can help you deal with the fear of failure:
- Recognise that you are afraid, acknowledge your fear but never let it stop you. Begin to think positively because it can help you to build self-confidence.
- Anytime you fail at something, see it as a learning platform. Learn your lessons and move on.
- Encourage yourself and keep trying until you succeed. Remember, every human being at some point in life will fail at one thing or the other.
- Build your courage and do what you need to do. Courage is only necessary where there is fear.
- Fail forward and not backward. You do this by learning from your failures and seeing the positive side of it.
- Don’t deny or wish your failures away. Because that attitude will not help you overcome your fears.
- In the midst of your fear, choose to trust God and work in faith.
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