How To Overcome Your Fear Of Failure 

how to overcome your fear of failure

Is there something in your life you are dying to do but you’re too scared to put yourself out there due to you fear of failure?

Too scared of looking silly, being judged or laughed at?

We are conditioned to believe that failure is not an option. We worry too much about what people will say or think if we fail, so much so that we allow it to hold us back from living with purpose, passion or going for something we have always wanted to do.

I believe having some fear can be helpful. It can be the fuel to achieving some great things. And besides, if it scares you, then it must be something worth being scared for, right?

But…how can we expect to learn anything and experience new things if we don’t take a risk?

I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work

Thomas Edison

Here are some top tips to help you turn that fear into fuel and live unapologetically.

What is fear of failure?

Personally, I don’t like to use the term failure, but for the sake of this article, I will. Failure will mean something different to everyone, not always the literal sense of failing an exam. However, failing an exam may mean failure to YOU. But is it truly failure? Is failure even a real thing? We all have different goals and aspirations. Failure could be not hitting a money goal, tripping over your words during a public speech, not hitting a deadline at work, starting your own business and not getting any sales, putting a post on instagram and not getting any engagement. 

Carrying your fear of failure on your shoulders can be a huge weight to lug around your entire life. It can get tiresome and frustrating. Not being where you want to be in life, and not letting yourself get there.  

It can be hard to burst the fear bubble. But what you can do is start by making small steps in order to get closer to your goals. The closer you get, and that great sense of achievement, may just help push the pin all the way through to freedom. We can let fear run our lives – or we can choose to run our own lives. We can choose to look for the lessons we learn from them. If you make a mistake, you are less likely to make it again. Mistakes make us human, and besides, no one is perfect.   

#1 Change your perspective

Change your views from needing someone else’s approval, to needing your own. It is your life and your dream, so you have to make the choice.

If that choice makes you happy and is something you want to pursue, then there should be no other voices or opinions needed.

Fear of failure can come from unresolved problems with your own self worth and that’s okay. Maybe you need to do a little inner work to discover why this is, and learn to build on your own worth, because you are enough as you are.

When you are not confident, is when you start to look for external validation and sometimes – you just won’t get it. When you are confident with yourself and your own self worth, you won’t need the approval of others. This means staying in your own lane, not comparing yourself to others and putting your energy, focus and attention in whatever it is that matters to YOU. If someone is judging, or talking about you, it is because they are projecting their own fears onto you. Don’t let them get to you – be able to observe them and give them love. They are also coming from an unhealed place.

Stick to your truth and step into your power.

Besides, think about it this way: how can we avoid doing something because we are worried about failure, when actually we should be more concerned that people are not trying? 

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you are missing by not even trying

#2 There are only lessons to be learnt

A super important way to grow is to learn from your mistakes. And honestly, I don’t even believe in failures anymore. There are just things that maybe don’t work out, but that’s okay, because the important thing is how you react, learn and respond to them. I am 100% sure if you ask any one on any journey, it is never a linear one.

Turn all your fears and limitations into lessons.

If it helps, draw a table. On the left hand side, write down the fears/failures. On the right hand side, write down something of value, a lesson or a positive note to yourself. This can serve as a reminder for every time you are feeling fear or doubt.

What if…

> we tried and didn’t fail?

> we tried and succeeded?

Imagine just for a second what that would look like. How amazing it would feel. Every time we try, we are one step closer to that feeling.

But we would never know this if we don’t try

#3 Surrender to the process

It turns out, part of the reason your brain is so afraid of failing is due to its fear of not knowing, which leads to over thinking, over worrying and speculating about things that may or may not even happen. If you’re anything like me, I speculate about the weirdest, most-unlikely-to-happen things possible.

We can get so obsessed with thinking everyone is watching us, waiting for us to fail, but we don’t even know what the outcome will be. This leads us to just assuming the worst. Ands sometimes, even fulfilling that prophecy. We then say “ha, told you so” and continue to believe in our unworthiness.

This can result in a plethora of different, unpleasant mental states. It also means you are not opening yourself up to new experiences, new connections, your dreams, happiness and even life.

Trust yourself and trust the process. It will be hard, especially when moving into the unknown. Our inner voice will be telling us everything and anything just to keep us in the safe zone. Don’t let your mind keep you from achieving your dreams.

The unknown can be an exciting place, if you let it. There is no quick fix, but you can take steps and make choices every day to get you closer to where you want to be. Some times you have to take a step back before making 2 steps forward.  

The key is to let go of that control. Surrender the need to know everything. Trust the process, because anything you embark on is going to be a process.

#4 Passion and Purpose > Fear

Get clear about what you want and allow your passion be stronger than your fear. If you want to pursue a new career, for example, think about all the people you won’t help if you don’t go for it?

Sometimes it can be hard to see your goal clearly through the fog of fear. Sit down and really think about your goal and what you want to achieve. Fear of failure can be emotional, so focusing on your end goal can really help stabilise you and provide you with a better stance to achieve your goal. Your mission should be more important than the fear or judgement of others.

Write it down, make it permanent and return to it whenever you feel lost or confused. This helps to create an emotional connection to it. It reinforces why you started in the first place and also gives you more reason to forget about what other people might think. 

#5 Identify your fears

What is the ultimate fear attached to your goal? What are you so petrified about, that has the power to stop you from going after your dreams? 

Are you afraid you’ll lose friends? Are you afraid of criticism? 

