While growing up, I struggled with understanding the importance of learning failure. Though I knew being perfect was impossible, it was something I did regardless of the circumstances. I wanted things to work out for the best, with no challenges or obstacles in my way. If things didn’t work out as planned, I felt like a complete failure. My regret over the years is not following the need to overcome fear from failure.
Overcome fear from failure
Reflecting on my earlier years, I know that perfection is not the ultimate goal in life. But I believe my generation (18-30 age group) was not raised on learning how to fail. Failing was never an option, and I should always be aiming for success. I’m not pointing blame at others (such as my family); however, maybe it’s a generation problem when it comes to different beliefs on the issue of failure.
Overcoming fear of failure can be a daunting task, especially when the stakes are high. Up until last year, it’s something I always struggled with each day. I still struggle, but not as much these days. Avoiding failure altogether will certainly keep you from achieving your full potential. In this post, I will go over a couple of tips on how to overcome fear from negligence, including:
1.) Figuring out where fear comes from
2.) Using failure as a learning experience
3.) Practicing visualization
4.) Having a backup plan
Overcome fear from failure: Figure out where fear comes from
Understanding where your fears come from is the best starting point. Usually, it’s always our internal thoughts that hold us back sometimes. One thing I’ve learned to control is my thoughts. However, I understand that I can’t control my external thoughts. Examples can include decisions made by others or events that took place and can’t be reversed. I can’t force change on others, either on things outside of my control. As much as I like for every outcome to work in my favor, that’s not always the case.
Internal vs. External Thoughts
When I talk about inner thoughts, these are thoughts that we all can take control of. Examples include:
When it comes to external thoughts, these are things that we cannot control. Examples include:
Thoughts and behaviors of others
The natural world
I think a big one is living back in the past, especially when there are decisions we regret making. If you can’t move on from the past, it’ll be much harder to move forward. If you made some big mistakes, you can’t go back and change them. However, you can learn how to live with them and not make similar ones.
Use failure as a learning experience
When we think of failure, some people think about only negativity. Instead of focusing on the downsides and negative thoughts, failure should be viewed as a learning experience. For example, if you started a “brick and mortar” business that didn’t work out a year or two later, use that failure to reflect on as a valuable learning experience. As I mentioned earlier, learning how to fail can be the best thing that we can all take away from life.
Questions to ask yourself
If you want to use failure as a learning experience, ask yourself three questions:
What did I learn from this situation?
How can I grow as a person from this experience?
What are three positive things about this situation?
When answering these questions, it may be challenging to come up with positive responses. But as you write them out, you might come up with new opportunities that can help you reach your goals. For example, if you run a decent blog with an oversaturated niche, it might give you time to reflect on narrowing down the niche you choose earlier. If you narrow down that niche, you might have a better chance of having a better blog down the road.
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When it comes to failure, one of the best tips to overcome it visualizes all possible outcomes. Visualizing and writing down all of the best and worst-case scenarios is an excellent way to prepare for anything mentally. Whether that may be a failure (or success), you’ll know ahead of time what the result might look like in the future. Also, it’s an excellent approach for me to keep low expectations while not being disappointed if I don’t achieve my desired outcomes.
One of my weakest areas is personal relationships. Although I’m currently not in a relationship, I always think of the pros and cons of dating an individual. Being in a relationship with a specific person can be rewarding, but it can turn for the worse. They don’t always work out for the long term (same with marriages), but they’re great learning experiences. The same example goes with starting a business: it can be a success, or it can fail. Visualizing the pros and cons is a systematic approach to overcoming the possibility of failure.
Have A Backup Plan
We’ve all heard about the benefits of having a “Plan B” option. When “Plan A” doesn’t work out, consider your Plan B outline. It kinds of sounds like having insurance, but having a backup plan takes away some uncertainty. Also, it reduces the possibility of a significant setback in your business.
Contingency plan example
When I worked at my last few jobs, I always put aside part of my paychecks into rainy-day funds. I stacked away those funds into emergency savings in the event something catastrophic happened to me. Whether I got laid off, going to the ER (and slammed with significant medical bills), or something else, I'm always prepared for the worst-case scenarios.
The same can apply for a niche site: if you have a niche that’s too saturated, narrow it down into several categories if you struggle with content creation. I know some members have had trouble with content ideas for their niche. So narrowing the niche down into specific categories can help for better content ideas down the road.
Overcoming fear of failure is not uncommon for many of us. When you fear failure in several situations, think of the famous Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” I’m reminded of an old supervisor who pushed to take on a new initiative several years ago. Initially, I hesitated, but then I recalled him telling me, “Whenever I’m in doubt or scared of trying something new, I just do it.” So I went with it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Sometimes you’re going to fail at some things, while other times, you’ll be very successful. Don’t fear failure. Start somewhere, and do it.
Do you struggle with fearing the possibility of failure? How have you coped with it?
Is there anything you do to overcome the fear of failure?
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