Fear of failure will stop you becoming the person you deserve to be… it will stop you living the life you deserve to live.
Here is how I overcame that fear… maybe it can help you?
It is at this time of year that I tend to reflect on my life more than usual – I think deeply about who I have been, who I am now and why.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was a very different person than I am now – In fact, almost three years to the day I was lost… lost in the fog and mist of depression.
You might know about my story, I have mentioned it in other posts… how I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day, 50lbs overweight and utterly miserable – these were just the outward signals of the dark disease which was growing inside me.
I cannot accurately describe how I felt during this time… it was as though a cruel, oppressive and hurtful entity had been absorbed in every pore of my body and mind.
It felt separate from the “real” me, yet it was all consuming. I felt like I was drowning. It was scary and there didn’t seem like there was anyway out.
However there was a way out. I did escape, I haven’t fallen back, I never will – and I learnt some important lessons:
If you have been caught by depression, please get some professional help – I can offer my advice on how I recovered and hopefully it can help – however, nothing can beat professional support, especially if depression’s claws are in deep.
The way I managed to free myself will sound simple – I decided I had to change and I started taking positive actions everyday.
I realise this will sound over simplistic and unrealistic, but it is true – I was in a desperate situation – I had to change, otherwise the consequences would have been the darkest possible.
When I made the decision it felt impossible. I had no idea what to do or where to start – what possible action could solve something as big as depression?
The thing is that is what depression wants you to think – depression wants to grow – and the perfect conditions to grow are in a static, absorbed and defeated individual..
On the contrary… I found that depression cannot grow when positive action is consistently taking place.
Success is “consistency”
It is not about one grand action that will rid you of depression forever. That is unrealistic and will make you give up when it doesn’t happen immediately.
Instead it is about momentum – lots and lots of small but positive actions to improve your situation. They can be tiny steps, but when you keep on adding more and more, the momentum becomes unstoppable.
Going for a walk in nature, writing down some goals, making the call, reading the chapter of a book, meeting with friends, seeking professional help and applying for a job… keep taking small actions.
None are the antidote to depression on its own, but together they will slowly remove the conditions for depression to grow.
As the momentum builds, so will you and so will your mind – The fog will start to lift and the oppression will be defeated.
Take positive action – any action, no matter how small… just do it consistently, don’t expect immediate results and you can change your life… I did.
No matter who you are FEAR is going to play a part in your life.
How we interpret the fear we feel will determine the action we take… and ultimately the success we achieve in our lives.
In this video I share how we can effectively and powerfully understand what fear is, how to use it to serve you and eventually overcome it!
I have spent the last 19 months of my life writing a leadership book – And then when it was pretty much ready to be published, I stopped.
I stopped taking action and I gave myself loads of “reasons” why.
Of course these reasons were just excuses… Here is why I stopped taking action and the reasons why I shouldn’t. If you have aimed for a goal, been making progress, then felt like quitting… maybe this could help:
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”
I hate to admit it, but the main reason I stopped was due to fear – fear people might not like my book, fear that people might laugh, fear that I might not be any good. Looking at it logically it is likely that some people wouldn’t like my work or me… but it wouldn’t be everyone and it shouldn’t be something that I should be fearful of.
But that didn’t stop me being afraid.
Fear, essentially is a powerful metabolic function, that is designed to protect us from danger. So when genuine threats come along we change our behaviour so we can survive – behaviours such as running away, hiding or freezing.
The bottom line is that, no matter what, fear is going to play a part in your life. It is how we manage it that makes all the difference.
We can do this by creating leverage and developing our mindset.
Leverage – Purposely create the thought process that the act of quitting will be a more painful experience than the possible results of taking action.
To do this you will need to write, in as much detail as possible, how awful your life will be if you don’t take action towards your goals. Do this over various timeframes, for example how horrible your life will be next week, in one year and in five years.
Completing this simple process will shift your minds focus and perspective, transforming your energy towards taking positive action.
Mindset – Are the goals you have set yourself fixed or growth goals? If you have lots of fixed goals (a fixed goal is a goal that has an end point and is ridged in the success criteria) then you are not be setting yourself up for success.
The reason why is with any fixed goal there will always be factors out of your control, this can then create frustration, fear and disappointment. All of which will direct you towards quitting.
A growth goal on the other hand does set you up for success. Growth goals are about continuous development and growth, both of these factors are within your control… You can grow, develop and learn everyday if you so desired. This will help remove the fear you feel, because each step of the goal is now fully achievable, so you can continue to progress towards your goals with more control.
In my example, this surfaced with publishing – should I go through an established publisher or self publish? There are benefits for both – and there are negatives.
A publisher will do most of the work for you in getting your book on sale, but at a very high cost, which would mean literally no profits from my book (unless by some miracle I became a multimillion selling hit!). Self publishing means I would make more money per book sale, but I would have to learn how to publish!
I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.
This is one of the easiest excuses to make – because the truth is, there will be times when we don’t know what to do!
An ultra affective strategy in this situation is to role model from those people who have already done what you need to do.
Go onto any internet search engine and type in what you want to learn or become and, as quick as a flash, you will have a reservoir of resource, from world-class experts, at your fingertips.
