“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” said Wayne Gretzky, one of the most successful Ice Hockey players of all time.

It’s easy to place successful people on a pedestal, and assume they have ‘something’ you don’t. They are lucky, or better, or given more opportunities at a young age. They have natural ability or a gift the majority of the population do not possess.

At times this is the case, and the truth is some people have greater odds than others. But something nobody gets excused from is “fear”.

We all have it. Every single person on this planet wakes up each day, in battle against fear.

You cannot avoid it, no matter how much money, fame, or authority you may have.

You will never escape it, but that isn’t to say you cannot overcome it.

Fear is not an excuse for failure

Another hard truth we all must face up to is that we fail… we make mistakes… we fall short.

Michael Jordan lost the game at the buzzer on 26 occasions…

Before it became one of the most celebrated films of all time, ‘Gone with the Wind’ was a novel that got rejected by 38 publishers.

There are countless stories about people failing, only to bounce back stronger than ever. They feared. They hurt. They continue to battle such fear to this day, but they overcome it (and so can you).

It isn’t easy, but nothing good in life is. So the next time you feel down and unable to turn it around, think of these four rich, wealthy, successful individuals who overcome fear and failure.

If they can, so can you.

J.K Rowling: 12 publishers rejected Harry Potter…

It’s hard to imagine a world without Harry Potter, but it’s said up to 12 publishers rejected JK Rowling’s now infamous manuscript. They rejected her. They said no.

They weren’t to know it would become a multi-billion success story. Neither was JK Rowling, who had nothing but her own belief to cling to.

Yet cling she did, pinning her first rejection letter on the kitchen wall as a means of motivation. She feared failure like the rest of us, but she didn’t stop after one rejection… two… five… ten…

She kept going, like all successful people do.

(and for the millions of ‘Potter’ fans out there, it’s a good job she did) 

Jaime Masters: nearly quit her blog ‘just’ before her big break…

Today, Jamie Masters heads-up ‘The Eventual Millionaire’ empire, host of the popular podcast, and a respected online authority figure who continues to grow each year.

Yet when I interviewed her for my book (The Successful Mistake), she told me about a time she nearly ‘quit’ blogging — before she created her podcast, and before she had chance to build her successful career.

Why? Because she didn’t build enough traction, and she feared she wasn’t good enough. She didn’t know what stood around the corner, and the fear of failure grew each day.

Yet she persisted, and her persistence paid off because it lead to one win after another.

This made her realise how powerful fear can be, and that although it can hold you back, it can also push you to do your best work. You cannot remove fear, but you can harness it and use it to your advantage.

Beate Chelette: from $135,000 in debt to a multimillion dollar deal with Bill Gates

When I listened to Beate Chelette tell Srinivas Rao how her past failures lead to her current success, I couldn’t help but lose myself in her inspiring tones.

She is now the ‘Growth Architect’ who helps businesswomen build and grow successful companies. Yet there was a time she found herself in $135,000 in debt, a single mother who couldn’t help but compare herself to others.

Did she have what it takes to be both a good mother and a good businesswoman?

She had no idea. Her fear was real, but as too was her commitment to success (for her and her family). So she kept going, kept her focus, and bit-by-bit she turned fear and failure into glorious success.

Andy Murphy: from a friend’s couch to a world-renowned expert…

I recently spoke to Andy Murphy, the world renowned NLP expert, and mindset coach to some of the planet’s most successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrities. When it comes to personal development and building a successful lifestyle, few know more than Andy.

But not long ago, he coasted through life; unsure what he wanted to do with it.

Like many do, he reached his version of rock-bottom. Only, Andy’s version of rock bottom included no money, no prospects, and no home.

Fear had gotten the better of him, and his fear of failure took control. Yet through his passion for MMA fighting and training, he refused to stay inside his fear-filled-bubble. He took a step. He opened his eyes. He kept them open, and he searched for a ‘light’.

He found it through NLP (neuro linguistic programming), which lead him along a road to success.

But there was a time he had nothing but fear in his life, and the fear of never fulfilling his potential.

We all feel it. We’re all accustomed to such fear and the stronghold it can have. It’s enough to stop you in your tracks and force you to quit (or never begin in the first place).

Yet successful people refuse this.

They accept fear is part of the journey, but they never let it do the talking for them. The proof is in the above’s pudding, because although these four ‘wealthy’ individuals faced different strifes and hardship, they each overcome it in the same way: persistence.

It is fear’s biggest enemy, because so long as you search, cling, and strive for more, your fear will never win.

Not easy by any means, but a comfort nevertheless.

Those you look upto are just like you. Take comfort in their own tales of woe, and learn from them today so you don’t have to suffer tomorrow.

I’ve introduced you to four of them, but this is the mere tip of the iceberg.