“Do you think the people who were trying to reach to the Everest were not full of doubts? For a hundred years, how many people tried and how many people lost their lives? Do you know how many people never came back? But, still, people come from all over the world, risking, knowing they may never return. For them it is worth it – because in the very risk something is born inside of them: the center. It is born only in the risk. That’s the beauty of risk, the gift of risk.”
The fear of failure strikes with terror. A shiver goes down your spine. You break out in profuse sweat. Your imagination goes on the overdrive. Whether the trial you are undergoing is a big or small one or not you feel faint from the thought of being seen as a failure in life. You are convinced that you will die (psychologically) of shame when it happens. You just cannot imagine facing the world.
The fear of failure can spur you to overcome your barriers and conquer new heights. I believe it was how I have studied and passed my examinations relatively well while in school. However, in the recent years, I realized that being motivated by fear may not exactly be the best way to go about living. I have also found that my children do not respond too well when fear is being used to get them to study or to instill some of discipline. With awareness, I intend to be mindful about not using fear on them.
It is true. On the extreme, the fear of failure can dis-empower us, weighing us down in a toxic load of negativity. And, instead of motivating us to do better, we become paralyzed. Fearing failure, it is possible to be afraid to even try. You are likely to say no to any form of adventure. You won’t take the dare. You won’t volunteer by raising your hand. It is just too risky to make an attempt only to find out that you have failed horribly.
The fear of failure keeps you from aligning with your inner potential, going for your dreams, and shining your most radiant light.
The fear of failure is insidious. It can creep in when one is not aware. I find myself tuning into fear when the worry of not being or having enough strikes. From one thought to another and then to another, worry starts to accumulate into a heavy baggage. Luckily, once awareness sets in, it is a case of maneuvering out of its grasp (usually using a handful of energy healing methods).
Some people deal with their fear by shoring up the appearing of having it all and having made it: a successful career, a successful marriage, perfect examination scores, a nice looking sports car and so on. They believe that it is important to look the part in front of their family and friends. The problem is that keeping up with a facade prevents them from becoming authentic and ultimately being truly happy.
Let’s acknowledge this: it is hard to succeed when you do not first give yourself a chance. As Osho in the quote above says, there is beauty in taking a risk. Obviously, there is fear in every risk. But you learn to recognize it and to overcome your discomfort. It is the pull of excitement that draws you to saying yes to the adventure. You are open to the magic, possibility and expansiveness of the universe.
Hence, to bring riches into your life, you will need to release your fear of failure.
Fear of Failure: Limiting Thoughts
Your thoughts are likely to be:
I will probably suck at this or that.
I will end up looking like an idiot if I fail to ________.
I don’t know how to face others if I fail.
I would rather die than letting others know that I have failed.
The fear of failure comes from the voice of your ego. Your ego tells you that the risk of failure outweighs the potential benefits. It wants to keep you safe. There is just too much as stake. According to Psychology Today, your tendency to procrastinate increases with the fear of failure.
However, safety is an illusion. There is nothing completely secure or safe in this world, other than divine love. And fear is an energy that brings about darkness, opposite to love. Learn to recognize this: just as there is a chance of failure, there is also the chance of succeeding when you give things a try.
If you want to live differently then you cannot let your fear of failure overwhelm you. The thing is that you have already failed if you have given up. So long as you are still trying, you have not failed.
How to Overcome The Fear of Failure
1. One Step at a Time.
The fear of failure increases with expectations. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but along the way, set reasonably achievable targets. When you have unrealistic expectations, it is possible to set yourself up for “failure”. Having the thought of an impending big failure can stop you from moving forward.
Even while you hold a vision in mind, take one step at a time. Give yourself room to make mistakes, to grow and evolve. Give yourself plenty of space to practice before any big move.
2. Use Fear as a Learning Tool.
If you live so cautiously, then you are robbing yourself of gaining wisdom. One of the NLP presuppositions that I stand by is this: there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. I find it a useful reminder whenever I sink into harsh self-judgment over any signs of under-performance.
In his book Failing Forward, John Maxwell proposes a change in mentality on how you can react to failure. See failure is an investment in your future. You can also learn to see that failure is a part of life and everyone experiences it. It is not about how you fail but rather how you respond that matters.
See fear for what it really is. Fear is a learning tool. It offers feedback. Not learning your lessons can keep you in repeated patterns of the same psychological trauma, anger and bereavement. If anything, don’t be afraid to fail. When you do, fail forward.
3. Use Emotional Freedom Technique.
You can read about the fear of failure all day but nothing beats getting down to doing some inner work regarding it. Emotional Freedom Technique is an excellent method for releasing fear. It works well especially when you have suppressed emotions stored in your body. You can learn it easily from here.
4. Change the Picture of Your Future Self.
The fear of failure is based on the perception that you may not succeed. Just think about this. Do you think you are more likely to succeed if you picture success or failure?
The thing is that if you can change the perception, you can change the picture in your subconscious mind; which will be turned into reality by virtue of the Law of Attraction. In short, you magnetize the picture that you hold in your mind. Click over here to learn more about bringing a heart-centered vision of success forward.
5. Redefine Success.
Redefine what success is in order to address the desire to be perfect and to overcome the fear of failure. Is success about attaining materialistic goals or is it about living, loving and laughing?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is no need to be perfect to be accepted in the world. Success comes naturally when you are in a positive state of mind: happy. You are happy no matter what your external conditions are.
Challenge To You
Allow me to borrow a saying by Mark Twain to pose a challenge to you….
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Dare to take it up?
Love and Abundance Always,
Author. Adventurer. Life Coach. More About Me.
Your Thoughts Please
Do you experience the fear of failure? What do you think about using fear for motivation? Any thoughts? Please share in the comment box below.