Conquer Your Fear of Failure

Here’s a question for you: “What trait or mindset do you think makes people truly self-confident and have a positive self-worth?” The answer is: “These people have overcome their fear of failure.”

Truly confident people—from business leaders to politicians, from teachers to lawyers—do not let the possibility of failure intimidate them. Of course, they do fail at times. But they don’t alter their actions because of this possibility.

Unfortunately, many people today don’t try to win; rather, they try not to lose. They don’t try to succeed; they try desperately not to fail. That is a sure route to nowhere. Personally, I’d rather be going somewhere, even if I fail to get there, than assuredly going nowhere. Remember the old mantra: “It’s better to try and fail than not try and succeed.”

Focus on Success, Not on Failure

People who focus on success realize that with the risk goes the reward.

Just for a moment, think of some challenge you have had in your life. If you faced it and worked through it, as you look back—although you may not want to repeat the experience—chances are that you are better for the adversity. A smooth sea never made a good sailor.

One of the most common comments I receive from my seminars, and something I have written extensively about, is the concept that you cannot learn and be perfect at the same time. In other words, when we remove the fear of failure, we free ourselves to innovate, to explore, to take a different direction, and to experiment. There is nothing humiliating about failure since it is seldom fatal. If you don’t believe that, I suggest you read the biographies of Lincoln, Edison, or Jackie Robinson, to name a few.

Tip: To remove the fear of failure, ask yourself these two questions when you are about to take chance: 1) What is the worst that can happen? And 2) Can I live with that outcome?