5 Ways to Keep Fear of Failure From Holding You Back
Everyone likes to succeed but it’s impossible to be successful 100 percent of the time. Failure is a natural, often painful, part of growing a business.
In our perfectionist society, we’re conditioned to fear failure. As a result, we are oftentimes reluctant to take risks, try new things and embrace challenges.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must continue to step out on a limb and challenge yourself. Don’t let insecurity hold you back. Here are some ways to eliminate self-doubt and manage your fear.
1. Cultivate a growth mindset.
View failure not as the end of a journey, but a step in a long process toward your goals. Don’t berate yourself when you make a mistake. Instead, ask yourself, “What lesson can I learn from this?” Take that new knowledge and put it to good use. When you make a mistake, reflect, learn and try again. Eventually, you will succeed if you persist.
2. Stop negative self-talk.
Your internal dialog has a significant influence on how you feel. When you’re consumed with negative thoughts about your performance, your positive attitude will diminish and be replaced by self-doubt.
Take a different approach next time you try something new. For example, if you’re tempted to say something like, “Why did I even bother?” Replace that statement with something positive like, “Although this project didn’t work out as planned this time, I'm wiser for making the effort.”
When you practice positive self-talk, it will eventually become a habit and your view of failure will start to change.
3. Mix up your methodology.
Suppose your project doesn't go as planned the first time around. Don't give up and walk away. If you hit a roadblock, think through the problem. Could you change your approach? Is the timing off? Don't be afraid to try your project again at a more convenient time or from a different angle.
4. Call a trusted advisor.
Next time you make a mistake, ask for help. Sometimes all you need is to bounce a few ideas around with someone you trust.
Chances are you know a colleague, friend or mentor who has experienced the exact same situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or request a second opinion. When a friend comes to you for help, aren’t you more than happy to assist? Reach out to those whom you know and trust. They will most likely give you their best advice.
5. Think through the worst-case scenario.
Before you say "yes'' to a new challenge, map out all the possible outcomes. If you’re a visual person, write down the pros and cons.
Remove the emotion from your decision-making process and be as realistic as possible. Write down your worst and best-case scenarios. Try not to let your anxiety affect your view of the situation. When in doubt, create a contingency plan. Simply knowing you have a “Plan B” may boost your confidence and help you eliminate your fear of failure.
Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).