Fear of Failure

How to overcome your Fear of Failure

Summary: A fear of failure can have a crippling effect on you and your business.  The most common fears amongst entrepreneurs are the fear of lack of income, or potential embarrassment, because their real business situation is not the same as their perceived business situation.

These fears can be overcome.

Once you understand that a fear of failure is simply our reptilian brain hardwired to focus on the negative, you will easily learn to face the fears you experience as an entrepreneur:

Our brains focus on the negative as a mechanism of survival.

For example, if on the one side of you is a beautiful tree and on the other side of you is an angry elephant, your brain will focus more on the angry elephant.

You brain will also want you to run away from the angry elephant.

Unfortunately this ancestral brain still works in our modern world.

If you are negative about the fact that your business is not generating enough money, you will fear things about your business and you will want to retreat from your business and the things you need to do to make it work.

Here are some modern ways to face and deal with the modern fears we face as entrepreneurs:

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Step 1: Acknowledge that your failures are actually a learning curve.

Failure is actually a very necessary part of any learning process.

Learning requires the opportunity to see both what works and what does not work.

Your failures are thus just a part of your entrepreneurial story. The same can be said for every single other entrepreneur on the planet who has tried something that was even just a little bit challenging.

Step 2: Stop your ‘all or nothing’ thinking.

Often when a result does not meet every single one of our expectations, we mark it a failure.

In every failure there are still many steps along the way that were achieved.

Acknowledge these steps as progress instead of dismissing an entire exercise as a failure.

Step 3: Break your big goals into smaller steps.

The big goals and can overwhelm us.

If we have not yet achieved our really big goals, we tend to label ourselves as a failure.

Rather break your big goals into achievable chunks.

That way, goals become easier to achieve and there is less to fear.

As you achieve each smaller step, you have achieved success.

Step 4: Appreciate the reasons behind your fears.

Rather than try to dismiss your fears (which is unhealthy), appreciate that you have these fears because you are a normal human being.

If you fear not making enough money, there is a survival instinct behind this.

But just because you fear making enough money, does not mean that you won’t make enough money.

Step 5: Don’t overgeneralise your failures.

It is easy to take one single failure and extend it to being a failure of yourself and of your entire life.

Stop doing this.

One single failure, or even more than one failure does not mean your whole life is a failure.

Step 6: Stop being a perfectionist.

Perfectionists think they have failed simply because something did not end up meeting their very high personal standards.

If something is not perfect, it does not mean you have failed – it just means you can keep improving what you have achieved.

Step 7: Learn the skill sets you are lacking.

If you have failed at something, its usually simply because there is a skill set you still need to learn.

Identify these missing skill sets and make an effort to learn them.

World renowned success teacher Brian Tracy says “Every skill is learnable.”

And he is right.

As long as you have the ability to learn, you need not fear failure.

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  • http://www.how2forentrepreneurs.com How 2 for Entrepreneurs

    Please share your experience with the us about your fear of failure.

  • Brienne Donner

    I think I have a fear of failure cos I run away from my business to a corporate job every time my business does not work!

    • http://www.how2forentrepreneurs.com How 2 for Entrepreneurs

      Oh dear Brienne! But don’t be too hard on yourself :-)

  • Felicia

    I have realized after reading this article just how hard I am on myself. This entrepreneurial journey comes with both failures and successes on the way. When I fail I feel like my world has ended, but in reality, it hasn’t. I just need to tackle the next day and then the one after that and then the successes come.

    • http://www.how2forentrepreneurs.com How 2 for Entrepreneurs

      Its true. The entrepreneurial is a never-ending series of both successes and failures. We need to embrace both as a part of our journey.