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Overcoming Fear of Failure
Don’t Look Down

Overcoming Fear of Failure

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" 

Vincent van Gogh

Are you stuck in place and afraid to act because you are afraid you might fail? 

If so, you aren’t alone!

Most of us at some time find ourselves immobilized by the fear of failure, especially when the possibility of failure is strong or the consequences of failing are severe. It takes strength and will power to move forward. We might fail, but if we take no action, we can’t succeed. 

Here are some tools to help overcome a fear of failure, so you can move toward success.

Belief Makes a Difference

Inventor Thomas Edison didn’t call himself a failure when the 100th attempt to create a light bulb failed, or when the 1000th attempt failed. Let’s face it, many of us would have chucked the idea after a few dozen failures! How did Edison keep going? He didn’t view each attempt as a failure; he saw it as feedback that showed him what wouldn’t work.

Here are some other famous people who didn’t take failure to heart and went on to succeed:

  • J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times before a publisher picked it up.
  • Henry Ford went broke five times before founding Ford Motor Company.
  • Actor Harrison Ford was told he would never make it as an actor.
  • Vincent Van Gogh completed more than 800 known works in his lifetime and sold only one—to a friend.

Each of these people believed in their abilities and talent and refused to stop despite what some would have labeled as “failure.” Imagine what our world would be like if they had stopped trying. 

Learn to Reframe

Stop seeing failure if you don't succeed and refuse to consider the situation unbeatable. Instead, reframe it. When you reframe, you take a different perspective on the situation. When you change the frame around a painting, it changes how you view the painting. Ask yourself what this situation can teach you. Maybe you need to make a course correction, try something different, get help, and so on. 

Do a Risk Assessment

What is the worse case scenario if you don’t succeed? Be objective! Don’t exaggerate. Perform some real due diligence and research to uncover the worst result that might happen. Now, assess the likelihood of this happening, decide what steps you can take to mitigate or even eliminate this likelihood, and take action. 

What do you think went through the mind of NASA employees when JFK charged them to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade? There were risks galore, including the loss of life. Risks can be controlled, and when you recognize and face them, you can perform what initially seems like a miracle. 

Success does not come by avoiding failure. It comes from looking failure in the face and facing it down! It only becomes “failure” when it stops you and keeps you stuck in place.  

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." 

Babe Ruth