Fear Of Failure
Fear of Failing, (or FoF as I’m going to call it from now on), is possibly the single biggest reason for not getting started, for putting off your biggest wishes, for never writing the big goals, for never daring to dream, for simply doing nothing.
FoF has been stopping people for lifetimes.
“I’m not doing that in case it doesn’t work out….”
“I won’t try my best in case it isn’t good enough.”
“I couldn’t possibly do that…”
“I’m not setting myself up for disappointment, so I’m not going to ‘dream’, just in case it doesn’t happen.”
I hear these kinds of phrases all the time – for a long time they used to come out of my mouth – so trust me when I say I know how you feel.
You don’t want to think about the exciting, amazing, dreamiest stuff that you could achieve, because what if it doesn’t happen? How bad will you feel then? What will X say about your biggest dream? Will they laugh?
“I know: its better to be safe than sorry, lets just aim for somewhere in the middle, yeah, the middle, I’m ok with the middle. The middle is achievable, it’s not too hard, it’s just right. I know, lets just do what everyone else does and then we will be totally fine. I’m too scared to really go for it, because what if it doesn’t pay off. Yeah, this is a good way to feel safe – great plan. Let’s just aim for the middle, lets just do enough, lets just do enough to be ok. I’m not even going to think of that big amazing thing I really want out of life, because well, what if I put in ALL this effort and then when I get there I don’t want it? Or its not as good as I hoped? Or it means something will have to change? Or what if….. I FAIL?! OMG….too scary, can’t even go there, that feels awful. Yeah lets NOT dream. Lets just do the safe option.”
Does this sound like anyone else’s inner dialogue?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I finally managed to control this inner dialogue and change. There’s no fool proof, 100% guaranteed way of getting away from FoF, it’s taken me, and I’m sure it will take you, a lot of trial and error, a lot of mistakes and a lot of reflection, but, you know what, if you can own your FoF, really own it and know it, you can master it.
Awareness, acknowledgement and action.
– Be aware of your fears, especially around failure, be open about them
– Acknowledge your fears, maybe even write them down, talk about them with a supportive friend or family member – get their take on it.
– Then, take action regardless. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” – Susan Jeffers.
Feel the feeling of fear and push past it, see whats on the other side. If you never move past fear – how do you know whats on the other side?
Here’s a few tips to help you with your FoF in addition to the A, A, A above.
1. Read the Susan Jeffers book; “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway” – it’s a short self help book, which focuses on positive affirmations. Which yeah, are great, they helped me so much, but what I found so inspiring is her take on fear. You’ve done scary things in the past and they haven’t killed you – whats different with this one?
Really own that fear – then choose to feel it and do what ever it is you want to anyway.
2. Breathe. Whenever it all gets too much or you are scared about something new, take time to breathe and relax. Use a mediation app/video, a yoga class or pause and take 10 deep breaths feeling your tummy rise and fall (using your diaphragm to breathe). It is calming and relaxing for your Central Nervous System. There’s always time for breathing.
3. Get focused. If you’re scared of not achieving a goal, for example, then BREAK – IT – DOWN –
– What do you need to do to make sure you achieve that goal?
– Write a focused list of all the actions.
If one of those actions is something like “believe in myself”, then do whatever it takes to build your self confidence. EFT is great way, as is yoga or mediation. Try connecting with your Solar Plexus Chakra, it is yellow and radiates personal power and confidence. It is located under the ribs at the top of the stomach area. Connect with it, visualise it, see it glowing yellow. Try doing this while in Warrior pose. 😉
– How can you support yourself while doing all these ‘actions’? (Self-care is a biggie for me) Don’t just think you can plough ahead and reach the finish line with our looking after yourself.
– Plan into your week, activities which will relax you, fill you up, make you happy.
– Get a calendar and plan in these actions over time, making sure you schedule and distribute your time efficiently and evenly.
4. Goals take action. So get on and do it – feel the fear. What is the worst that could happen? Seriously? I choose to see each experience as a learning experience. If I want to do something, if I really put myself on the line and do something scary and it goes wrong or doesn’t work out how I’d hoped, I simply reflect:
“What has this experience taught me?” “Were my expectations realistic?” “What can I learn for this?”
“What will I do differently next time?” “Why didn’t it work out? Was the ‘goal’ out of alignment? i.e. did I want it for the wrong reasons?”
4. Tap. Emotional Freedom Technique – I use EFT with my clients all the time when fears come up. A common fear is letting people down. So I recorded this tap-a-long video for you to use. Please check out my other videos introducing EFT/Tapping before you tap-a-long. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about working with me via Skype.
5. STOP CARING WHAT PEOPLE THINK. Easier said than done, I know, but what other people think of you is none of your business. You will never know what someone thinks – so stop worrying.
What other people say about you however is. I understand peoples words can be hurtful, but when people say unkind, hurtful and judgemental things, it is mostly a reflection of themselves rather than you.
Their unkind teasing? Usually jealousy. Their put downs? A reflection they don’t have much confidence themselves. Opposition or limiting what you are capable of? A sign they don’t believe in themselves or are scared you might become ‘better’ than them.
Either way – on the way to your dreams you need a tribe of supportive people, not put-downers. Distance yourself from that. Be positive, be supportive, be kind.
What do you do to overcome fear? What things have you tried? Could you share them? Please leave a comment. What are you most scared of failing at?
Kathryn Pearson is an EFT practitioner specialising in helping sensitive teens and young women combat stress, fear and worry. Her mission is to give the next generation the confidence and tools to break free from negative thinking and be able to follow their dreams, using EFT, a meridian energy therapy, often referred to as tapping, and other successful positive mindset practises and strategies. Aiming to empower and inspire the world over. Visit her website www.kathrynpearson.co.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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