“What if I fail?” this is the question that we all ask ourselves and that can cause such a paralyzing fear that we just can’t breathe, not to mention move. Fortunately, there are a few methods to overcome the fear of failure. Let’s get read of this bastard once and for all!
First of all, I want you to know that it’s totally, totally normal! We all face this fear! And no, it never goes away, but! With time it gets easier to overcome the fear of failure. The most important thing is: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” (additional points if you can tell me which movie this quote comes from). You can’t let the fear of failure stop you from reaching for your dreams! You’re the boss here!
So how to overcome the fear of failure?
Here are a few techniques to use.
1. Mental shift
Changing the way you think about your fear is one of the best ways to overcome it. Stop considering making a mistake as a failure! That’s what the school has taught us and it’s one huge bullsh*t. Every failure is a priceless lesson! That’s all it is! Albert Einstein said: “You never fail until you stop trying”. Remember, Einstein was a genius, so he must be right. Let’s talk about another genius: guess, how many times Thomas Edison failed until he found out the light bulb? Any guesses? 10? 100? Wrong! 1000 times! And you know what he said? “I didn’t fail. I just found 1000 ways that didn’t work”. If you’d fail 1000 times, you probably wouldn’t call yourself a genius, right? But still, we consider Edison a genius, so think about it.
2. What will be the worst thing that happens if you fail?
This is a method that helped me enormously. Because you know what? In most of the cases, the answer is: “Nothing”. The world won’t end, your heart won’t stop beating, the sun won’t stop rising. You’ll just use some time and energy to learn a lesson. That’s all! What if the answer is different? What if it’s: “People will think I’m an idiot”? Honestly, that is very rarely true. First of all, because people are so busy, they probably won’t even notice. Secondly, because this is what you’ll think of yourself (and on this we can work) and not other people. Thirdly, even if anything like this would happen, they will forget real fast and you’ll find a solution that will make them think you’re a genius. By the way, everybody makes mistakes! Even the best! It’s really not such a big deal as you think.
3. Try finding a security cushion
What if the answer is really bad? Like: “I won’t have any money so I’ll have to sleep under the bridge”. In such a case, try to make the risk smaller. A paralyzing fear won’t help you achieve your goal, that’s for sure. Nobody relaxes being scared, right? If this is the case, maybe try finding a job or anything that can make the risk smaller.
If you want to start working as a freelance artist, but you’re afraid you won’t make enough money, find a part-time job, and share your time. That’s true, you’d have less time for your art, but at the same time, you’d have much more security. Everything is doable and having a calm mind will definitely help you achieve good results than the paralyzing fear. Trust me, I’ve been there.
4. Focus on the reasons, why you’re doing this and for whom
Why are you doing what you do? Are you doing it because you want to change the world? Or maybe you want to make your child proud? Whatever the reason, focus on it instead of on your fear. Whenever I feel scared or overwhelmed, I think about this amazing girl, with such a huge talent, that is totally lost somewhere there in the world and who desperately needs my help to make her dreams come true and have the awesome life that she wants. Quite motivating, isn’t it?
5. Divide your actions into small, easily doable steps and keep moving
The fear often comes from the feeling of overwhelm. To overcome the fear of failure, make a list of all the tasks you should do to achieve your goal. Then, divide each of them into small, easily doable actions. Next, decide to do one action a day. Or plan to make 5 a week. Anything that will work for you. Creating a new service, for example, an online course, can be totally scary and overwhelming. So many things to do! Create the website, plan the content, create the content, promote it, defeat all the technical monsters…. AAaaaaa!!! Help!
Deep breath, and let’s start. Don’t let the fear stop you from trying. First, plan your content. All at once? There’s too much of it! Ok, day 1: Plan the main modules. Day 2. List the lessons in module 1. Day 3. Plan the content of the lessons in module 1. And so on…
When I was working on my book “Fast-Track Artist” I was totally overwhelmed but the number of topics I wanted to cover. So I made a list of everything I wanted to write about and I decided to describe 5 points every day. For a few days I managed, later it became too difficult. So I changed my plan: 2 points a day. Sometimes it was 1 point a day. But eventually, I kept on moving and I finished the book in a shorter time than expected. You can always modify your plan. The most important thing is to keep moving.
Now it’s your turn! What is scaring you to death at the moment? Got it? So now, do the following steps:
- Ask yourself: what can I learn from this?
- What’s the worst thing that can happen if I fail?
- In what way can I minimalize the risk, if there is any?
- Who am I doing it for?
- How can I divide this action into small, doable steps?
Et voila! This way you can overcome the fear of failure every time it appears. You’ll see that in no time you’ll be invincible!
What are your thoughts about it? Do you have any other secret weapon to destroy the fear monster? Let me know in the comments!