Updated: Feb 28, 2020
Fear Sucks! If there is anything stopping me from doing what I know I should, it is fear. I had an extremely hard time trying to decide if I truly wanted to start Lyon Media. Truth is, I was afraid of failing. I was afraid I would start it and it wouldn't work out. I was afraid of what other people would think of my work. Putting myself out there was hard and honestly, sometimes, it still is. However, fear is relative. We each have a different definition of fear. We have different belief systems, values, and even different definitions of success which shape our idea of failure.
There are certain root causes to fear of failing. It may be that as a child you had very unsupportive parents that didn’t encourage you. They didn’t allow you to be a child. They didn’t tell you they were proud of you or help you improve a skill. They just didn’t care. Or, perhaps they cared too much and were involved in every area of your life. They were controlling and when you made a mistake you didn’t have the ability to share that with them. When they found out they handled it poorly and overreacted. This environment is an incubator for fear to grow in a child.
Another root cause could be you have been routinely humiliated. You’re afraid to mess up because you’ll be embarrassed. You fear failure because when you failed you had a sibling that relentlessly teased you, parents that called you stupid or were derogatory, or perhaps even kids at school. Shame breeds fear.
The last root of fear of failure is going through a traumatic event. It could be anything that really put an impression in your mind. Traumatic events put thoughts in your mind that may not be true. They cause insecurity and shame, making you believe that what happened to you is your fault. Fear of failing can result from this. You don’t want to fail and insecurity is telling you you will fail.
Fear of failure manifests itself in the following ways: You have a reluctance to try new things, you self sabotage such as procrastinating, having excessive anxiety, and failure to follow through with your goals. It also manifests through low self esteem and perfectionism. Now that we have established what the root causes and surface issues are of fear of failure, let's discuss how we can fight this fear and find victory over fearing failure!
How to Fight Fear of Failure 101
Stoic Philosophy | The Sphere of Choice
When we consider the fear of failure, the reality is, it is a very selfish, prideful thing. We are concerned about what others will think, say or do. This Stoic Philosophy of the Sphere of Choice has truly helped me get through fear of failure and that is why you are reading this now! You cannot control what others will think of you or what they will say. However the one thing you can control is yourself! You can control the internals, your character, your values and your behavior. As long as your actions line up with your “internals” then what others think simply does not matter.
There is an incredible freedom in this philosophy and I would suggest practicing it! When you are afraid of failing picture this diagram above. You can only control yourself. Do your very best. Prepare, Practice, and Excecute.
Set Attainable Goals
Seriously, stop putting so much pressure on yourself! If you are anything like me you will set a completely unattainable, HUGE goal and then you’re devastated when it inevitably fails. Stop doing that to yourself!
Start with baby steps. If you have this huge goal you want to accomplish, split it into four parts and accomplish one thing at a time. When you are able to complete these small goals it gives you confidence and encouragement and that scary fear of failure that is always chasing you won’t even cross your mind.
When you do fail, reflect and ask these three questions:
What did I learn from this failure? Reflect on why you failed and learn from it! Don’t continue to fail in the same area when you can learn and teach others the lesson you learned as well.
How did I grow from this failure? Did you grow personally? Maybe you failed at a business and realized you needed to grow in your discipline. Maybe you failed at a friendship and you no longer talk to someone you used to be so close to. Perhaps it was your lack of concern, your listening skills, a lack of empathy. There are ways you can grow your “internal” self through failure.
What are three positive things about my situation? If you have failed don’t stay in the pessimism. Bringing your own positivity into the situation is going to go a long way. Don’t continue to beat yourself up over a failure. Learn from it. Grow from it. Then be positive! What are some good outcomes of a less than ideal situation?
The amount of time you spent worrying over failure you could have been working towards success.
Don’t allow fear of failure to prevent you from being who you were meant to be.
Failure is the catalyst for success!