The Journey - Fear of Failure

November 18, 2015

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Michael Jordan

 

Now I'd say this is something we all have in common, that fear that can stop us dead in our tracks before we even take the first step towards an idea. It can be such a crippling factor that can overthrow our minds and lead us down negative paths just because they are safe.

 

This is a subject that really resonates with me, which has troubled me in the past and still can in the present. So I'd like to open the lid on this paralyzing fear, to try and aid you in overcoming this and taking the steps towards success.

 

What happens if I fail? I'm not good enough to do that.. It might not work.. I'll just waste my time, it won't work.. What happens if no one comes/likes it/does it? These could all be things we are guilty of saying in the past, as we have let our fear of failure take control and deter us from doing something truly great. But did you realise, while saying these you've already failed? And you've managed to undertake the worst kind of failure, which is to fail backwards.

 

Fail backwards, what does this mean? I view this as a time when we have failed in a way that has stopped progression. We have blocked ourselves from growing, in whatever sense of the word whether it be physical or mental, we have failed to allow ourselves the chance to grow!

 

What we need to understand is that failure happens, but that's okay as we learn and grow from it. We must overcome that fear and enable ourselves to accept that failure is always a possibility. To make sure it is a low possibility of course but to realise if it does happen, where are the positives we can draw, what lessons can we learn.

 

How do we fight back against this fear? Here are some pointers I've found that have worked for myself in the past!

 

1. Take the first step

This can often be the hardest and scariest part, but making it into the smallest step possible helps to take it. Now you could say 'well you've not done much' but by doing that first step forward, your mindset changes and you can start to visualise much more about what you can do.

 

The first step is often where the psychological battle lies, it can be such a difficult and daunting task even when made small. But take it and it becomes such a motivator and reliever! Set it out as a goal, give it a time period so your driven to succeed on it.

 

For me in my journey, I was so scared of failing that it began to consume me and send me into a negative spiral. I made my step small, set a time limit and said 'by this point next week, I want a list of 3-4 personal training qualification providers' and I went and did it. Now this doesn't take me far in terms of anything, a list of companies found through using the internet so what? So I got myself to do it, I got over that first failure step and it helped set my wheels in motion. Well I've got this list now, these sound really good, I want to do this idea.. and it grew from there!

 

2. Talk about it

This can be a great step to get you over that fear, speak to those around you about your idea and your plan. By talking about things to others, we can gauge feedback and see our personal passion come out as we speak. Hearing ourselves talk about how good we think it is gives our mind that positive reinforcement and drive to carry out our tasks and rising above fear.

 

The more people you speak to about it, the greater feedback you'll get and be able to weigh up. Also you'll find that those people will likely refresh you about it 'so how's your idea going you told me about?' which will help to push you. Not just push you, but realise that people don't want you to fail. In fact the opposite, they want you to succeed and be happy with what you are doing, while it can help to weed out those who want you to fail and realise they aren't the best to have in your life!

 

3. Immerse yourself in it

Whatever your journey is, surround yourself with it! Put up pictures on your walls about it, read about it, watch videos and programmes about it, whatever it is create that lasting effect by having it constantly around you!

 

These will act as reminders to help you focus, stay confident and determined and keep the fear at bay! By arming yourself with knowledge you give yourself every chance to be successful and as you hit one goal after another, you find that the fear you once had will slowly begin to fade away!

 

4. Believe in it

This step comes after you've breached the first step to your success but I think it's crucial to reinforce for beating that fear of failure! In order to stave off the fear from returning, to stop you from giving up as times get tough or failure tries to take over, you MUST believe in the idea and your ability to succeed in it.

 

Your belief, hunger and drive to succeed in everything you do is critical to achieving your goals and keeping your focus clear.

 

Speaking as someone who has had confidence issues, who still will have at times and will never truly be fearless as I'm sure we would all like to be, my belief and drive to succeed in what I do is crucial to reminding me at tough times that I can come through stronger!

 

5. Fail Forwards

Getting out of this idea of letting failure become a fear we can't overcome is crucial to move forwards. Whether the move forwards is successful or not, as long as we are moving forwards and growing then we are on the right path!

 

Failing forwards is this idea, to not be afraid of making decisions and learn that at failings on the journey, we fall so we can rise up stronger and better!

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