Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to success. It stops you from moving forward, from realising your full potential and from pursuing your dream, your purpose. Purpose is part of who you are, however it’s still possible to supress it with fear.
Often failure is seen as weak, but could failure be not trying? How will you know success if you don’t at least try? I love this quote by Paulo Coelho as it’s extremely poignant.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve, the fear of failure.”
This fear of failure can hold you back from success and achieving your dreams. When I left my marriage of ten years, my biggest fear was of the unknown future ahead. How could I have possibly known what the future would hold? I felt the need for change in my heart and I decided to do something about it. To reach for the stars you have to let go of fear. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be writing my third book. Reality has far surpassed my expectation of my future. The same is possible for you.
How your beliefs affect fear
Fear is an emotion which drives towards action. This action can be positively productive and help you grow and develop, or as in many cases it can cause you to stop and do nothing. At this juncture, the ego takes over the heart in decision making.
The ego is a type of personality or identity that is made up by your mind. Within this personality are a set of beliefs. Beliefs are thoughts about ourselves, our gifts, our talents, our strengths and weaknesses. As such it creates a persona about who you are, which is not necessarily true. The ego loves fear and is in its element when in play, thus bringing drama, crisis, insecurity and doubt into your life. These beliefs can be formed in childhood years, or they can be developed in the present.
An example of an ego driven belief is “if I try I will fail.” This belief could be translated into many things such as; I’m not talented, I’m unlovable, I don’t have any value, I’m not supposed to try, it’s not my place to successful, I don’t deserve success. Each time you acknowledge an ego driven belief you are making it stronger. A confident statement would be I am deserving of success, meaning that you believe you have a worth, you have balance, you are lovable and you deserve abundance. This positive belief comes from the heart. The heart absolutely believes in you, it’s just that it’s voice is softer than the ego and needs nurturing. Both the ego and confidence are muscles, they can be strengthened with daily dedication.
There is a choice between believing in the ego’s negative beliefs or those from your heart, the positive. Overcoming negative beliefs is the foundation to building confidence against the fear of failure.
Fear is always going to be with us and it will try to introduce negative beliefs. It’s part of our human nature, however it’s within our gift to understand fear and determine how we feel. There is a decision to be made when you are aware that fear and negative beliefs are in play:
Indulge the fear, limit yourself and never reach your true full potential. Believe in failure.
Understand what the fear really is and why it’s there, embrace it, be positive. Believe that you have the ability to succeed.
Option two is where self-growth and development happens. This is where you allow yourself to become your authentic-self, which is the best version of you that you can possibly be.
Using Fear to Grow
I recognise that if I’m not afraid, I’m not truly living, I’m not pushing myself forward. Have you ever noticed how happy and energised you are after taking a challenge head on that you were afraid of and actually doing it? The next time it’s easier, the fear is somewhat less apparent and you feel more comfortable.
By accepting fear is there, by rationalising it and embracing it you can find yourself with a new curiosity, an appetite to try new things. This leads to personal growth and increased confidence.
When I started my journey as a confidence coach I wanted to share my personality with others, I wanted people to get to know me and my style. The best way of achieving this was through creating videos. I’d never created a video before and I was afraid. I was afraid of how I’d come across, of what would people think? I wasn’t a video professional so how could I even consider this?
I sat back and thought about these genuine fears and I asked myself; if I don’t create them how will I feel? Then I turned it around, if I actually did create a video that I was comfortable with how would I feel? The feeling of the achievement outweighed my disappointment of not creating one.
As a consequence, I decided to record a video. Even though I was willing I still worried about what would people think? I identified my negative belief and talked myself through the fear:
Negative belief: If I release a video on social media I will come across as ridiculous.
- Is my fear indeed true and real?
- What’s the worst possible outcome if I do this?
- Can I deal with the worst possible outcome?
- What could I do to lessen the worst possible outcome?
- How will I feel if I don’t take this chance and try?
- How would I feel if the outcome was successful?
I created my first video how to overcome the fear – what if I fail in the pursuit of purpose. I’ve created more since that time. Making videos is now part of what I do to educate people about being the best person they can. It allows me now only to share advise but also to present myself and my personality. This wouldn’t be the case if I hadn’t embraced my fear and taken the chance to see what the outcome would be.
Fear is a state of mind and can be managed. To do this you must first recognise that fear is in play and clarify what your particular belief is. Once you have the clarity, you can ask yourself the six questions. Take some undisturbed quiet time to reflect on the questions. Sometimes we just need to simply tune into our hearts, understand what it is we want to achieve, trust ourselves and take that chance!
Choose to believe in you and your gifts. When passion ignites, there is no failure only learning and growth. Take a chance on you and find the courage and confidence to face your fears and embrace a magical future being the very best version of you.
Danielle Drozd is a Confidence Coach. After 14-years in the Blue Chip corporate world, Danielle decided to change her life in order to achieve authentic success. Her life changing journey, in her debut book I Have a Dream, ignited a desire to share her knowledge, empower others to be the best version of themselves. Additional resources can be found at www.danielledrozd.com