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Welcome back to part 2 of the Fear of Failure blog, breaking down the points of the “Conquering the Fear of Failure” podcasts on Do the Damn Thing. I’ve framed the fear of failure ideology under the context of the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. We first discussed the why and where of the Fear: Why the fear of failure exists in our lives, and Where the fear may manifest itself. Today, we’re diving into the what and when: What allows us to perpetuate the fear of failure in our lives, and When does the fear of failure keep us from change? And, of course, our overarching question: How do we overcome the fear of failure? We may not recognize this as a conscious thought; but, the fear of failure manifests into our lives by way of self-sabotage. So, how do we overcome it?
What Perpetuates the Fear of Failure?
In the first blog, I opened the conversation to the potential “destruction” our comfort zones may bring when we rely on them too often to remain stagnant. We rely too often on the security that when the potential opportunity for change and growth arises, it makes us uncomfortable, to the point of self-sabotage. We perpetuate the fear of failure by questioning our abilities and our worthiness for the new opportunity. Therefore, we devalue ourselves and our skills and enhance our fear of failure rather than work on healing. These ideologies are often birthed from childhood memories and experiences when the subconscious mind is still developing. They develop through the teachings and beliefs from our parents, siblings, family, teachers, and we adopt their actions and reactions to the fear of failure and failure itself.
Since we often don’t maintain high self-awareness as young children, we lack the ability to see they are teaching us inherent disbelief in ourselves. This certainly isn’t to say this is on purpose; but it’s the same adoptions from when they were young that perpetuated their fears, inevitably realizing those fears onto you. This is why young children and teens often feel pressured to succeed because of their parents’ beliefs on success and failure. This eventually manifests itself into questions of “Am I worthy?” and “Do I deserve this?” which creates habits for self-sabotage. We fear pushing ourselves beyond the confines of our comfort zone, out of the fear of an infinite reality of potential results, no matter their success or failure.
When does this fear Keep us from Change?
As I said, the fear of failure–therefore success and our sense of worthiness (or lack thereof)–isn’t what we usually identify this process as in conscious thought. Instead, we offer excuses to ourselves and practice self-sabotage as a way to protect ourselves from potential change (good to bad). An example of these excuses that we can all likely relate to are: I’m too lazy., I don’t have enough time., the time isn’t right for me now. We see the potential for change and automatically assume failure is “too high” of a potential result. This self-sabotage is also frequent when we believe things are going “too well” for ourselves. Therefore, we believe something bad must happen to “even” it out. We often believe ourselves not worthy of the abundant amount of happiness available to us, so we sabotage the happiness we hold.
This mindset can become increasingly difficult to escape if not recognized. We see things as going “too well,” so we sabotage that abundance by creating chaos to fall back on. Opportunities, growth, and change become available to us. If those things aren’t below the ceiling we believe we’re worthy of achieving, we keep ourselves from potential success. I invite you to reflect and ask yourself where this form of self-sabotage has existed in your life. To easily answer the who of this scenario, I’d venture to say we all experience a fear of failure at some point in our lives. It’s how we choose to overcome it that defines—or even redefines—our timeline for success.
How to Overcome the Fear of Failure
In every scenario we face, we often overlook the process between A and Z and hop to the potential outcomes. Once we see all the ways we can either fail or succeed, we make a choice: fight or flight. Our biological instinct is to protect ourselves. So, if we have “expectation energy” around opportunities and that expectation is an application of failure, we often choose flight. Despite the outcome having incredible potential for success, we feel we must protect ourselves. Therefore, we don’t take the big leaps. We must first start by looking at opportunities without expectation energy, and instead, as an opportunity to learn. Instead of seeing the result as either failure or success, look at what progress you’ll be making in the middle; the potential for growth. Failure is natural and healthy. It allows us the opportunity to try again, learn from mistakes, and grow.
When we look at the other outcomes associated with failure–disappointment, judgment, scarcity, lack–we often look to deny that vulnerability rather than embrace it. We protect ourselves from potential disasters without even affording ourselves the opportunity for success. To overcome the fear failure, we must work to shift that mindset and grow our confidence. We must work on building our knowledge of what we are inherently worthy of to reach our greatest potential. You can achieve this by practicing EFT, meditation, and affirmations to shift your mindset. This way, when you do break a ceiling in your life, the next one you approach doesn’t seem daunting, but rather a challenge and something that inspires you.