The Fear of Failure

So, this week I attended a seminar in London where we discussed fear, and in particular – the fear of failure. I would like to share with you some of my learnings from this event which might help you push through the fear barrier in your own life.

The first thing to be aware of is that fear isn’t always a bad thing. Having a healthy fear of things that can hurt us, is what has helped humans survive and evolve. The problem is not all fear is rational, and the mind cannot tell the difference between a real threat and a perceived one. In other words your body will react in the same way whether you are jumping out of a plane, or standing up in front of a large group of people making a speech. Jumping out of a plane could be potentially fatal, but public speaking on the other hand is not life threatening, no matter how terrifying it might seem.

You can think of fear in two categories:

  1. Authentic fear: Something that is happening (in reality) now – Like someone physically
    threatening you.
  2. Inauthentic fear: Something that might happen (your thinking) – Like a fear of failure.

Inauthentic fear is a big problem in our society because it stops people from reaching their full potential. Most Inauthentic fears are formed in our childhood. We have a negative experience, and in that moment we make the decision to never let that happen again. We might forget the event and that decision, but you can be sure that it will continue to have an impact on how we behave as adults, unless we do something about it.

So how do we deal with the fear of failure?

Well firstly it is important to acknowledge that being human means that things won’t always go our way. We will fail at things from time to time, and that’s ok. But what isn’t ok is letting a fear of failure stop us from doing the things we want to do, or leading a fulfilling life!

So here are some helpful tips :

  • Remember that you are worrying about something that MIGHT happen.
  • The irony is that when you don’t take action because you are afraid to fail – you are actually failing anyway – so you might as well have a go!
  • Think about it differently – To Fail = First Attempt In Learning! Its how we develop and grow.
  • Thomas Edison said – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
  • The adrenaline you feel when you are afraid is the same as when you are excited – so just
  • decide that you are excited rather than afraid. It’s just an interpretation.
  • Don’t think about doing something for more than 5 seconds, or you will talk yourself out of it.
    – Just do it!
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway – get used to the feeling and accept it. What you resist will persist – the emotion settles down when you become present and keep moving through it.
  • Remember that the past doesn’t have to equal the future. Let go of your limiting beliefs and put the past behind you. You can be and do whatever you want!

I hope this has been informative. It’s time to stop putting things off, or missing out on opportunities because of things that happened to us in our childhood. Life is short, and you don’t want to be someone that wonders what would have happened if you stopped giving in to fear.

So, start saying yes!!!

For more information on dealing with fear, get in touch or organise some coaching sessions. 

James is a people person. He is genuinely interested in learning about his clients, and it lights him up to see people overcome their fears/limitations, and go on to achieve their goals. He believes that this energy and attitude comes across in his sessions, and people are inspired by his passion for them to be the best person they can be. This is why his company slogan is “Empowering people to reach their full potential”.