Most of us have experienced the feeling of fear of failure in some aspect of our life. And over your lifetime this fear of failure has become stronger and sometimes paralyzing your way forward. When you remember your childhood, this was seldom the case. Think about children working towards their first walking steps, learning to ride a bicycle, learning to drive as a teenager, that sheer determination to persevere. What happened to that bounce back to try and keep trying?
Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway
Journey of self-reflection
In my journey of self-reflection, I have ascertained that the desire to bounce back has faded due to a lack of intentionality on my end. Also, I have been identifying what triggers the feeling of fear of failure. You will find that your triggers are different, however, the feeling of fear of failure is the same. Do you desire to combat this fear? This is not a one-time solution over and done. Every day you get to work on this.
Here are three ways that will help you start to combat this feeling.
- Recognize failure is an inevitable part of life – Acknowledging this truth is a good place to start. Like most addiction recovery plans, the first step to recovery is admitting that you are addicted. In the same fashion, to help combat the fear of failure requires acknowledging that failure is bound to happen in life. Easier said than done, right? Whatever the possible cause, as to why the fear of failure exists in your life be it patterns from childhood, perfectionism, false self-confidence, ego, your instinct is denial. I hear you and the journey is just beginning.
- Identify what triggers you – In most instances, people have not taken the time to examine and identify the triggers that cause them to feel the fear of failure. Keeping with the theme of recovery, knowing your triggers is about continuously taking inventory of your life reflecting back on the situation(s) in which you felt the fear of failure. Doing this provides you the ability to recognize situations that could lead to the feeling. My triggers are in times of stress, crisis, and discomfort, pain … to name a few. What are yours?
- Building resilient habits – Now that you have acknowledged, identified, it is time to act. When it comes to feeling, I can attest there are action tendencies that we naturally fall into and such tendencies can take us in a spiral. In my case examples like losing patience, easily irritated, becoming nonresponsive… none of these are resilient habits. The point is that we have the ability to regain control in the near term. Therefore, putting in place resilient habits that can help you regain control of that feeling is a saving grace. I personally have added the habit of reading books or listening to audiobooks of people who are successful and have embraced failure along their journey (Refer: Book Resources). This has been very helpful to me. It is all about starting small and finding what works for you.
The idea is not to alleviate the feeling but to manage and have control of how you react when you feel that way. Everyone has to start somewhere. These are not exhaustive, but a starting point from which to begin the process.
No matter who you are and at what stage or state of life you are in, fear of failure is part of your life. What are you doing about it? Have you made it a growth opportunity?