Don’t make the excuse that you don’t know what to do – instead put it on your ‘to-do list’ to find out what you should do!
After writing my book, I got distracted by day to day hassles and problems. In fact I got so involved in the daily struggles, that even when I had the time to focus on my book, I felt so tired, that I couldn’t face more work.
This is a common problem… Most people fail to chase their dreams because they have busy lives and this gets in the way of achieving real quality. After a tough day being busy most of us want to relax and “un-plug” rather than chase our big life goals.
Here are two strategies to combat fatigue:
1 . Prioritise the important. Very simply, your vision, your destiny or your dream should be the most important goal in your life. So make it the first thing you do. Build in the time and make your big life goals the priority and focus on these first!
2 . Take care of your physiology. Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating healthy, energy providing foods? Are you committing to a productive exercise routine? If you look after your physiology, you will have more energy – Obvious, but true!
We are all so busy. We live in the most fast-paced, ever-changing and hectic time in human history. Pretty much everyone struggles for time. It is an almost foolproof excuse for quitting on our personal goals and dreams… That is one of the things I told myself about publishing my book!
Yet, if we are absolutely honest – do we use all the time we have available to us, effectively?
Just think about the amount of time each day you spend looking at a screen… Television, phone, laptop, tablet…
Is this a productive use of our time?
If you want to have enough time to achieve amazing things do this: Stop using any social media and TV (this includes programs on the internet!) for 30 days and instead use that time to take action on your goals.
In 30 days I guarantee you will be amazed at how much progress you make in achieving your goals. I also guarantee, if you can do the 30 days, that you won’t miss TV and the internet half as much as you imagine you will!
If you follow through and take the required action everyday towards your goal, then eventually you will get there!
Yet sometimes rather than committing to keep moving forward, we create an internal story that tells us to quit.
These stories can seem compelling, but the truth is, they are excuses. Challenge yourself to take action even when you feel scared, don’t know what to do, don’t have the energy or don’t have the time.
If you do you can achieve your goals – Like I did… My book will be published later in the year!
Your success, your career, you life, is dependant on the quality of the relationships you create.
So what happens if a key person in your life is really difficult to build any sort of relationship with?
This video explores what you can do to have a positive impact and build high quality relationships, even with the most challenging people you know!
When you have big goals, you will know bringing them to life is hard work. Often it is easier to tell ourselves our goals are not achievable. Often we tell ourselves we should compromise.
If you have a goal you are finding difficult to move forward, here is a list of the best excuses you can use to give up… Of course, I have also added my thoughts to why you should never quit with these excuses.
Good! Being realistic is the fastest way to becoming average! Anybody who ever achieved anything of note was unrealistic… That is how progress is made. Congratulations, you have joined a very special club of people. People who can change the world around them!
This is probably true… You might have some natural talent, but it will only take you so far. The only way ANYONE gets to be ‘good enough’ is hours and hours of practice. If you are not good enough right now, practise harder, longer and more consistently than ever before. Over time you WILL become good enough.
Other people will ridicule you, laugh at you and tell you you can’t (they will even do this when you have achieved your goals!!). At the end of your life, will you measure success based on how bland and average you were or will you measure success on achieving your potential?
If you want to be bland, give up on goals now, don’t do anything worth any attention. If you want your life to be measured on what you contributed… Then you know you can’t quit.
If this is your excuse, you are probably accurate. What the most successful people in the world do in this situation is simple. If they don’t know what to do, they find out! There are so many people out in the world who are living out your goals, find out what they did, copy them!
Yep… this will most likely turn out to be correct. The bottom line is, people who achieve massive success have failed more times than you. The difference between success and failure is that the successful learn from failure. They recover from failure. They keep taking action until they they don’t fail, they take action until they win.
Failing is inseparable from success. You just have to choose how you will face failure… If you want to achieve your goals, then embrace failure, learn from it and become better from it.
“To busy is a myth. People make time for the things that are really important to them.”
This is simply not true. If you MUST do something, then you WILL do it. If you don’t have the time, it is because it is not a MUST… instead it is a SHOULD. The difference between must’s and should’s is the fracture between taking the action you need and letting other stuff get in the way.
If you don’t think you have the time ask yourself this “If someone put a gun to my head and told me I had to take action on my goals, would I find the time?”.
When things become a MUST, those things happen.
This is just another way of saying “I will probably fail”. There is no perfect time, there is no perfect moment. You have to create the time, you have to create the moment. This will ultimately mean there is a risk of failure involved. Embrace it, learn from it and become better from it.
Please refer back to excuse number 6, about MUST’s and SHOULD’s. You can generate and manifest more than you can imagine.
Please don’t take offence to the following question: If your closest loved one needed an operation in six months or they would die and it cost half a million dollars/pounds, would you raise the money?
Of course you would, you probably have no idea how, but you wouldn’t stop until you did it. Now take away the horrible situation. You have the capacity to raise half a million in six months! Don’t say you don’t have the resources!
The difference between winners and losers is that winners keep on going until they win. Losers will try, fail and then stop. It is impossible to succeed without failing, winners know this! Losers don’t stick around to find out!
