Fathoming Failure: How to Get Over Your Fear
What would you do today if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
You’ve likely heard that question asked by motivational speakers and displayed on posters in your kid’s classroom. It’s repeated so much because it resonates with us and makes us question ourselves. How often does the fear of failure stop you from taking a risk? The dictionary defines failure as, “the omission of expected or required action” and “lack of success.”
However, those definitions are subjective. What is success? Who sets our expectations?
To fathom failure and embrace it, we need to understand it.
Think about the last time you failed. Perhaps you didn’t pass a test. Your spouse wanted a divorce. Or, you ate fast food three times last week despite wanting to get healthier. These are all perceived failures we can experience. However, seeing them only as failures means your perspective isn’t wide enough.
What happened after each of these perceived failures? Your spouse’s mention of divorce pushed you both to try couple’s therapy. After eating poorly, you got back on the horse with more knowledge of how temptation feels so you can resist it next time. Every perceived failure led to a stronger, better place.
It’s important to change your mindset around failure. We know that on the other side of failure is success, so it’s crucial to push through the fear. The examples above show that there’s a solution to every failure; a way to turn it around and make it a success. If you don’t embrace failure and allow yourself to experience it, you also won’t experience success.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Fathoming failure and embracing it can be hard. It’s not easy to change your mindset or perspective, especially if you’ve feared failure your whole life. However, it is possible. When you do, you’ll be a happier, more grateful, and more successful person. To help you get there, here are some tips for fathoming failure and finding success.
1. Flex Your Bravery Muscle
The fear of trying something new is enough to make many of us not try at all. However, the more failure you experience, the closer you get to success through a process of eliminating what does not work. You just need to work at it; so, start practicing bravery. Being brave might feel a little uncomfortable and intimidating the first few times. However, once that bravery muscle builds strength and confidence, it becomes less scary. Your fear of failure gets quieter as you become okay with whatever consequences happen. In fact, you take the power and control away from the fear by embracing it. Start acknowledging when you feel scared of failure and practice facing it anyways.
2. Reverse Your Psychology
We’re made to feel embarrassed and ashamed when we fail. Any failure reflects poorly on our identity and inner essence. This mindset will keep you in the dark and constantly afraid of failure. Instead, flip your psychology on its head. Every time you fail, congratulate yourself. You tried! You made progress! You’re one step closer to getting what you want! Every failure shows you another way that doesn’t work and gets you closer to finding what does. This is a hugely beneficial mindset to teach your children; failure isn’t bad and doesn’t make you a loser. You want your kids to always get back on the horse and find another way. Teach them by setting an example.
3. Get Out of Your Own Way
There’s no one stopping you from carving a new path and finding your own way to success. You are the only one who controls your actions. So, why aren’t you letting yourself succeed? Is your fear of failure stopping you from trying? Or, is your fear of succeeding preventing you from growing? The common denominator in each of these fears is you. If you want to grow and make a change in your life, get out of your own way and do it. We’re all guilty of self-sabotage from time to time. It’s your job to understand why you don’t want to succeed and work around it.
4. Analyze Your Mistakes
You can learn something from every mistake, success, and experience. No matter what the outcome, it can teach you how to improve for next time. That is, only if you allow yourself to analyze the failure. Some of us avoid self-reflection because it’s scary to acknowledge our shortcomings. However, without reflection, you can’t grow. Get comfortable with looking at yourself objectively; you aren’t a failure, you just found a way that didn’t work. Don’t place your entire self-worth on whether you succeed or not. No matter what happens, you are a worthwhile and valuable person on this planet. Believe that, and then learn from your mistakes.
5. Ask for Help
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Sometimes it feels like asking for help means admitting we can’t do it on our own. For many of us, that admission reveals we aren’t perfect. Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity, in goals and in life. Collaboration is the key to growth, learning, and success. If you continue to fail at something, consider asking for help. Could someone with expertise in this area be able to do it better? For example, if you’re trying to launch your side hustle but your website looks amateur, you won’t attract customers. Rather than trying to design it yourself for the hundredth time, hire a web designer. Admitting we aren’t perfect and need help is not failing.