Has fear of failure kept you from achieving something you really want?
Often times this fear can stop us dead in our tracks or cause us to subconsciously self-sabotage so that we do not feel that failure as intensely.
In this blog we will show you how to deal with the fear of failure, also called atychiphobia, and set you up with 3 ways to overcome it.
As budding entrepreneurs, our hopes and dreams can seem huge. No-one wants to set themselves up to fail, and yet you will hear many stories of those who didn’t make it big in the online business world.
Why didn’t they achieve the heights we strive for? And more importantly, what can we learn from their mistakes when it comes to fear of failure preventing the forward momentum we all need to achieve and be successful.
To understand the causes of this fear we first need to define what failure actually is.
You would have all heard the quote in the image by Thomas A Edison on his attempts to invent the light bulb. Mr Edison was perhaps the master of overcoming the fear of failure.
He never doubted himself even when so many others did. How did he achieve this mindset?
Each of us has a different definition of what failure actually is. This is derived from our life experiences, belief systems and core values.
So what I consider to be a failure may well be your learning experience or catalyst for change.
What causes us to experience this fear is as varied as those who experience it.
Having failed even once, often times in a big way, previously can be the cause of ongoing fear. This trauma can manifest itself across other areas of your life. So say you did not do very well in an exam many years ago, this may carry on today and stop you from attempting other things which have nothing to do with being graded.
Often times childhood experiences where you may have been undermined or simply not supported by people in authority, such as parents or teachers, can trigger this fear.
Having a healthy understanding of the risks and feeling nervous about an activity is a normal occurrence for those who strive to do better, to be more, to have more. It becomes a problem when this fear prevents you from attempting something.
How you might experience it
The fear of failure can manifest in many different ways both physical and mental.
The top 5 symptoms people experience are:
- Low self-confidence or self-esteem: Always doubting yourself and participating in negative self-talk. Do you find yourself saying either to yourself or others “I won’t be able to do it” or “I am not smart enough, good enough, experienced enough to do it”.
- Self-sabotage: Often seen as procrastination or flitting from one project to another but experiencing an inability to follow through and actually complete anything
- Physical Symptoms: often times anxiety caused by fear of failure will cause physical symptoms such as migraines, upset stomach, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms where you just feel a bit under the weather
- Perfectionism: Sometimes seen along with the self-sabotage where you do not finish tasks on time because you have re-worked them or simply can’t bring yourself to finish because it isn’t just right.
- A reluctance to put yourself forward for difficult tasks or new experiences
3 Ways to overcome your fears
Yeah that’s all well and good you might be thinking, I do have some of those symptoms Heidi but what can I do about it. I do want to be successful and I don’t want this fear of failure to hold me back.
Let’s give you 3 tried and tested ways to overcome your fears.
#1 – View It As a Challenge
We all have stresses in our lives. Some are considered to be positive stressors, they are what get you moving in the morning because you see them as having a positive outcome. Negative stressors are those things which keep you in bed because you feel you may not compete them well enough and there will be negative outcomes.
Change your mindset on those negative stressors to view them as challenges, not threats. You do this by thinking about the same or similar challenges that you have faced and done well at in the past.
So if you are starting an online business for the first time you may not have anything directly to relate to this, but have you started a new job in the past? Think back to your first day, did it go well? Were you able to complete the tasks given to you? Did you do them well in fact?
This gives you a basis for expecting that the new business will go well, you have an example of starting something new which did go well and proves that you are capable of starting and achieving new ventures.
Find as many related past activities as you can and think them through. Experience how this creates a calming effect both physically and mentally so that when you do contemplate the new online business you have a feeling of achieving past challenges and being successful
#2 – Visualisation
Learning the techniques for accurate visualisation is not only beneficial in overcoming fears but it will also improve your success moving forward.
Athletes for many years have been using visualisation to improve their performance and you can do the same. No your not going to run a marathon (although if this is one of your goals then maybe you will) but this works for everyone, not just athletes.
I find it easiest to start in a quiet space, sitting comfortably or laying down. I often do my visualisations first thing in the morning before I get out of bed. Set your alarm for 10 – 15 minutes earlier than you need to get up to give you enough uninterrupted time.
Clear your mind and imagine a blank chalkboard in front of you. Count back from 100 to 0, drawing with your mind’s eye each number on the chalkboard. I find by drawing the number on the out breath, you can visualise rubbing it off with the in breath so your board is clear and ready for your next breath.
Once you get to 0 you will be completely relaxed and focused on the chalkboard.
Imagine yourself being successful at whatever it is you fear. We will stick with affiliate marketing as an example.
Let’s say you are worried that you can’t build a website which will be good enough to be profitable.
Use Your Senses.
Imagine yourself sitting at your workstation looking at your laptop screen and seeing the most beautiful, well laid out website you have ever seen on the screen in front of you.
Acknowledge to yourself that this is YOUR website that you have built.
Think about all your senses – what can you see, hear, feel, taste and touch as you look at the screen.
How does it make you feel – excited, happy, content? You need to really immerse yourself in the feeling and sensations.
Be the Movie Star
This is your movie and you must be the leading character, you are the number one star. To be effective you need to visualise yourself sitting at the laptop not someone else. You need to be the one doing the task and experiencing the success for visualisation to be effective.
Practice Makes Perfect
You may find your thoughts wandering initially while you try to practice visualisation. Do not scold yourself if this happens, simply acknowledge the thought and bring yourself back to the movie on your screen. The more you practice this the easier it gets. I can now count back from 10 and be in a relaxed enough start to start rolling whatever movie I am playing of my success at the time.
If you commit to doing this every morning for 30 days it will become a lifelong habit and you will be amazed at what you can achieve and how much more capable you feel as you start each day knowing that you can do whatever it is you are visualising.
#3 – Break it down into baby steps
Staying with our website fear let’s tackle breaking it down into manageable bite-size pieces. Often times if you can reduce the larger project into more manageable chunks which you do not fear you can work your way to the final larger fear.
It’s a bit like sneaking up on it so you don’t frighten yourself away!
To build a website you might be able to chunk it down as follows:
- Arrange hosting
- Decide on a niche
- Decide on a theme
- Make a plan for the navigation and layout of the site
- Decide on a domain name and website title
- Decide on the colours and style of your site
You might have a list of say 10 things that you need to do to get the website up and running, but each one of those micro-goals is manageable.
Don’t think about how many tasks there are to do or the bigger picture end goal. Simply concentrate on each micro-goal, one at a time, and work through each one ensuring it is finished before you move onto the next.
This gives you some small wins and you start to feel more confident and successful as each task is completed. It also keeps you moving forward towards the end goal which as you achieve more cements in your mind that you can achieve the success you seek.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
We all experience failure at various stages of our online careers. Acknowledge to yourself that these are not failures they are learning experiences and you will be a much more educated and well-rounded affiliate marketer for having had those experiences.
Look forward to the challenges that lay ahead in this next chapter in your life as a blogger.
Embrace them and use the 3 ways to overcome the fear of failure so that fear doesn’t prevent you from living the life you deserve.
If you have any questions about how to deal with the fear of failure or need further guidance on putting the 3 ways to overcome it into practice in your life leave me a comment below and we can have a chat.
As always if you feel someone else could benefit from this blog hit the share buttons on the side of the page and let’s get ourselves and our colleagues moving forward fear free.