How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

by | Mindset

Fear can prevent us, in particular, women at midlife or older, from living our personal or business dreams. Fear of failure can stop us before we even get started. It is one of the most common blocks to success. However, you might not even readily recognize that you have a fear of failure.

Some actions that most people take when they unconsciously have a fear of failure are:

  • Self-Sabotage

Symptoms: procrastination, inability to follow through with goals (“I’ll do that tomorrow…”)

  • Low Self-Confidence

Symptoms: doubting that you’re not good enough or smart enough (“I don’t really have the expertise to build a business on …”)

  • Fear of Being Judged

Symptoms: worried about being labeled as ‘over the hill’ (people will only buy from the young ones, not from someone like me)

  • Perfectionism

Symptoms: never satisfied with what you’ve achieved so nothing gets done (I need more information (or something) to finish this …)

Fear of failure is forward looking. It hasn’t happened yet. It is only happening in your mind.

Have you ever dreamed of creating your own business for the longest time?

You wrote down what your business would be like and then gave it a lukewarm effort which lacks energy and enthusiasms because your subconscious mind is telling you that it is a waste of time and that you will fail.

You end up with two choices – take no action, stop pursuing your dream or make a half-hearted effort to go after your dream.  Either choice will reinforce your fear of failure and you continue to dwell on it.

The problem with dwelling on your fear of failure is it would eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The best thing to do is to find ways to overcome the fear of failure.

How do you overcome the fear of failure?

First thing first, you need to identify and face your fears.  Then use the 5 Whys Method to drill down to find out if it is real and if it is, to determine if you are willing to accept the risk and consequences of breaking through that fear. If it is unfounded, then you can forge ahead to fulfill your dream or your goals.

Let me illustrate how the 5 Why method is done.  Let’s assume for a moment that  you have been telling yourself, “No one will buy my business product.”  I will go through the why questions as shown below. Each time you give the answer to the question, I will ask your why again until you finally end up with the decision that is right for you.  Although the method is called “the 5-Why”,  It might take more than 5 whys to get clarity.

Why do you have this fear?

You: Because there’s a lot out there who sell the same product

Why do you worry about the other products?

You: Because people would buy from them instead of from me

Why would they buy from them and not from you?

You: Because I am a newbie and not a lot of people know who I am or what I do

Why do you think they should buy from you?

You: Because my product is better than others. I have the experience and talent in creating a product like this

Why should your experience and talent matter?

You: Because no one has the same experience, talent, and skills that I have

Why aren’t you more confident about that?

You: Because I fear that, I am going to make a fool of myself just like I remember the time when … (whatever the reason)

Once you get to the real reason for your fear, it will be easier to focus on re-programming your mindset, asking for help, eliminating distractions or unhealthy habits or creating good habits that will help you squash that fear, depending on what you found is the real cause.

As an added exercise, visualize yourself into the future, and this time, look at the worst-case scenarios. I have to caution you not to do this often or you will be attracting the worst scenario in your life.

1. Ask yourself what is the worst-case scenario?

You: The worst-case scenario is after spending time and money on creating my product, no one will buy it.

2.  What is the worst that could happen?

You: I lose some money and time.

3.  Decide if you are willing to accept the risk.

If you are, accept the reality that you will experience many setbacks, failures, and challenges along the way to success. Count failures as learning experiences and make a strong commitment to take action and give it your 100% effort.

Once you determined that you are willing to take the risk, forget about the worse case scenario and focus on visualizing that you have attained whatever it is you wanted.  Set your eyes on what you define as ultimate success and expect it. Learn what caused the failure then think of ways to change or redesign the actions that led to failure then move on.

There are other obstacles to success. What are yours? Leave a comment below and tell us what do you fear or what is preventing you from moving forward with your dream.  Do you have the right goals

Do you have the right goals to move you towards what you want to become?  Download the “Your Planned Month” planner below to start identifying which area of your life should you focus on so that you can start/grow your business or improve your personal life.


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