Alright, we have to admit. Everyone failed at some points in their lives.
We failed when we studied so hard, but didn’t get the results we want in school. We failed when we apply for jobs that we want, but we have not been accepted. We failed when we asked the guy or lady for a date and got rejected. We failed when we wrote down our goals, but we did not achieve them.
We failed over and over again, but you know what? This is all part of our life.
Failure is normal. Failure is a rain and it is unavoidable. The problem with most people is that they make failure personal. They got defeated and they allow their fear of failure to stop them from moving forward in life.
It is not the failure that actually stops people from moving forward. It is their own fear that created in their head that stops them.
Perhaps, we should do exactly like what Susan Jeffers suggested, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Unfortunately, most people do feel the fear, but instead of facing their fear and take action, they choose to run away and shun from their fear.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some insightful strategies and principles that anyone can use to get rid and overcome their fear of failure, and continue to move forward in life.
1. Acknowledge Your Failure
The very first thing you should do whenever you feel the fear of failure and rejection is to acknowledge its very existence.
You have to understand that failure is part of life and it is inevitable.
If you want to become a millionaire, build a multi-million dollar business, achieve your goals, live your dreams and become successful in life, you will definitely have to face a lot of failures, rejects, setbacks and obstacles in your journey.
However, that does not mean that you can’t be successful or you should allow any of those setbacks stop you from getting what you want.
Michael Jordan has a very meaningful saying about his failure:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
We should not look at failure as failure.
In fact, we should not call it ‘failure’ at all because it is just an event whereby we did not achieve our desired outcome.
It is just a ‘signal’ telling you that something does not work; or a detour taking you away from your plan; or a feedback telling you that your strategy is not right and you should change it.
Change Your Perspective On Failure
Successful people who achieved amazing results in life are people who did not view failure as failure. They look at failure as a stepping stone that will get them what they want.
We all know that one of the greatest inventors of our time, Thomas Edison, attempted more than 10,000 experiments before he finally found the right material that worked. During his experiments and before he succeeds, most people will look at him as a failure and a paranoia because what he is doing is not working.
However, Thomas Edison did not look at himself that way. He said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
So change the way you look at failure. Change your perspective on failure.
Look at failure not as a failure, but as a feedback to improve your strategy, or as a signal telling you that your approach is incorrect, or as something that is necessary for you to grow and to become a better person.
I remembered clearly in a speech from Les Brown, the motivational speaker. He said to stop looking at failures as defeats and stop thinking that we are having a bad day. Instead, look at your bad days as “character-building days”. And he is absolutely right.
You cannot grow and improve yourself to become a more successful person without fail. Don’t pray for an easy life, but ask for the strength to endure a challenging one.
Time To Level Up!
When you play games, each match or each level will increase in difficulty. You will have to fight stronger enemies or opponent. So what do you do? You level up!
You fight to gain experience and level up. You learn new and more powerful skills. You recruit better team mates to fight a tougher boss.
Well, it is the same in life. Leveling up your character does not only happen in the gaming world, it happens in our real life too.
In the sports industry, you will see many athletes are performing at a different level.
Beginners will be those that are playing the sport for fun. Some will be more serious and take it to the next level and become a national player. And those who are committed, they make it to the international level and join the Olympics.
The point is that nobody was born an Olympian. So how did those international players get there?
They started as a beginner, they train hard, they failed, but they did not deter and they learn from their failures to grow, becoming better each day and eventually, their skills improve and they become a better athlete.
This is how professional athletes get to the top of their game. Guess what, you can do the same in your life.
No matter if you want to build a successful career, earn a million dollar annually, or become a great parent, you MUST level up to become better at the game.
This is how you can level up. This is how you grow. And this is how you should look at failure from now on.
2. Model A Proven System
Fear of failure or rejection is there because most people cannot tell the result that they are going to get. In other words, people are afraid of the uncertainty.
They are afraid that they will be rejected if they ask the girls out for a date. They scare what if they take action and fail. They worry if they quit their job and start their own business, and then they fail.
Therefore, people worry about the uncertainty. Now, what if I tell you that you cannot fail?
If you want to start a business, but you are afraid that you will fail, what if I tell you that there is no way you will fail, if you do it, you will definitely be successful and build a great business, guarantee?
