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Posted by in Goal Setting | 22 comments

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is one of the greatest fears people have. Fear of failure is closely related to fear of criticism and fear of rejection. Successful people overcome their fear of failure. Fear incapacitates unsuccessful people.

The Law of Feedback states: there is no failure; there is only feedback. Successful people look at mistakes as outcomes or results, not as failure. Unsuccessful people look at mistakes as permanent and personal.

Buckminster Fuller wrote, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

Most people self-limit themselves. Most people do not achieve a fraction of what they are capable of achieving because they are afraid to try because they are afraid they will fail.
Take these steps to overcome your fear of failure and move yourself forward to getting the result you desire:

Step One: Take action. Bold, decisive action. Do something scary. Fear of failure immobilizes you. To overcome this fear, you must act. When you act, act boldly.

Action gives you the power to change the circumstances or the situation. You must overcome the inertia by doing something. Dr. Robert Schuller asks, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” What could you achieve? Be brave and just do it. If it doesn’t work out the way you want, then do something else. But DO SOMETHING NOW.

Step Two: Persist. Successful people just don’t give up. They keep trying different approaches to achieving their outcomes until they finally get the results they want. Unsuccessful people try one thing that doesn’t work and then give up. Often people give up when they are on the threshold of succeeding.

Step Three: Don’t take failure personally. Failure is about behavior, outcomes, and results. Failure is not a personality characteristic. Although what you do may not give you the result you wanted, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Because you made a mistake, doesn’t mean that you are a failure.

Step Four: Do things differently. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else. There is an old saying, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” If you’re not getting the results you want, then you must do something different. Most people stop doing anything at all, and this guarantees they won’t be successful.

Step Five: Don’t be so hard on yourself. Hey, if nothing else, you know what doesn’t work. Failure is a judgement or evaluation of behavior. Look at failure as an event or a happening, not as a person.

Step Six: Treat the experience as an opportunity to learn. Think of failure as a learning experience. What did you learn from the experience that will help you in the future? How can you use the experience to improve yourself or your situation? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What was the mistake?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. How could it have been prevented?
  4. How can I do better next time?

Then use what you learned from the experience to do things differently so you get different results next time. Learn from the experience or ignore it.

Step Seven: Look for possible opportunities that result from the experience. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, says “every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” Look for the opportunity and the benefit.

Step Eight: Fail forward fast. Tom Peters, the management guru, says that in today’s business world, companies must fail forward fast. What he means is that the way we learn is by making mistakes. So if we want to learn at a faster pace, we must make mistakes at a faster pace. The key is that you must learn from the mistakes you make so you don’t repeat them.

Although we all make mistakes, fear of failure doesn’t have to cripple you. As self-help author Susan Jeffers says, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”


Terry Bragg runs a company called Peacemakers Training in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the author of the book 31 Days to High Self-Esteem. He works with organizations to create a workplace where people want to work, and with managers who want their people to work together better. If you want your organization or your people to have more energy, more trust, more respect, and more meaning, please contact him at:Peacemakers Training
5485 South Chaparral Drive
Murray, Utah 84123
Telephone: 801-288-9303
E-mail: terry@terrybragg.comÂ
Web Site: http://www.terrybragg.com

  • Agnel

    I WANT TO HEAR FROM A PERSON WHO TRIED ALL HIS LIFE HARD TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING WHICH HE DESIRED HOPE IS SOMEHTING I CAN’T ACCEPT AFTER BEING LOSER OR LOSING CONSISTENTLY I WANT TO HEAR FROM THOSE PEOPLE IS IT BETTER TO NOT HOPE OR HOPE FOR SOMETHING WHCIH I WOD NEVER GET (i don’t care even u people wod publish my e-mail )

