There is a lot of rhetoric about the benefits of failing. And I get it. I know from gritty experience that good things can and do come from failure.

But that is not to say that when things go wrong, or fail completely, it’s easy or quick to take the lesson and simply move on. Failing is HARD!

Just as poignantly, the FEAR of failure can be extremely challenging. My years of experience working in corporate roles and in my coaching, I know that it is the fear of things going wrong that often is the thing that creates the most stress for my clients.

The feeling that goes with the fear induced can be overwhelming, making my clients feel anxious and nauseous. Paralysis usually accompanies the fear of failure and when you’re running a business, paralysis can have devastating consequences.

Here are some ways you can overcome your fear of failure:

Understand that it’s normal to fear failure

We all have fears and usually, it is our thoughts about the fear which create the most anxiety. For example, if I am afraid of failing, the thoughts I am thinking are, “I’m not good enough, it won’t work for me, my business will fail, I won’t be able to support myself or my family, life will be hard, I will be embarrassed and humiliated and everyone will know I have failed”. These thoughts can be crippling. But recognising them as what they are, just THOUGHTS and not FACTS, we can start to shift out of this unhelpful way of thinking.

Identify your core fear

Building on the point above, there will be one core thought that is at the root of your fear. Taking some time to identify this can help to bring the thought to our conscious brain. When we do this, the thought immediately becomes less powerful. In the scenario above, the thought of not being able to support myself is really scary. But how likely is this really?! If this is the root cause of my fear, then I can look at this thought and say, ok, if this were to happen, what would I need to do? Then I can start to think constructively about all of the practical things I could do if the worst should happen. Doing this causes us to shift out of the negative and unhelpful feeling into a more positive way of thinking, by addressing the fear head on. Journalling can be a really effective way of processing this.

Remember that the best people fail

When failure does happen, because failure happens to everyone, it will feel hard in the moment. But accepting what has happened and that we can not control or rewrite was has happened is an important part of the process. When something bad has happened, it’s not in the past. It is fact and we can’t change what happened. But we can change what we do afterwards. In this moment, acceptance is the first step of learning from failure. Once we accept, we can start to focus on the things that can be learned. This can take some time, and investing in this time is the way to get the most learning from what has happened and to be able to move on more quickly.

Consider the cost of not trying

In work and business there is a cost to everything. If there is something that you are afraid of, take some time to evaluate the cost of doing nothing. Often, we find that the cost to doing nothing over time, does become prohibitive. Taking some time to evaluate objectively can help to make sense of the fear and to step more comfortably towards it.

I hope you have found this useful.

And if you want a little extra support, my Effective Leadership coaching package could be just what you need.  During my programme, we dig deep into what you are finding most fearful right now to uncover the root cause, this is how we identify the optimum and most sustainable solutions to the challenges your are encountering.

Get in contact to find out more about how this works.

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