So often I hear people say that the reason they haven’t taken action on a particular goal is that they are afraid of failing. They say things like, “What if I can’t do it?”, “What if I realize it’s not what I want?”, “What will people say about me if I don’t do a good job?”
My first question is, “What does failure mean to you?” They usually respond with something along the lines of not reaching their desired outcome or not getting the results they really wanted.
Next, I ask “Why are you afraid of failure?” More often than not, the answer is related to not wanting to feel a certain way.
They don’t want to feel disappointed in themselves. They don’t want to be embarrassed when other people realize they didn’t succeed. They don’t want to feel incompetent or incapable of something. They don’t want to feel like they wasted their time.
Now, as I have mentioned in some of my earlier blog posts, we decide what actions to take based on the thoughts we have about something. Our thoughts cause our feelings.
If you have thoughts about a goal and those thoughts are full of self-doubt and other negative thoughts you are going to be creating feelings of worry, fear, anxiety and stress. As you can imagine, it will be very difficult to move forward with pursuing this goal if you start out on day one thinking these thoughts. Most likely, as soon as something comes up and slows you down or doesn’t work out perfectly as you anticipated you will throw in the towel and say you’re done.
Now, let’s say you shift your thoughts to a more positive outlook. You state your goal. You realize and acknowledge the amount of time and effort it will require and you also anticipate that there will be challenges along the way. You make a plan to push through these obstacles and tell yourself that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.
You may even recite affirmations or mantras to yourself each day to keep you fired up and optimistic. You also acknowledge the fact that even if this goal ends up not happening, you are still a smart woman and will take the knowledge you learned from the experience to the next goal you set for yourself. You dust yourself off and move on.
Which scenario do you want to be in? The positive one of course! The only thing that’s changed in the two scenarios is the thought pattern you have.
I love this quote:
Stepping outside of our comfort zone is always a struggle because our brain likes to be efficient and stay in predictable situations. It knows it’s allowed for you to survive so far and doesn’t want to be forced to do anything different. You can outsmart your brain though and push on ahead anyway. Over time, the more you put yourself out there and push yourself to the next level, the better you will be at it.
Your self-confidence will also grow as you go through this process because you will see just how well you handle a variety of situations.
For me, since I love to-do lists and planning I actually think of a failure as an item I can cross off my to-do list under the category of “THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT”. I add the “failure” to that list and then cross it off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and productivity that helps me combat that nagging thought of “well, that was a waste of time.”
Nothing we do or attempt to do is a waste of time because I guarantee you you learned something throughout that experience. You are now wiser and have more tools in your toolbox to move on to the next goal.
Our lives are cumulative, so therefore nothing goes to waste and everything builds on each other.
The most successful people in the world have failed countless times. The more opportunities you give yourself to fail, you are also giving yourself more opportunities to succeed.
It’s time to switch your belief about failure from something you should avoid like the plague to something you should welcome with open arms when it arrives (and you know it will be arriving!). Maybe we should set out a welcome mat that reads, “Failure Welcome!”
I highly recommend starting a list like mine where you will keep track of “THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT”. It has been a huge help for me.
Also, remember that you can also “fail” by taking zero action. By not moving forward on a goal at all is failing before you even begin. Inaction is guaranteeing yourself a 100% chance of failure. And you said you were afraid of failure!? Lower your chance of failure and make an attempt.
I know you can accomplish amazing things in your life and the world is waiting for what you have to offer.
I’d love to hear what plans you have for your life, so please hit reply to this email and tell me what goal you are working on and what action steps you have planned. I want to cheer you on and help you in any way I can.
If the fear of failure is too much for you to overcome on your own, let’s talk! I want to help you kick that fear to the curb asap! Book a free call here.
Cheers to failure!!
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