  • Cathy

    aGNEL, FROM EXPERIENCE I TELL U THERE IS HOPE FOR U. THERE ARE THESE PROFESSIONAL PAPERS THAT ALMOST MADE ME LOOSE HOPE IN LIFE. I DID REPEAT THEM FOUR TIMES MEANING 2 YEARS. I ALMOST LOST MY REASON FOR BEING ALIVE BUT MY DAD ENCOURAGED ME NOT TO GIVE UP IF THAT IS WHAT I WANT. I KEPT TRYING AND FINALLY I SUCCEDED. PLEASE KEEP TRYING WITH PURPOSE IF THIS IS IS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. FINALLY U WILL SUCCEED. CALL UPON GODS INTERVENTION. TELL HIM YOUR DESIRES AND HE WILL GRANT THEM IF IT SO PLEASES HIM. IF YOU ARE AN ATHEIST CALL UPON THE POWER U BELIEVE IN. WISH U WELL.CATHY

  • Pingback: Have I been brave…enough? « Being Fully Present

  • http://twitter.com/Scheffee Scheffeé Wilson

    Read this article

  • Peter Palek

    Thanks for the encouragement…I am involve in a Network Marketing and fear of approaching rejection is something that is crippling me. But given the encouragement, I can now be able to go out there and face my fear and see what becomes of it. I am encourage by the fact that whatever, happens I will still have my life anyway.

  • Ptscram

    First of all, learn English, become a citizen, and/or go back to where you came from. Americans try extremely hard to have anything. Go to work asshole and earn it. We don’t need your whining ass here. One “gets” what one is willing to give. Shut you pissing mouth! Learn how to write and spell. Maybe that will help your sorry ass.

  • Heart

    Where did your family descend from? Obviously, it was not from American. We all came from some where. This kid is just on here looking for a little encouragement and that is what this article is about. So not sure why you are being such a downer. Clearly, you have your own set of fears and insecurities because you feel the need to put a random person down when you have no knowledge of the ethnic background or circumstance. Looks like you are the one in need of some advice…anger management.

  • E Randy

    Ah man, you should be ashamed of yourself for being such a FAILURE at being a positive helpful person.

  • Guest

    Special thanks to author. Fear of failure and rejection are two things that I need to over come. This article has inspired to take action regardless of results.

  • Cassie Culver

    i suffer with anxiety and most of this is because i worry what people think of me. If i know someone has seen or knows ive made a mistake i tear myself to shreads because of the fear of failure/rejection. Thankyou for guiding me in the right direction to overcome my fear.

  • Alleyezonme_3056

    wow this is really helpful im trying to overcome my own fears and well i know its not going to be easy but this really helped .

  • http://twitter.com/Fav0riteGirl Almira

    Overcoming the Fear of Failure — I need to overcome mine…

  • Groking it.

    My F. O. F. is rooted in childhood abuse where failure resulted in beatings. Much of this also involved taking tests. This led to a defense mechanism of not trying things. It’s taken a life time to identify my problem, internet sites like this are now helping me find solutions to overcome the problem. Thanks.

  • Nbarber

    ANYBODY THERE

  • Chastity_girl22

    i have a very new business i’m working hard at and it just seems to be going nowhere. sometimes i want to give up but i think….what if tomorrow the tables turn and i start making sales and so forth and so on? i get afraid to give up and at first, i was afraid to start the darn business! i’m a mess but i’m gonna be a giving it my all mess because i’ve got lofty goals in life.

  • Deborah

    Without hope, you have nothing.

  • Maroyeemike

    Im studying dentistry I have difficulty to focusing my lessons and also I always feels I cannot get good result. The biggest problem is manage of my time 

  • Dr Yagyawalkya

    thanks

  • Kushlam

    i dont know wht the hell is going on with me

  • prince

    Just read about this in overcoming fear of failure and have started working on overcoming that fear in me.thank you very much

  • cgainer

    In the Article it states that “there is no failure; there is only feedback ” well with the internet I send out resumes and hear back on 1% of my resumes. What type of feedback is that?

  • vcitr

    my fear is that iam afraid of hieghts

  • Marsha

    Many times I look at myself as a failure, but even with this I learn from my mistakes. Now I have steps that I can use to over come my fears. Now I know that I can be bold
    persist and use the other steps in my life and still like myself. These steps I will use to
    be successful and use criticism as helpful, instead of fear of rejection.