Chasing your goals doesn’t mean you have to give up your job, just yet! Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, didn’t quit his place in Harvard until one year after Microsoft had become a world wide success! If chasing your dreams, while keeping your job is good enough for people like Bill Gates, it is good enough for you!
If you practise, practise and practise achieving your goals and keep on learning and getting better, after a few years you will be in the top 2% in the world at what you do.
There is a massive amount of money available for anyone who is in the top 2% in the world at what they do! Do what it takes to master your craft, be relentless and the money worries will dissipate… Then quit your job!
It is easy to tell ourselves we can’t achieve… But when you hear that voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough or you feel afraid of failing, tell yourself a different story, tell yourself you can. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
We are surrounded by expectations about how we should behave, what success is and what it isn’t. We all view leadership and success as tremendously serious activities too, so we all have to act in a grown up and serious way. Most of us will spend our lives trying to meet these expectations, yet if we are honest and take a moment to think about it, we don’t really know who set these expectations in the first place… It’s just the way it is.
What if those expectations are wrong?
We all take it so seriously. Success is so important, we are scared of making mistakes and being seen as foolish.
What if being foolish is the path to success?
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
The opposite perspective of this is that wisdom is just a clever excuse for being cynical. The cynical never try anything new, because they already think they know everything and new things are doomed to failure. They will use their wisdom to find the excuse to keep on doing the same thing they have always done.
Fools will try the original and don’t know something can’t be done.
That is how we can change the world, by doing what can’t be done!
Fools will see opportunity in everything, will be grateful for the world around them and see everything as positive. Imagine if you could see the positive in everything in your life. If you could see the opportunity in everything, the possibilities that become available to you will be endless.
As sensible people we all know that failing does not equal success and we will do what it takes to avoid failure at any cost. The unfortunate truth is, this will make us play safe. The foolish will risk failure, they will reach high and they will learn from their mistakes along the way.
To achieve anything of significance, you will have to risk failure and sometimes you will have to accept failure… as long as you keep on learning and taking action, you can achieve the truly significant.
We are told it is important to have crystal clear goals. SMART objectives are everywhere. Why on earth would anyone work hard when we don’t know the outcome? Fools just work hard at everything they do. They know that total control is just an illusion and because of this they discover opportunities that would be unavailable to those with ridged plans.
Nobody likes fear, it’s not fun and it is scary. The foolish realise that facing fear, being comfortable with fear is the number one catalyst for personal growth. Be foolish and reach your potential or play it safe and become mediocre.
We spend so much time worrying about the past and planning for the future, we forget about the only real thing we have… this very moment! Yes, it is important to learn lessons from the past and have dreams for the future, but we shouldn’t spend all of our time in either time zone!
The foolish enjoy the here and now. The present is reality, it is precious and you only have now to enjoy it. Grasp it, use it and be grateful for it. You can achieve so much if you only take action right now.
The world will tell you to grow-up, be serious and follow the script, don’t fall for that!!
How you live your life will determine the quality of your life – Learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to be foolish!!
Common advice from motivational gurus and experts would normally go along the lines of; “Face your fears and overcome them”.
I think a little differently. I think fear is going to play a part of our lives, no matter what, and we should use it rather than try to remove it.
Fear is a deeply routed emotional state that was created, to help us avoid pain and danger. When fear is in full swing it is a great motivator… it increases heart-rate, boosts energy levels and can improve performance levels. That can be really useful if used in a situation where you need to avoid real and genuine danger!
The common problem we face, is that we attach the feelings of fear to things we have nothing to be fearful of… Things like failure.
If we are fearful of failing, rather than being a helpful feeling, fear can be destructive and debilitating. Fear of failing could easily stop us striving for success. Think about it for a moment – If you strive to be a success, then that means you will have to inevitably take some positive action. The problem is, whatever action you take is not guaranteed to be successful, so therefore taking action produces a risk of failing.
The risk of failing will create fear and as we know, fear will equip and motivate us brilliantly… However, it will be the wrong type of motivation, we will be motivated to not take the action we need to take in order to be successful!
That is not good news for any long-term success strategy.
Fear should not be connected to success or failure – If you currently do, only you can break this pattern.
Take a moment or two to think about this – It is easy to dismiss this question, but when you give yourself the time and space to genuinely answer you might find some surprises.
What does it take to become a success? What does it take to become a failure?
Are the answers you give to those questions realistic? Are your answers based on fixed criteria (like an amount of money, a certain job or a specific event) or are they based on consistent growth and improvement?
Are the answers you gave, even your answers or are you trying to achieve someone else’s perception of success?
The most important aspect to remember is success and failure are both just a feeling… They are not a job, they are not an event and they are not an amount of money either!
You have complete access to your feelings at any given moment. It isn’t an external process, so things don’t have to happen to you in order for you to feel successful. It can be as simple as just deciding and then taking action towards growth.
You are free to decide your own rules on success – my advice? Choose growth and progression. Choose to be fearful of failing to take action rather than fearing the results of those actions.
Choose to feel the fear of failing to take action as much as possible!