Part 1 in this 2 part series is about how I tackled a life-long fear of failure in order to see one of my dreams come true. The feeling of success and accomplishment was more than I could put into words. I hope you will go back and read part 1 as well.
What is it that you are afraid of? What could you accomplish without that fear? What does your fear stop you from doing? Are you at a stand still because you are afraid of either success or failure?
The only reason one person has a fear of failure while someone standing beside them does not share the same fear is because of what they say to themselves. Are you afraid of roller coasters? If you are, what is the reason? I used to have a fear of falling out of the seats. If you realize what you are actually afraid of, you have the power to remove that fear. Many have conquered that fear by closing their eyes and braving the adventure, only to step off the coaster and scream, “Let’s do that again!”
Do you feel stuck in your job? Do you feel you will never get any further in your career than where you are right now? Is it affecting your overall mood and behavior? It doesn’t have to. There is truly nothing stopping you from looking elsewhere. Don’t use excuses such as, “The economy is bad; there’s nothing out there,” “I don’t have a degree,” etc. People are hired daily in every profession, even without a degree. My husband is working in the high paying field of computer software design. He decided it was what he wanted and would love to do. He went out, purchased programming books and taught himself several different computer programming languages and was awarded the job based on the knowledge he was able to display and convey to the interviewer. Believe it can be you and take action toward making it happen with whatever it is that makes you happy. Don’t stop trying if you do not get the first job you interview for or if you do not reach your goal right away. I’m obviously not suggesting that you quit the job you have if you are unhappy. What I’m saying is that you could start your quest for happiness in another job or career by taking steps toward getting a different job while making money with the job you currently have. You have the power to conquer your fear.
Some fears are rational. They keep us safe from doing things that would otherwise injure us. They keep us alert as we walk alone to our car in a poorly lit parking lot. That same fear allows us to stay alert and ready to face a dangerous situation.
The type of fear I am addressing here is irrational fear. The emotions that stop you from experiencing something because you are afraid of how it will make you feel. These feelings start in the mind. We speak them to ourselves silently, over and over. We believe our subconscious and in order to protect ourselves we avoid the very thing, that if we just did it, could enable us to conquer that fear and lead to an amazing number of possibilities.
Ways of Acquiring Fear
There are many types of fear and many ways we acquire them. We are not born with it, it is something we learn and hold onto as we experience life. Recognizing and coming to terms with this can help you evaluate if your fear is even valid and possibly help you move past it.
Fears Adopted from Others – Some fears are adopted from the fears our parents, siblings or relatives had and some are adopted when we read about the failures, emotional pain or injuries acquired by others. Those fears are not your own and it is important to recognize that. What happened to other people may never happen to you. It is also never possible to know the exact experiences of another person that have created that fear.
Fears Based on Lies – Fear can be based on lies. I remember when I was young someone told me that dragonflies had the ability to sew your mouth closed and they knew someone it happened to. I believed that lie and was, for the longest time, extremely scared of dragonflies.Friends and acquaintances may lie to us as well and tell us that what we have set out to accomplish is a goal that is unobtainable at our skill level. Again, always a lie. You have the power to achieve whatever you set your mind to as long as you believe.
Fear Through Experience – There are fears that we have discovered through our own experiences. Perhaps we made a judgment based on one event or a series of events and assumed that the same results would happen again if we tried. Success may be lurking around the corner but we would never find it without lack of fear.Fear can also manifest when we experience an event and determine that the feeling derived from it is worse than the benefits the event’s possible positives could have brought you. For instance, imagine trying to accomplish something that you’ve always wanted to do but every time you try you don’t reach your goal. Personal rejection may set in or fear of failure. You may determine that the negative feelings you receive from that are too much for you to handle.
It is important to decipher for ourselves what fears are rational and which are not.
What if you kept trying? What if you didn’t listen to that fear? What if you decided not to let yourself feel it? What if you could overcome it? How far could you go?
If Thomas Edison had feared failure he would have never have invented the light bulb. His “failures” were numbered at over 10,000. If he had believed he was a failure it may have stopped him. Instead, after the invention finally worked he stated that he had never actually failed, he had only discovered all the ways the light bulb would not work. What a brilliant perception! If he had not felt that way, we may still be sitting in the dark. One of Thomas Edison’s famous quotes was, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Identify Your Fear’s Origin and Validity – Identify one of your fears that is stopping you from doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Evaluate that fear and question whether or not it stems from your past and if it’s even a valid fear in your present. Your fear may be outdated and no longer serving its purpose, in which case you need to eliminate it and move on to reach that goal that you are destined to accomplish.
Change Your Perception – Fear is a matter of perception. By changing your perception, the way you look at the situation, you may find that fear is not necessary, in fact, you may see how it is holding you back.Imagine yourself accomplishing your goal and the triumph you would feel when you succeeded. It would outweigh any feelings of failure and fear of accomplishment and enable you to push yourself farther to let you accomplish more by setting new goals. Knowing you accomplished the first mission, failing along the way, you would realize that your next failure is only a stepping block to feeling that triumph again when you meet or exceed the next objective. This concept can basically be applied to any type of goal; weight loss, exercise, getting a job you desperately desire, starting a new money-making hobby or venture, finishing a marathon, the list goes on.If someone else has accomplished it, so can you. It may require more effort than that person but if someone has done it, it can be done again. It just comes down to how badly you want it, whether you are willing to believe in yourself and how much effort you are willing to put into it.
A Positive Cancels a Negative – Change what you are saying to yourself. For instance, if you are telling yourself that you are not good enough, state that you are. If you hear yourself saying that you are not smart enough, stop believing that and do some research if necessary to educate yourself on the subject. Are you afraid of failure? You must discard all negative thoughts associated with the fear and decide that whatever someone else tells you, only you can decide what to believe. Believe you can!Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently.”
- Use Affirmations, Believe in Yourself – If you want to overcome your fear you must decide that you believe in yourself. This often takes more work than just reading an article. This work takes time. You must focus your energy on and spend a great deal of time in that belief state in order to make this happen. Using affirmations, written statements of belief and putting them where you can read them aloud twice daily will set you in the right direction for this.
Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying a fulfilled life and accomplishing your dreams. Discover what is stopping you or choose not to think about the fear. Take action and move forward. Adopt a new motto, “Giving up is not an option. I want this and will accomplish it not matter how many times I have to try without success.” You will amaze yourself with the end results. You must believe in the strength inside you. Do not believe the opinions of others who doubt you. They will be the first ones praising you silently when you succeed.
If you feel this has or will help you. Please feel free to print it out and post it somewhere for future reference.
What action will you take now that you have the tools above to conquer your fear? What are some goals you will set now that you know you can accomplish your dreams? Please share below.