Debbie Millman told me her biggest regret was not “going for it” after she graduated college. She took the “safe” option, got a job and built a career. And a great career she built, becoming the president of Sterling Brands, and working with over 200 of the world’s largest businesses.
Yet, she chose this route not because she wasn’t good enough to make it on her own, but because she was scared to.
Fear took over, and it was the fear that she would fail.
Fear itself isn’t a problem. You’re allowed to worry and stress. This doesn’t make you weak, and it does not define you. But, if you wish to get to where you desire, you must fight your fear.
It took Debbie Millman years to figure this out, but once she embraced her creativity, with shows like Design Matters and books like Look Both Ways, she began to overcome her fear of failure.
Millman also told me about a chat she once had with her good friend, Dani Shapiro, who said, “We think we need confidence to do something and take action, but confidence isn’t what we need. What’s more important than confidence is courage and competence.”
Like anything, learning how to overcome your fear of failure is a skill. It takes practice. You need to learn how to embrace it, because once you do you can build real success on the back of it.
As Shapiro says, you don’t need confidence, only a little courage and competence.
Here are a few inspiring TED Talks to help you find some.