fear of failure

Our doubts are traitors,

and make us lose the good we oft might win,

by fearing to attempt.

William Shakespeare

Fear of failure is a very common malady. Most people wish to be successful at their endeavors, and for some this means being able to confront this type of fear rather than to give in to it. Part of the issue involved in this fear is being able to handle honest criticism and feedback well. People who fear failure tend to focus on and magnify their errors, mistakes or misstep to the point that they cannot think rationally. People can get so locked up in this type of thinking that they put limits on everything they will attempt to do. Instead of raising the bar of the expectations they hold for themselves, they lower it.

Why is this an important topic to discuss? Because everyone focuses on success, but something, actually a number of things, often stand in the way of achieving that success, and this is one of them. And unless you are able to let go, work around, walk through, or in some way deal with your fear of failure, then you canny make the positive commitments or the positive steps it will take to achieve your desired end result. You must not let your fear of failure get you caught in a negative thought cycle that will end up reducing your ability to reach your real potential. To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can, or think you can’t, either way, you are right. So, what can you do?

Do something

This fear can immobilize you and hold you hostage. You can become so wrapped up in the fear itself, you spend a great deal of your mental energy on the fear, rather than the activity or task at hand. If this is the case, you are doomed to fail. But, if you never step out and take a chance, if you never even try, then you can neither fail nor succeed. So, soon or late, you must decide to take some decisive action to toward doing something about your fear. If you should fail, then you will have created some increased awareness about the factors holding you in place. If you succeed, then you that is its own reward. although you should celebrate it anyway.

Seek out alternatives

There are always many factors involved in why you fail or succeed at doing something. Regardless, you need to look at your own behavior toward something and the result that you have achieved. But the most important step in this processing is that you take great care not to internalize the failure. You can always get back up and try other alternative methods to achieve your goals. As long as you make the time to investigate the reasons for the failure, you can then consciously choose to adjust your methods for the next attempt.

Learning from failure (and success)

Always take note of a lesson from your experiences, both good and bad. Instead of putting all the blame on yourself as to why things didn’t go as you had hoped, take it as a n educational opportunity instead. This will help you keep from making this same mis-step in the future. Consider the following questions as look at your situation:

  • Where did I, or where did things, go wrong?
  • How can I you prevent this same error from happening again?
  • Where can I make improvements?

Your failures, errors and mis-steps must always be translated into a learning experience. In this way, you will have more opportunities to learn and to do better. In terms of conquering this type of fear, it is important that you learn how to face them. This will not always be simple or easy, don’t mistake me. It is however, necessary to move forward. The alternative is that you keep repeating the same stuff or worse, and never getting closer to your desired goals.

Photo Credit: Tomasz Stasiuk via Compfight cc