In our society, failure has become some sort of taboo. None of us like to talk about it. But we all know it's there. Its looming presence almost beckons us towards it. It entices us with the impossible promise of vast riches and unfathomable fortunes. It invites us with the allure of ample time and freedom to travel the world and live according to our own terms. But deep down inside, none of that matter. As the potential fear of failure grips us, our bright, vividly-colored dreams began to evaporate in a plume of smoke.
What is it about failure that's so powerful? Why is that we're deathly afraid of failing? As an entrepreneur, this stifling feeling has overcome me many times. I've been gripped by that sudden and urgent fear that has suffocated me. And you know what? It ruined my business numerous times. It was my gripping fear of failure that lead to my destruction and downfall in the past. But you know what else? I'll never let it happen again.
Looking back on it now, I can tell you that this fear compelled me not to act on things that I knew could change my business. I was too afraid to pick up the phone and cold call businesses pitching my products. To afraid to approach alliances, affiliates or partners. What was I so afraid of? Rejection? Scolding? Something else? When I think about it, it was the potential for pain. It wasn't so much the failure itself that I was afraid of, but more so the fear of failure.
That fear stopped me from taking action. It was a self-inflicted mental confinement that I couldn't extricate myself from. Know that feeling? I can attribute the death and destruction of two past businesses to this ghastly fear. I'd liken it to an always-burning flame that would erupt into a fast-spreading conflagration as soon as those wheels in my mind started to turn. And it completely and utterly decimated me.
I became so sick of this fear that after I failed in such a major way, I promised myself that I would never allow it to dictate my actions ever again. In fact, when I did fail, and I mean fail miserably to a degree that I wouldn't wish on even my worst enemies, I actually realized that the world didn't end. Nothing stopped. Things kept going. People talked for a while then they moved onto other topics, other people, other behind-the-back whispers.
And so what? That's what I was so afraid of? Yet, now that I have my hindsight, I realized that this fear of failure was destroying my business. I didn't even know it. But I was so knee-deep in that fear, that I couldn't actually see what was going on. I couldn't actually see how it was eroding me sense of self and picking away at any semblance of dignity that I had left, piece by piece by piece.
How the Fear Of Failure is Ruining Your Business
Tony Robbins is known for poignantly stating that we'll do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. No truer words have been spoken. When you hear Robbins convey this powerful paradigm, it makes perfect sense. We all avoid pain while seeking pleasure. However, that's not the entire picture. In fact, if that were completely and wholly true, wouldn't we all just quit our bad habits and work tirelessly day and night to achieve our goals? Sure we would.
The truth? We do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure in the short term. Not in the long term. Clearly, in the short term. It's these sudden and instant urges of our mind that take over. But this has nothing to do with a shortcoming on your behalf. Nor on mine. Nor the next person. It's how we're all hardwired. It's part of our genetic makeup. Think fight-or-flight. To overcome this paradigm and succeed in the long term, you have to be conscious of the conversion occurring in your mind.
We have this massive negative voice. It's loud and unruly. It berates and belittles. You've likely heard it before. It tells you that you're not good enough. Not smart enough. Not capable enough to succeed. It begins to help you conjure up these what-if scenarios, unnecessarily creating an air of stress and anxiety. It becomes hard to breathe as you attempt to overcome this negative voice in the mind. But when you learn to control it, that's when the magic begins to occur.
Consider this for a moment. As a software engineer, I have a fascination with machines and code. CPUs are hardwired with circuits that provide a basic fundamental programming. Much like our brains do. But it's the mind's conditioning, very much like an operating system, that controls a large part of the behavior of this machine called the self. Conditioning occurs over a lifetime. it becomes habitual. Everything we think or say or do turns into a habit when repeated enough times.
Your goal? Overcome that conditioning. Reprogram the mind. Is this easy? Of course not. But it is possible. It requires subliminal programming. A voice of abundance, if you will. How? Condition your mind through repetition. Embed new scripts and mantras into it. It's not easy. But it is possible. Because, when you stop to think about the alternative, here are five reasons that very same fear of failure is absolutely ruining your business, very much like it ruined many of mine.
Related: 18 Ways to Bounce Back from Failure