Well, if this is the case, most people will take action and just do it.
Thus, one of the best ways to overcome the fear of failure is to get rid of the uncertainty. And we can do that by following a proven path.
Replicate A Successful Model
What you need to do whenever you fear to fail is to replicate and model after someone who has done it before.
Copy the expert. Or better yet, get the expert to show you how to do it or guide you through the process, step-by-step.
If there is someone there to guide you, coach you and show you the way to achieve what you want, your chances of failing will be greatly lowered and conversely, your chances of succeeding will be increased.
Imagine if you saved $50,000 over the last 5 years, it was your hard earned money and now you decided to invest the money into the stock market.
The problem is that you do not know which stock to buy. Now, what if you can have Warren Buffett or Ray Dalio, the world’s largest hedge funds manager to guide you and tell you what company’s stock to buy?
Would you feel less worry or anxious?
Of course, when there is an expert there to guide you through the process and show you the way, you will feel relieved because the best people in the industry are there to help you. How can you fail, right?
As you can see, you can remove the fear of failure by learning the proven path from others who have achieved the result you want.
No matter what you want to achieve in your life. Whether it is losing weight, becoming the best parent, become a millionaire real estate investor, build a business empire, bring your company to IPO, date girls, excel in your studies, learn piano, become an international tennis player, etc., you can reduce your fear of failure by getting an expert to show you the way.
Finding The Proven Path
Imagine your goal is to get to the top of the mountain to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The problem is that you need to find your way and climb to the top of the mountain. What will you do?
Look at the picture above. The trail is already there. Someone has climbed the mountain and got to the top before you and leave the path for you to follow.
You don’t have to create a new route or try to discover a new path to get to the top. All you need to do is to follow and you will be at the mountain top.
Yes, the path left behind may not be the fastest or shortest route, but it is the proven route and easiest to follow, don’t you agree?
Books, Audio Programs and Training Videos
Depending on what you are trying to learn. If you want to overcome your fear of failure in making cold calls, books, audio programs, and training videos are great.
If you want to build a successful business, these materials may not be the best. They can only share with you the theory and the principles, the rest you still need to do it on your own.
Just like what Jim Rohn said:
“You can’t hire someone else to do your pushups for you.”
If you want to learn to bake, build a website or something more technical, books, audios and videos are very helpful.
Get A Mentor Or A Coach
Do you know that the seminar business is booming right now? Well, simply because the speaker or the guru can charge a premium and the students are able to learn directly under the wings of the guru.
Well, you don’t have to attend a seminar or a workshop to learn things. You can find out who has achieved the result you want and ask him or her to be your mentor.
Remember, what you are trying to do is to take the first step and build the momentum. Not everyone you ask for help will become your mentor, but they can at least guide you somewhere or to someone who can.
3. Minimize Your Fear
Another great technique anyone can use to remove their fear of failure is by minimizing it.
This technique is powerful because it reduces the resistance in your head and focuses your energy on things that you can act on immediately to build up the momentum.
Just like writing an article. You first started with an idea. And then you created the draft and outline what you want to cover in the article. After that, you proceed to write the article, one section at a time, one paragraph at a time, one sentence at a time, and typing one word at a time.
And eventually, you will get a fully written article.
The problem with most people is that they are trying to get the whole thing done in one big step. This is what makes them fearful to take action.
Worse, they imagine the difficulty, the challenges that they are going to face and the workload they need to handle.
In the end, they procrastinate or paralyze and not doing anything at all.
You have to minimize your fear of failure in order to lower down your resistance to taking action.
Taking One Step At A Time
You have to understand that every big thing starts with doing something small. Rome was not built in a day.
Hence, what you need to do is to focus on taking just one small step.
Ask yourself, “What is the one small step I can begin right now?”
The key is to take the first step so that when you are in motion, you will gain inertia and go on taking the following step.
If your aim is to do 20 pushups, focus and commit to doing only 1 pushup.
If your aim is to write a 300 pages book, focus and commit to writing only 1 sentence.
If your aim is to cold call 100 potential prospects, focus and commit to making just 1 call.
When you kick-start the action, things will start to move.
