Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all?
I have, more than once.
Unconsciously I used to create excuses to avoid facing whatever made me feel afraid, I even used to believe my own excuses, to feel safe in my comfort zone, with no risks, with no probability of failure.
My fear of failure has immobilized me in different occasions; it had prevented me of growing up, and has deprived me of my capability to bring out the best version of myself.
I used to be very perfectionist and I used to avoid dealing with situations where I knew I was not going to achieve perfect results.
And do you know what is the worst?
Because of this attitude I have deprived myself of experiencing this great thing called life. I missed opportunities and now I only have the regret of what could have happened if I had accepted that opportunity, and to be honest, this is even worse than failure itself.
What is the fear of failure?
When we are afraid to fail we stop acting; for fear of not being able to achieve our goals or for fear of disappointing ourselves or others.
So we create a self-sabotaging behavior; thoughts or behaviors that keep us away from what we want.
Causes of fear of failure
This kind of fear can be associated with different causes.
These are some examples:
- Have been growing up with severe and critical parents.
- Have been receiving humiliation by the “so-called friends” or classmates.
- Have had negative experiences in public; for example have gone in blank in the presentation of a project in front of others.
- Low self-esteem, which can be caused by all the causes above or from others.
- Be too perfectionists; when only we accept doing things perfectly, we unconsciously avoid doing anything that we think we won’t be able to get perfect results.
Reaction after failure
We have all “failed” at some point in life or have made mistakes or have not had the results we expected, and the reality is that we all will continue “failing” in certain aspects of our life. That’s ok, it’s normal, the key is how we react in front of failure.
The only people who do not fail are those who do nothing, who do not try, who do not fight, who do not progress; those who are stuck in a comfortable life but with no evolution.
Among those who fail, there are two types of reactions: Some people sink and cringe, they become small and they decide not to try it again. Others prefer to analyze the reasons that made them fail and they learn not to stumble again with the same stone.
This second group of people is those who really make life progress, those who achieve success in life.
What to do when fear paralyzes us?
Here I give you some tips to overcome the fear of failure.
- Identify the cause of your fear: close your eyes and try to see what causes your anxiety.
- Analyze the possible results (positive and negative) that we might face to avoid the fear of the unknown.
- Be aware of what could be the worst (sometimes is not as serious as we first think) and create a plan B to turn to in case of “failure”. So we avoid the fear of not knowing what to do if things do not go as we wanted.
- Despite knowing what may be “the worst”, maintain a positive and optimistic attitude, focusing your energy on achieving your goal. Visualization is a powerful tool that will give you confidence and will keep you motivated, thus, increasing the chances of success.
- Remember that it is always worse to regret and to repent than to fail and that every failure is an opportunity to learn, change and grow.
Love and gratitude