Have you ever felt so afraid of failing that you have subconsciously sabotage yourself, or even worse, given up?
When confronted with change, risk or uncertainty, you might feel anxious or afraid. With the good old fight or flight response kicking in, fear is the body’s natural response to the unknown, serving to protect and save you from perceived threats. It can also hold you back though, resulting in missed opportunities and experiences.
No one likes to fail.
Whether it’s in academically or in a sporting context, we are taught from an early age that failure is bad – so much so it becomes ingrained in everything we do!
Whilst it can be constructive in certain circumstances, the pressure to achieve can also be counter-productive, resulting in stress, procrastination and low self esteem. This makes it difficult to separate the fear of failure from what it could be – a positive growth experience.
Seeing failure as a positive growth experience is something I’ve learned to embrace over the last few years, especially since suffering a series of burnouts where I had to reassess my lifestyle! This was confronting at best, but this ‘failure’ lead me to completely overhaul my life in a positive way. From to the way I lived to my career and relationships, I changed my life for the better. And admittedly, it wasn’t easy. At times I wanted to chuck in the towel. But I persisted, learned a lot, asked for help, and changed – with things gradually becoming easier.
The power of persistence
Many so-called ‘overnight success stories’ followed a string of failures. Take J.K. Rowling. At one stage she was a single mother on welfare, suffering from depression, divorced and broke. She had also been rejected by 12 publishers. However, she persisted and broke through in a BIG way with the Harry Potter book series.
Just imagine if she had given up on her first, sixth or tenth try?
The most successful people will tell you that at some point they thought they were going to fail, and that they were afraid. They will also tell you that it took persistence, hard work and a lot of lessons learned to get them to where they are today.
Failure can be an opportunity for growth
It can be hard to acknowledge, but there’s always a silver lining.
Learn to look at everything you experience as an opportunity for growth. There is always something you can learn from your failures, be it the need to change the way you do something or in learning the art of persistence and resilience.
Whenever you are met with failure set aside some time and space for yourself to reflect on the following:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What can I improve on?
- What can I do differently?
- Do I need any advice or help?
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Stepping outside of your comfort zone will always feel a little scary, but that it is totally natural to feel that way, but as you tackle your fears and anxiety, you will realise that you are so much braver and stronger than you thought!
In surrendering to your fear, know that you will be okay, that you are good enough, and that you will learn so much by being brave enough to take a chance and by giving it a go!
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