Just like pushing a car. When the car is not moving, you need to push it with tremendous effort. However, once the car moved, it requires less strength because it is already in motion.
You want to put yourself into motion.
Once you have taken the first step, you build up the momentum and it will take you less effort to continue the process and take the following steps.
This is how you can minimize your fear.
4. Play the Pauses
Take make great music, you must include the pauses, not just notes. Music without pauses is just noise.
You cannot water the plant 24 hours a day, it will die overflowing with water. You just do what you can. You make sure the soil is fertile, make sure it has enough exposure to sunlight and water it from time to time.
The rest, you just believe that it will grow and blossom. You don’t force the result. And you can’t.
Thus, you must learn to play the pauses. Whenever you feel the fear of failure, take a pause. Think about the pros and the cons. Think rationally and positively.
No matter it is in business or in life, you must learn to play the game of life.
When you face with fear of failure, take a moment to think. Think about both the good and the bad.
“What will happen if I do it, and succeed?”
“What will happen if I do it, and fail?”
“What will happen if I don’t do it?”
Stay objective and be optimistic. Don’t just imagine doing it and fail. Hey, you have to be fair. Imagine feeling the fear and do it and still able to achieve the outcome you want.
Believe and Have Faith
Do understand that the journey to success and living your dream life is full of peaks and valleys. There will be sunshine and there will be rain.
So try to keep your composure and believe in yourself. Don’t worry when you feel the fear. It is very normal because you are trying to do something new or something out of your comfort zone.
More importantly, have faith to fail forward. When you fail, tell yourself that the universe has something better waiting for you.
When one door closes, another will open. Don’t worry to fail. Trust yourself that even if you fail, you can still benefit from the lessons learned.
5. Preparation Kills Fear
I remembered clearly when I was a student; my language teacher tested our ability by giving us spelling tests.
Whenever I practiced the night before the spelling test, I did well the next day for the test. And whenever I did not study or practice for it, I didn’t full mark for it.
What does this tells us is that it is not that we are afraid to fail or we are not good, it is just that we are not doing enough to prepare for what is coming.
You feel the fear of failure because you are afraid that you will fail. And if you have done enough preparation, you study well, you practice and train for hours, days and even months, you will never feel the fear of failure.
Your fear has a lot to do with your self-confidence. People with low self-confidence usually are afraid to try things out because they are afraid that they may fail.
Hence, if you want to eliminate the fear of failure, learn to boost your self-confidence. And one easy way to do this is with preparation.
If you have done enough market research, study the business and the company, listen to experts and specialists, you will never feel the fear whenever you want to invest in the company’s stock.
If you are afraid to get on stage to speak, practice your speech over and over again. Spend your effort into the rehearsal, run the image in your head, feel the excitement and then deliver the speech in your head.
Practice and train until the fear of failure gone.
“Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.”
When you have practiced enough, you will know what to do, how to do it and your fear will disappear.
Face Your Fear And It Will Disappear
The first time you step on the diving board 10 meters above ground, you will feel the fear before you jump.
As you dive in to the pool, you quickly swim to the side of the pool to catch your breath. Well, you realize that you are still alive. Feeling thrilled because of the dive, you do it for the second time.
The more you jump and dive into the pool, the less fear you feel. By the fifth time you do it, you probably enjoy it so much that you will do a back flip.
The same goes for public speaking. The first time you do it, you feel the fear. Your legs are shaking and your voice is trembling.
As you practice and keep doing it, you will become better at it. You get yourself out of your comfort zone and it becomes part of you.
The only issue is that you will have to face your fear.
In the beginning, things will be difficult because you are not used to it and it is out of your comfort zone.
As you do it more and more, practice it day in and day out, you will eventually get rid of the fear and the fear will no longer be there.
Anyone can become better and successful in what they do, as long as they are willing to face their fear and do it anyway.
6. Visualize Success
By now, if you read through this article up to this point, I bet you will have understood that your fear of rejection is part of your imagination projected within your mind.
You feel the fear because you are visualizing things that go wrong inside your head.
There is a saying, “Nobody can make you feel angry without your consent”, and the same goes for fear. Nobody and nothing can make you feel fear without your consent.
If you fear public speaking, there is someone who is absolutely thrilled with it. If you fear investing your hard earned money, there is someone out there who loves doing it.
