How do we overcome the fear of failure?

Failure can feel very discouraging, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Fear of failure is debilitating and can damage our chances of achieving success, so it’s crucial that we fight it at every opportunity.

Just consider pioneering American aviator Amelia Earhart’s story. When attempting to fly around the equator, she crashed her plane on takeoff. Despite this, she wasn’t discouraged and pushed on with her flying career. She eventually achieved no less than six world records, including that of the first solo female pilot to fly across the Atlantic.

We can also take heart in the fact that we overcome our fear of failure in countless daily activities. Driving a car, for instance, is a dangerous activity, but we do it anyway. In fact, choosing to cycle or stay at home out of fear of having a car crash might even put you at greater risk: a total of 15 and 17 percent of accidents resulting in injuries are linked to cycling and home-based activities, respectively.

Our professional lives also provide opportunities to overcome our fear of failure and act. Suggesting a daring strategy or proposing to take on more responsibility are great ways to confront your fear of failure and earn the respect of your team, too.

Refusing to take risks, on the other hand, is more likely to leave your team members feeling like you’re, at best, unambitious, and at worst, lazy. Taking risks inevitably leads to failure some of the time, but by embracing this, you’ll be more likely to win big in the long run.

Learning to embrace and overcome failure opens up new opportunities for success. But to be able to use these opportunities, you’ll need to practice three things: goal-setting, people skills and a positive mindset.

American writer Don Marquis noted that while most people don’t truly know what they want, they’re still willing to sweat blood to get it. The trick to success is channeling this desire for change into well-defined objectives. So, rather than simply complaining that you’re tired of working, set goals that’ll allow you to create a better lifestyle. For example, you could invest in property to create a passive income that’ll allow you to retire sooner.

Along with goal-setting, outstanding people skills can carry you to success. Today, most jobs, projects and goals can only be achieved by mobilizing stakeholders, investors, teams and employees. By spending time working on your communication, negotiation and conversational skills, you’ll be better able to win the support of your peers and open up new opportunities for achieving your ambitions.

Finally, maintaining a positive mindset gives you an immediate advantage. Learning to see the value in even the most trying of experiences can be the difference between giving up and persevering. American author W. Clement Stone once told the story of a girl who, after moving across America to join her husband, became dissatisfied with her new life.

In a letter written by her mother, the girl learned of an old anecdote about two men in prison. When one looked up from the prison bars, he saw mud. When the other looked up, he saw stars. The girl realized that while she was unable to change her situation in life, she was able to change her attitude toward it. By adopting a positive outlook, she learned to discover new opportunities that her dissatisfaction had blinded her to.

Failure is inevitable, but it can also be beneficial. From revealing new ideas and pushing us to become our best, to helping us learn about our weaknesses, experiences of failure provide us with valuable opportunities. Along with clear goal-setting and a positive mindset, embracing failure is key to unlocking success.

To further do so, try to seek out stories of failure that inspire you. Is there an entrepreneur, leader or dreamer that inspires you, from the past or present? Though their successes might be what makes them a role model to you, try spending some time researching their lives to find out more about their failed ideas as well. Not only will this give you a deeper understanding of their successes, their missteps might also offer an inspiring lesson or two.

Stay positive and carry on.

Check out my related post: How to overcome your greatest fear?

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