How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

No one likes to fail.

Whether academically or in a sporting context, we’re taught early on 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’ led me to completely overhaul my life positively. From 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. 12 publishers had also rejected her. However, she persisted and broke through in a BIG way with the Harry Potter book series.

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 would fail and were afraid. They will also tell you that it took persistence, hard work and many lessons to get them to where they are today.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


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. You can always learn something from your failures, be it the need to change how you do something or learn 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 it is natural to feel that way; as you tackle your fears and anxiety, you will realise that you are 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 give it a go! 

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.

J. K. Rowling
About Author

Changed careers in my 30's. Became a freelancer writer & marketer. I'm a proud redhead, fangirl, wife & step mum. And I'm a lover of all things books, movies, podcasts, dogs & naps.

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