Understanding what you are afraid of can help you overcome it. Be completely honest with yourself.

Do you really need their approval? Most of the time, people are only critical because they lack something within themselves and are projecting it onto you.

#6 Start off small   

Once you’ve planned out what you want to achieve and are clear on exactly how you are going to get there, break it up into a timeline and focus on the next thing you need to do, nothing else. 

Once you’ve achieved that, you’ll have an amazing plan to refer back to in order to know the next step. This stops it seeming so overwhelming and you also keep the rewards of all your small achievements along the way. It can be really motivating.

#7 Enjoy the journey

Change your thoughts and add a positive perspective. 

Be excited for the challenge and don’t underestimate yourself. 

Put all your effort into it and don’t self-sabotage yourself. If you make a mistake, what can you learn from this?   

#8 Focus on YOU

Forget about your friends, family, colleagues, school friends, facebook friends, next door neighbours, cousins, aunties, friends of friends of friends. 

Just for a second. 

If they weren’t in the picture, would you put yourself out there? 

Sometimes it’s a person, or group of people (or people in general) that scare us. We are scared of being judged, being hated for saying something controversial, or just saying anything at all. 

If this is the case; take a step back. What do they bring into your life? Shouldn’t they be supporting you, rather than stopping you? 

Focus on you for a change. What you want to achieve. Focus on the moment and remember that life is too short to be worrying about what other people think of you. Why are you letting them decide your future? 

Surround yourself with the people who support you and your decisions. Focus on the moment and your goals. Other people’s opinions will start to become less important. 

How do you know if you experience fear of failure?

Are you a perfectionist? 

Only doing the things you know you are good at, so you can’t fail. You’ll do a perfect job and no one will be able to criticise you.   

Do you hate being criticised or put on the spot?

Does it make you rage with anger or fill up with tears when someone puts you on the spot, in front of everyone, because you made a teeny, tiny mistake? Do you avoid conversations, or entire situations so you can’t do anything wrong?  

Do you have low self-confidence?

Always putting yourself down, never feeling good enough, or smart enough. 

Do you self-sabotage?

Not committing to something, procrastinating, worrying, anxiety, not taking action so you are not completing your goals. These are all forms of self sabotaging your own happiness. We all do it without even realising.

Do you worry so much, you live so cautiously that you don’t go anywhere? You’re stuck in the same mediocre job or just life in general.   

Remember, failures only stop us if we let them.   

how to overcome your fear of failure
  • Komal Munawar
    February 13, 2019

    I really reaally love this post. It’s like a comprehensive guide to fear of failure. I’ve spent a good part of my life being afraid of failing. It takes a lot of effort to get over it. Sharing this on my Twitter.

  • Yaya
    February 14, 2019

    Love this post!! So positive and motivational!!

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Aw thank you so much! <3

  • Zuri Walker
    February 14, 2019

    This post has so much truth in it! We should always go steadfastly forward to achieve our goals and not put such a harsh definition on “failure.” Thank you for writing and sharing 🙂

    • ellieferguson
      Zuri Walker
      March 12, 2019

      Completely agree! We can learn from failure, we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it! It will help us achieve our goals, not hinder them. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Payton
    February 15, 2019

    “Failing is not fatal.” THIS!! This is such a great, detailed post. Love it!

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Thank you so much!

  • beth
    February 15, 2019

    Really helpful! Good post! <3 – themakeupbybeth

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Thank you so much!

  • Alyssa
    February 15, 2019

    100% agree with you! Great motivational post

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Thank you!

  • Brittaney
    February 16, 2019

    Loved this post! I have always felt really awful when I fail at something. I’m always fearful I’ll fail or being embarrassed when I have to tell someone I failed.

    xx, Brittaney | TheDecemberEdit.com

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Me too! It’s so hard to admit. But we shouldn’t be made to feel that way! Failing is normal and we can learn so much from it. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Elen Mai
    February 16, 2019

    This is a fantastic post, and such a refreshing outlook. I love all the tips you included, especially your point about “what’s the worst that could happen?” x
    El | Welsh Wanderer

    • ellieferguson
      Elen Mai
      March 12, 2019

      Thanks so much for reading! It really does make you think doesn’t it!

  • Charlotte
    March 6, 2019

    I loved this post so much, I’ve always thought as myself as a failure and it does take time to get over that but like you’ve said if you do them things you’ll be able to get over it. This will help a lot people. Keep up the great posts 😊

    • ellieferguson
      March 12, 2019

      Thank you so much! Me too. It won’t be easy but it’s good to know that failing is not fatal and should be accepted more. Believe in yourself 🙂

  • Nyxie
    April 1, 2019

    Very positive and inspirational post!

    Thank you for sharing it with us <3

  • Bestietalks
    April 2, 2019

    I am a perfectionist and have struggled in the past when things didn’t go my way. I try not to use the world failure as I always learn something from every endeavor even if it doesn’t go as planned! Thanks for sharing !

  • Joan
    August 7, 2019

    And old boss of mine used to say: “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” Another one said, “If you’re not failing, you’re stuck in your comfort zone.” It was kind of annoying at the time, but over time, I realized they were both right! And that failing is just a natural part of growing. Nice post!

    • ellieferguson
      August 8, 2019

      It can be really hard to hear, can’t it! We all fail, it’s so normal and apart of life. We can learn and grow from it, so much. People need to know it’s ok! Thank you 🙂 x

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