Suzy Kassem once said, Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. And it’s true -while Small Business Association states that 30% of businesses fail in their first two years of operation, think about how many businesses were never even started because of fear?
What if it’s not related to business? How many things did you want to start doing but never did because you were scared you’d fail?
The fear of failure is nothing to be ashamed of, sproutsicle! It’s totally normal and happens to the best of us. It’s just your brain trying to protect you from being hurt. But, sometimes, you need to ignore the brain and do the things that your heart wants to do. 😉
Trust me, I’ve failed many times before, not just in my math exams, but while trying to build profitable online businesses, too. There’s 3 simple steps that I take to get rid of this particular fear. Let’s dive in!
STEP ONE: THE WORST CASE SCENARIO
What’s the worst case scenario that could happen if you fail this time? Sit down and write all the things that you think could happen if you fail.
Once you do that, you’ll see that it’s not that bad anyway – it probably sounded worse in your head. Or, even if it is bad, you’ll be able to go through it, because you’ve probably been through worse.
And remember, anything that happens to you is always a lesson. One of my coaches taught me that there is no such thing as failure at all. There’s either wins or lessons. How powerful is that?
Once you switch your mindset to think about possible failures as possible lessons – everything that you need to go through becomes a lot easier!
STEP TWO: THE IDEAL OUTCOME
Again, write down the things that are going to happen if you DON’T fail. Imagine yourself being in that place right now. How does it feel?
Whenever you feel like the fear is creeping up, remember the vision. Here are a couple of questions to help you form this vision:
- WHY did you start this?
- HOW is it going to benefit your relationships?
- HOW is it going to benefit your financial life?
- HOW is it going to benefit your mental and physical health?
- WHO would be proud of me if I achieved this? (This question can provide a little bit of an external motivation for you)
- WHAT have I learned in the past that will help me achieve this goal?
To help you hold the vision of your goal, you can even create a vision board. You can also write down affirmations and mantras, you can even draw the end goal and stick the paper in front of your desk. Whatever keeps you in that state of holding the vision!
I once created a vision board type of thing for my laptop. I had several pictures put into one collage that I set as my desktop wallpaper. There were several pictures with pines in the forest, hiking in a forest, and doing yoga at the beach. Now I live 5 minutes away from the beach and 3 minutes away from a pine forest. And, I even took my ass out to do some yoga on the beach a couple of times (it’s not as glamorous as it looks)!
STEP THREE: DO IT ANYWAY
First of all, don’t ignore the fear. If you just ignore it, one day you’re gonna burst, because of all the emotions that you are putting aside. Therefore, you need to feel and experience the fear for a bit before you can move on from it. Why? Because everything that your body and mind are communicating to you has a purpose. So, acknowledge it, thank it, and move on.
One of the ways to be in the fear is to write down the things that you think will happen in the worst case scenario, as I mentioned in the first step. Even this type of acknowledgement is enough – it can last just a few minutes. Personally, my “sitting in a rut” phase usually lasts about a day.
And I let myself do that. Because that’s one of the cycles in my life. I get down, I stay there, then I get up. It’s up to you to figure out how long you intend to face your fear.
Another great way to face your fear and acknowledge it is by figuring out the root cause of this fear.
- How did it appear in the first place?
- What is it trying to tell you?
- Why are you grateful for it?
- How is it serving your old self?
Once you know why you have this fear of failure and you are ready to move on, don’t try to over-think it or analyze it too much. Don’t let it cripple you even more. Just do the damn thing anyway.
Here’s an example from my own life.
HOW I TRIED BUYING RICE IN AN OFFICE SUPPLY STORE
I once participated in a group coaching program where the primary goal for you was to become more confident. And boy, did they have interesting assignments.
From writing down 160 reasons why you’re proud of yourself to telling your closest people that you love them (I failed this one miserably….)
But, the one that trumped them all was… buying rice.
I sh*t you not, we had to do something silly and unconventional. I went with their most popular and famous idea – trying to buy rice where you shouldn’t be buying them.
So, after letting my knees shake for like an hour, I finally got all the bits of courage that I could find within myself, and stepped straight into an office supply store. I chose this store because there was only one person working there at a time. For me it meant that at least there’s only going to be one person laughing at me, not several.
I went straight to that lady and asked her for rice. Our dialogue went something like this:
“Hi! Could I please get some rice?”
“Rice? My friend said that you sell rice for cheaps here.”
*smiling* “She was probably joking”.
“Yeah? Oh well…”
And I left. This was one of the silliest things I’ve done in my life and I couldn’t stop laughing once I did it.
Why did I do this?
One of my biggest fears in life is to be made fun of. Since primary school, I was always the poor weirdo girl who’d get bullied a lot. Kids at school would laugh at me, my older sister would laugh at me, even some teachers would bully me in front of everyone.
And my parents were working a lot, so there was never anyone to protect me. Eventually, I just tried to blend in and hope that nobody would notice me. Because if I did something, it might seem stupid and everyone would laugh at me.
That’s why going to the store and buying rice was extremely challenging for me, but also very freeing. Try it some time. 😉
Remember – always be kind to yourself. Being scared of something and doing it anyway is extremely brave. Most people live their lives in fear and never even try to get out of their comfort zone. So, congratulate yourself for even reading this article. AND… Take action!
Hi! I’m Cornelia.