Overcoming Fear of Failure:
Failing more probably sounds quite counterintuitive. So much of our resistance to failure comes from the fear of the consequences or what might happen if we do fail. This fear can be debilitating, permanently freezing us in a state of stagnation. Instead, failure should be seen as a teacher or an opportunity for growth. If someone can see failure in a positive light, and use it as a learning tool for continued growth, the fear becomes less paralyzing, and you have more freedom to work towards your goals.
Part of overcoming the fear of failure is to recognize what fear really is. Fear is something that has historically been vital to our survival as a species. From the beginning, humans were afraid of being eaten by the sabretooth tiger, afraid of being attacked, afraid of losing their lives or the lives of their family. It was a defense mechanism that kept us alert, kept us on guard, and kept us protected. We have kept fear as a defense mechanism, even though the consequences aren’t life-threatening anymore. We have to recognize that fear is often irrational, and summon the rational part of our brains to help us think logically, think past the overwhelming emotion, and start to see things more clearly.
Taking the First Step:
Have you ever made a decision that changed the course of your entire life? For some people, maybe it was moving out of a small town and pursuing your goals in a big city – despite others telling you that you won’t make it. Maybe it was going back to school or changing careers. That single first step likely leads to several other steps that helped you achieve success, but it all started with taking the first step. There’s a proverb that says: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Goals that seem insurmountable or overwhelming probably are. It’s impossible to eat an elephant in one bite. Break down your goals into smaller pieces and start with one single step, while also remembering to think logically about the potential outcomes if you either succeed or fail at each step. This is one of the keys to working through failure.
Becoming a Master of Failure:
Becoming a master of failure relies a lot on past failures. You have to fail a lot to become a master of failure. If you can look back on past failures, you can see the way that things went wrong, and learn from these mistakes in order to avoid them in the future. If a failure occurs, in spite of looking back and trying to retroactively learn a better route, you can still overcome it. Letting go of the fear of failure and tackling it with a more rational approach, identifying ways that you can improve further, and learning from your current mistake allows you to be an ally with failure, and use it as a tool to fail better each time.