How to Overcome Fear of Failure in 5 Steps
So there’s one thing that I can say about myself for certain and it’s that I will try literally ANY random thing that interests me. I'm very independent and I don't care much about what other people think, so if I'm interested in it enough, I will try it at least once.
I once had a strong interest in theater and I had a dream of being on Broadway, and I considered pursuing it when I graduated from college, so I was in a local play to beef up my acting chops, while in college (shout out to the Tuskegee Repertoire Theater!). I even rode a Greyhound bus (broke college thug life) to Chicago from Tuskegee, Alabama to audition for theater grad schools. But here’s the truth about that…I did a terrible job on my auditions. I was SO unprepared and I didn't know any better at the time, as a marketing major who was dabbling in theater on the side. But the important thing is that I TRIED. I could go on and on with the random interests that I dabbled in.
I say all this to say that my main goal in life is to have no regrets, so I won’t grow old with any “what ifs.” I can't remember where I first read about this concept, but what I've learned is that life is basically an EXPERIMENT. It's trial and error.
We have the freedom to choose what we vibe with and to pursue what we like. Isn’t it AMAZING? We live in the most free and technologically-enabled American society to date. It’s not do or die every time you want to try out something new. Below, I listed some of the principles that have helped push me to live life to the fullest and to overcome fear of failure.
1. Life is serious, but it’s not that serious.
Life, to me, is something that's fragile and literally a once in a lifetime experience that will go on for an unknown number of years for each of us. This means that none of us know when our books will come to a close for our lives on this earth. Many of us often waste WAY too much of our lives second-guessing ourselves, going back and forth in our heads about what we should or shouldn't do, or worrying about what other people think. Most things are simply not that serious. Just do it.
2. Don’t allow fear of failure to keep you trapped because you’re overthinking.
Instead of diving in and going after what we want, many of us can get paralyzed in irrational fear, allowing every worst case scenario to run on repeat through our minds. But what has ever been done that’s been noteworthy or memorable while someone was sitting around, allowing fear of failure to run through his/her mind? Nothing.
YOU are the only one who can pursue your interests. No one is going to do it for you and you don't need validation from anyone. You have to push through that fear and do it anyway. It’s better to deal with fear for a little while, than regret for years to come.
3. Life is an opportunity for us to live in the best way that we can while we’re here, maximizing all the potential that God has blessed us with.
We all have been given our unique skillsets and interests for a purpose. If we don't ever tap into them, use them, and develop them, we’re not only doing ourselves a disservice, we’re doing a disservice to others by not sharing those skills and talents. We’d even be doing a disservice to God, by not using what we've been given.
4. There’s no way you can even identify what it is that you like or don’t like just by thinking about it.
So many people wait and wait for this passion to suddenly strike them, but it never happens, and they continue floating through life, going through the motions. The little things that interest you and spark your curiosity are there for a reason. If you're curious about glass blowing, sign up for a glass blowing class. If you want to know more about wine, try becoming a wine connoisseur. If you want to learn about how to decorate your home like a HGTV pro, look up some interior design resources.
Whatever it is, start small with learning more about it, give it a try if you feel compelled to, and if you don’t like it, just stop. It’s not the end of the world. Also keep in mind that patience and consistency are key when starting something new, so try not to get discouraged as you are in the learning phase. We all have to start somewhere, and NO ONE starts at the top.
5. Give yourself permission to view exploring your interests as experiments.
I don't believe in failures in life. I just believe that, with each thing you try, you're moving closer and closer to your authentic self to identify your passions and purpose. If you try something and you aren't successful at it, that's fine. It was simply an experiment, so figure out what you learned from the situation and move on to the next experiment! The fear of failure starts to melt away when you take on this mindset.
What is something you've been wanting to try? What's stopping you from doing it? Is it fear of failure, worrying about what others may think, or the time it will take to accomplish it? Time will pass anyway, so it's important to remember that you might as well spend it pursuing what you love, instead of letting yourself get stuck in fear due to past circumstances or limiting mindsets.
What are some things that you've been wanting to do? What's stopping you from doing it? Please share in the comments below so we can offer you some encouragement! Thanks for reading!