Creating a vision for your life, and setting goals, is an exciting process, actually, I haven’t met one person that does not enjoy setting goals on some level; but, soon after this fun experience, reality sets in, and this is where most people gain an understanding of how much work is required to achieve their goals. Those of you that do not give up at this point continue on to take daily actionable steps towards achievement, no matter where you are at along the journey to achieving your goals, fear will set in. As adults, our biggest fear is failure. We see failure as a big scary event in the future. Whether you are considering a major career change, starting a business, or considering a committed personal relationship, fear of failure, or being afraid you are about to make the biggest mistake, is an experience we can all relate too. So, how do you pursue your dreams, even when you are afraid you will fail?
Take the First Step
This question, ‘am I about to make the biggest mistake’ isn’t just asked by people who are starting out, in fact it can pop up at any time, regardless of your experience or how many risks you have taken in the past. In Seth Godin’s 2013 blog post, titled, out on a limb, Seth summed it up best with: ‘At some level, ‘this might not work’ is at the heart of all important projects of everything new and worth doing.’ Unfortunately, the only way to find out if something is going to work is to actually step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 attempts to invent the first commercially viable light bulb this means he failed 999 times before he achieved a successful result. When asked about his numerous unsuccessful attempts to create the light bulb, Thomas Edison said this: ‘I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb.’ If you want to take a huge leap by embarking along a new career path or starting a business, moments of failure are necessary steps along a journey to success. Failure is simply a learning experience, it tells what hasn’t worked, and gives you an opportunity to start again and achieve a better result.
‘At some level, ‘this might not work’ is at the heart of all important projects of everything new and worth doing.’
– Seth Godin
The Key to Overcoming Fear of Failure
As a life coach, I believe that questions, not just any question, but the right one can give you the creativity to forge your own path or in this case, to have the courage to do almost anything. Questions are simple but strategic, and are the currency of life coaches. The purpose of this question is two-fold; firstly, it will change your perspective on failure, and secondly, give you a new way to see your own potential of success. When you consider a change that fills you with fear, ask yourself; what’s the worst thing that could happen? This is not just in the context of saying yes, but also no. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you said no? What is the worst thing that could happen if you said yes? The key to successfully overcoming the fear of failure if you step out, and make change is in how you answer those two questions. Start by writing a list of every possible scenario, and next to it, write how you would deal with it. By creating this list, all of these fears transform from wild allusive fears to known potential obstacles with solutions. As you look over the list, you will begin to see that any potential negative outcomes far outweigh the benefits of saying yes to the opportunity or change. With this list, you have the ability to create a strategic plan of action towards your goals that considers obstacles along the way. Remember, in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
‘In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’
As always insight without action is futile! Are you fearful of stepping out and taking a huge risk instead of playing it safe? If so, write out your answers to the questions in in the comments section below. Do you have any tips from your own experience on overcoming the fear of failure? I want to hear from you please do so by starting or join in with the discussion below. Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting with such kindness and enthusiasm.