Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to attempt it at all? Or has a fear of failure meant that you subconsciously sabotage your own efforts to avoid the possibility of failing? Has the fear of failure kept you from pursuing your vision?

Don’t listen to the lies

The fear of failure distracts us with a critical voice that says things like, “I’ll never succeed at living my dreams, so why try?” “People will laugh or talk about me.” Or “I am a failure.” The fear of failure convinces you to listen to those negative voices and lead a smaller life.

If you continue to listen to and believe the lies that the fear of failure presents, you will miss accomplishing some great things. If you are listening to the hindering voice of the fear of failure, then it is time to reject it. You don’t have to live another day in bondage to it. You don’t have to put your dreams on hold because of it. You can live with the assurance that, even through failure, success is still possible.

Overcoming the grip of the fear of failure is not going to be easy. The lure of staying where you are is powerful. Proceeding forward presents danger. It requires doing something you have never done before, going in a different direction, and moving without all the answers.

The negative thoughts of fear will ring loud like a rock band at a concert. Every time you attempt to move forward, the decibels of the fear of failure increase. The closer you move toward overcoming the fear of failure, the more complacency and stagnation will pull you back.

Many people limit themselves and do not achieve a fraction of what they are capable of achieving because they fear failure. You do not have to spend another second, minute, hour, day, week, month or year held hostage by the fear of failure. Today, you can experience everything that awaits you. Take a leap of faith. Jump off the edge and live out your dreams even in the face of fear.

If you are listening to the hindering voice of the fear of failure, it is time to reject it. You don’t have to live another day in bondage. You don’t have to put your vision on hold because you fear failure. You can live with the assurance that, even through failure, success is still possible.

Most people limit themselves and do not achieve a fraction of what they are capable of achieving because they fear failure. The eight steps below will help you face the fear of failure and win.

Eight Steps

1.Identify past failures. Make a list of your past failures. This is difficult, but it helps you confront your past failures in a real way. You cannot change what happened in the past, but you can learn and grow from it.

If you do not honestly identify your past failures and their causes, the chances of moving forward will be limited. You will stumble through life and fumble opportunities for success if you keep repeating the same mistakes. When you take the time to seriously identify your failures and their causes, you position yourself for success.

2. Understand that failure happens. Thomas Edison, one of the world’s greatest inventors, understood that failure happens. He said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Even the best leaders in the world have gone through several instances of failure. Failing is a part of life. When failure happens, identify the root cause, deal with it and move on.

3. Learn from past failures. The best thing about a past failure is that it gives you an opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes and prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Stop holding on to what happened yesterday. Let it go. Today is a new day and you have to approach life differently. Yesterday’s failures are where they are: in the past. Stop spending time holding on to something that is gone. Learn from the experience and do things differently so you get different results the next time.

4. Leave your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone takes courage, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Taking baby steps until you feel comfortable leaving your comfort zone is important. The desire to remain in your comfort zone is natural and because of that instinctive need, we jump on the someday bandwagon and push our goals and dreams to the side until another day.

Many people intend to do things differently. They talk and dream about making changes, but unfortunately nothing ever happens. Tomorrow becomes next week, which soon leads to next year. Then next year leads to five years, ten years then twenty years, until eventually, the life you desired to live becomes a distant memory. You can’t afford to fall into the trap of “someday” because it may never come.

5. Count the Cost. There is a cost for not following your dreams. You don’t know what is possible until you move forward with your dreams. You could be missing a million-dollar business, a full athletic or academic scholarship, a chance to travel the world and get paid, or an opportunity to bless your family. Are you willing to pay the price?

6. Set a goal. A goal helps you define where you desire to go in life. Without a goal, you have no direction to your destination. Start by setting one to two goals. These goals should challenge you, but not overwhelm you so that you give up.

Taking small steps to achieve one to two goals sets you up for “timely wins” that will help boost your confidence. They will give you the motivation to keep moving forward and prevent you from overextending yourself by focusing on too many goals.

7. Visualize success. Think of a situation in which you fear failure. Visualize yourself encountering an obstacle and allow yourself to feel the fear. Then visualize yourself moving forward. Next, spend a few minutes planning how to overcome the obstacles that will challenge your vision.

Visualizing your success is not magic. You will have to put the work in to make your vision a reality. Get in the habit every day of seeing yourself overcoming the fear of failure and living out your unique vision. What visualizing does for you and how it makes you feel will change what you speak and how you act.

8. Do it afraid. The fear of failure immobilizes you. To overcome this fear, you must act. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Don’t keep waiting to do it tomorrow. Don’t wait for the fear to totally go away.

You must act now because if you do not, you allow fear to win. I know it is scary, but do it anyway. I know there is the possibility of failure, but walk by faith in spite of the doubts. It is time to be courageous and just do it. If it doesn’t work out the way you anticipated, then do something different. But the key is to do something now.

“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action
will.” W. Clement Stone

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  • Bernard K. Haynes

    Author, Speaker and Coach

    Lead to Impact, LLC

    I am the CEO of Lead to Impact (www.leadtoimpact.com) and I help people lead the way they were meant to lead. I specialize in training, coaching and consulting individuals and organizations in personal growth and leadership development.