6 ways to get over your fear of failure

6 ways to get over your fear of failure

Human behaviour is complex, and there are many ways to understand what fear of failure can mean to so many of us.

There has never been a story of success without failure featuring at the centre of many defining moments. Given that failure is a core ingredient of success, it can be said that fear of failure is a fear of success.

Why would we be afraid of success? This is an important question to answer if we are to know how to transcend our fear of failure.

If we go deeper, the human condition suffers from three specific universal fears when endeavouring to succeed at our chosen craft or skill:

  • Fear of not being enough: It is natural to wonder if we have what it takes to succeed at this next level, and many of us have a fear of not being enough. When our twin baby boys were born, my wife and I felt extremely vulnerable. Were we enough to handle this incredible new responsibility?
  • Fear of not belonging: By succeeding, we are afraid we may have to leave a tribe/community/team/family/nest which we have felt safe and comfortable in. We all have a need to be part of something. Fitting in is not enough. We need to belong to a tribe where we can be ourselves.
  • Fear of not being loved: This is being afraid that we may get rejected by the tribe for our newfound success. Being accepted and loved is a profoundly crucial part of living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

How to get over your fear of failure

How do we then transcend our fear of failure? The antidote to any fear is appropriate and effective action. Here are six ways to combat your fear of failure:

1. Awareness

Become aware that any time we are adventuring into the new and unfamiliar territory of next level success, it is completely normal and natural to feel the three universal fears. Any form of relevant action makes a world of difference.

For example, the only way to learn how to swim is to get into the pool. All the swim books in the world will not come close to the positive impact of simply getting in the water and getting started.

2. Give yourself permission to shine

Usually, regret does not come from the things we have done, it comes from the things we haven’t done. Living a regret-free life, is fundamental for our peace of mind. Peace of mind is priceless.

3. Change is automatic, progress is not

Everything is changing all the time. However, our personal progress is a choice, an option, to be embraced or not. Choose to embrace progress no matter how small. Any form of progress is fundamental to our fulfilment and happiness.

4. Quit comparing

Stop comparing the darkest inner parts of yourself to the brightest outer parts of others. Social media is a distortion of reality and truth. Here’s some advanced coaching on this: stop it!

5. Stay loyal to yourself

Remain loyal to your values and inner guidance. As Khail Gibran said: “When you are born, your work was placed in your heart”. Take action to follow it, always.

6. Embrace the attitude of ‘failing forward’

This is an accurate way of defining any form of progress.

Earl Nightingale once said: “Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. Our worthy ideal comes in many forms”.

Success as a parent, business owner, in our career, as a husband or wife, partner etc are all expressions of worthy ideals. By failing forward, progressing, and moving in the general direction of any worthy ideal, we automatically transcend our fear of failure.

By applying these six focus points of action, we create a psychological environment where fear of failure evaporates into the ether.

Joe Pane

This article was written by Joe Pane, an expert in human behaviour, specialising in emotional fitness. He is also the author of Courage To Be You – Your Guide To Mastering Uncertainty.

With degrees majoring in psychology and sociology, Joe has delivered emotional fitness keynotes and workshops to tens of thousands of people since 2006.