No one likes failing. One of my biggest faults (in my own mind) is to think of worst-case scenarios before they ever happen. There’s a fine line between being a realist and worrying over bad situations that will never come to fruition. From my experience, being a worrier isn’t the best quality for someone with big goals and ambitions. So, the question is, how do we overcome the fear of failure so that it doesn’t cripple us from taking the first step of the next opportunity?
By definition, an entrepreneur is an individual that takes a greater than the normal risk in hopes of creating success. Also by definition, a risk is an action with the possibility of a negative outcome. I’d say that being an entrepreneur, the fear of failure is inevitable, but what we do in response to that fear is the driving force of what moves us forward.
Many times we want to have full control of our situations. If we can’t control the process and the outcome, the risk may not be worth the risk of failure knowing that we have no control over the success of the situation.
We often forget that everyone that has ever done, well… anything, was once a beginner. In our minds, we can convince ourselves that we will get something wrong from the start, or that others may judge us for the way we set out to achieve our goals.
So often, we become overly concerned with what our journey looks like as compared to someone else. Many times, we compare our chapter one to someone else’s chapter 10 and get discouraged over our progress, which can lead to the fear of failure. We must remember that we can’t always see the journey and elements that others have overcome to get to their own successes.
The lack of self-confidence might hold you back from ever trying; avoiding failure at all costs. Doing this also avoids the opportunity for successes that, otherwise, may never have an opportunity without a healthy sense of confidence.
Maybe your fear of failure derives from past traumas or other failures. Trying again can be a scary feeling, but it is just as important to learn from past failures and put those lessons to good use when moving forward on your goals.
Acknowledging your fear is courageous. It would be so much easier to brush the thoughts under the rug and pretend as if it doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t make the fear go away. By acknowledging your fear, you’re admitting the reality that, while it could happen, you are capable of continuing your journey regardless of the outcome.
Accept the truth that your journey looks different than someone else that you might look up to. It’s important to have mentors and inspirations for our dreams, but we must always recognize our journey as unique to ourselves.
Using the wisdom you learn from past experiences can help you be confident in the next steps of your goals. It’s important to reflect on your past with a sense of mercy, grace, and willingness to grow. Past failures may initially trigger the fear of failure in your current ambitions, but with previous experience, you are able to move forward knowing what could be done better a second time around.
Think of your end goal. What put you in the position to want to pursue that goal? Is it your faith? Your family? Your living situation? Your financial condition? The list goes on and on. It’s important not to lose sight of what is the driving force of aspiration.
Confiding in someone you trust can be a great source of encouragement as you overcome your fears. Having someone along for your journey is a great way to hold yourself accountable and know that you’re not alone in the situation.
When faced with fear, remember that things might not go as planned and that isn’t always a bad thing. Be optimistic and allow yourself grace to change things up as needed.
Get rid of any notions of pessimism. Rather than looking at the negative aspects of a situation and what could happen, think of things in a realistic sense. Always be aware of what is happening, be practical, and be sensible of the situation. Being overly pessimistic, and even overly optimistic can cloud your sense of judgment. That’s why it’s best to look at things from the middle of the spectrum.
Sometimes fear can be so crippling that we physically don’t know how to move forward. Think about the pros and cons of your options. Consider any alternatives that might help you get to where you want to go.
In business, doing your due diligence means researching a company or strategy before moving into an investment opportunity. Find out everything there is to know on the subject so that you can move forward educated and with confidence.
For me, it is always important to surround major life decisions with prayer, studying the Bible, and conversing with a spiritual mentor for clarity about the decision. If all of those things line up and I choose to proceed, I must also choose to put my faith over my fear and surrender the outcome to God. Taking a leap of faith does not mean go in blind, but approaching a situation with trust and obedience.
All of these items are easier said than done, but it helps to have reminders and encouragement when you’re stuck in a rut of fear. What are some steps you take to overcome the fear of failure?
I'm a South Georgia girl making strides in the world with big dreams and a heart to serve others! I'm a wife and mama of two awesome kiddos working a full time job of ambition. I'm the champion of planning, organization, and being a perfectionist (hello, type one ennegram.) I'm really glad you're here!