For everything that you fear, there is someone who feels excited doing it. If you fear to fail, there is someone who doesn’t look at failure that way and willing to do whatever it takes.
My point is that you are the one who created the fear. And you must be responsible for it.
And because you are the one who created your fear of failure, it simply means that you can remove it too, all because you are in control.
You can choose to visualize yourself winning and succeeding instead of failing and being defeated.
Your Mind Makes Your Imagination Real
When you watch a horror movie, you feel scared and suspense. Why is that so? The answer is simple, your mind makes it real.
Why do you think people watch adult movie? Their mind cannot differentiate what is imagined and what is real, hence, created the feelings and emotions within our body.
And this simply means that you can overcome your fear of failure by visualizing and imagining things that make you feel good.
Instead of seeing yourself feeling scared and tremble while giving a speech on the stage, picture yourself delivering an engaging and smooth speech on stage.
Instead of seeing yourself worrying and losing money with your investment, see yourself earning multifold and enjoy the profit you make from your investment. Think about what you should do with the extra money.
In fact, a lot of athletes are using this visualization technique to boost their performance in sports. Jack Nicklaus said:
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
Replace and Think Winning Thoughts
So, whenever your fear of failure or rejection or any fear surfaces, replace the thought. Switch your thoughts and think about something else.
Visualization is not a new technique, it has been around for years and recently, it becomes a hot topic where almost every personal development guru talks about.
Studies have proven that visualization works in changing our states. When you are feeling down and no motivation, you can utilize this technique to boost your mood and put you into a driven state. It does not mean just for overcoming the fear of failure.
When you visualize the winning thoughts, picture it vividly in your head. More importantly, feel the thoughts.
If you are imagining starting your own company, visualize your new office, think about how it looks like, feel the cool from the air conditioner, how does your new workplace smells like, touch the table and feel it as you walk into your office.
The more real you make it in your head, the better the feeling. And when you feel great, your fear of failure will automatically disappear.
7. Screw It and Just Do It
When you fear to fail, screw it and just go ahead and do it.
Even if you have failed, so what?
Failure is not the main culprit that stops people from moving forward. In fact, failure is essential because we have learned so much from our failures.
As human beings, we can only improve and get ahead by going through failure. Thomas Edison failed more than 10,000 attempts to produce a successful result. Michael Jordan said he missed 9,000 shots and that is why he is successful.
Going through failure is what making us grow. The only way we can expand our comfort zone is by going out of it. The only way to kill fear is to face it and do it.
Failure cannot stop you, unless you choose to.
Someday in the future, you will regret that you don’t do it because of your fear of failure. It is said that regret is worse than failure.
If you do it and fail, at least you have tried and do your best. If you choose to avoid it and run away from your fear, you will regret forever.
According to The Guardian, these are the top 5 regrets of the dying. You should avoid making these mistakes at all cost.
Don’t live a life full of regrets. Instead, be daring to take the action, make the move and just do it. If you failed, learn from it. Take it as a feedback and grow and become a better person.
So don’t fear failure.
Spend a couple of minutes and think about what is stopping you right now. What is your biggest fear? What is holding you back? What prevents you from moving forward? Why is it that you are still not living your dreams?
Once you have discovered the answer and know what is stopping you from living your best life ever, go ahead, make a decision and do it anyway.
Even if it scares you, do it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The Trade Offs
If you want to be successful, you must be willing to fail.
If you want to lose weight, you must be willing to sweat and exercise and watch what you put into your mouth.
If you want to get rich, you must be willing to take calculated risk and study before you make your move.
You have to understand that you must sacrifice and compromise for the success you want. If you want to live your dreams and be successful, be ready to face your fear.
It is who you become, your character and your habit that will determine your success. And if you want to grow your character and build success habits, you must be willing to face your fear and move out of your comfort zone.
Think about it. How did successful people like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Bill Gates able to produce such amazing result in their lives?
They are willing to take the risk. They are willing to face their fear. They are willing to work harder than ordinary people. They are willing to go the extra mile and believe in their vision.
As a result, they become a better person. They build the characters that will transform their lives.
And it all begins with their willingness to face their fear. Are you willing to do the same?