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Welcome to our first-ever two-part blog–advice following the first of a two-part episode of the Do the Damn Thing Podcast, Conquering the Fear of Failure. The fear of failure is something we all face at some point in our lives. So many other emotions are accompanied by failure and all that we experience with it; disappointment, scarcity, ego. Therefore, it’s not that we just fear failure, but all emotions that pertain to it. So, how do we overcome failure and push ourselves outside our comfort zone, and into our zone of genius? But, what is our zone of genius, and how do we find it? In this first blog of a two-part piece, we will address the where and why of the fear of failure and moving into our zone of genius.
Why do we have a Fear of Failure?
We fear failure, in the most obvious ways, out of protection. We want to protect ourselves from judgment and disappointment. So, instead of “going for it” and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones, more often than not, we stay stagnant because we know it’s safe. But what are the benefits of safety in terms of our comfort zone? Outside of the obvious reasons for potential financial security, our comfort zone only really serves to keep us stagnant. Now, let me clarify. Our comfort zone does serve its purpose at times, and I’m certainly not saying that we should be pushing ourselves beyond those walls every day of our lives. But, it’s important to find that line, so we don’t cross over into the fear of failure territory. Our fear of failure is simply our limiting beliefs manifesting into actions that keep us from making progress in our lives.
Our limiting beliefs are thoughts built on one simple premise: We believe we are not worthy of what we desire. From this thought, we latch onto smaller limiting beliefs until we hit a ceiling in which we believe it is “still safe.” These exist in our lives, in the simplest of terms, by way of numbers usually. For example, you may think it’s safe for you to earn $100,000 (your ceiling), but suddenly, when the option to earn $250,000 becomes available, we freak out. Our internalized fear of failure, therefore fear of success, kicks in, and we sabotage ourselves from that success. Now, you may be saying, “I’m certainly not afraid to earn $250,000; I would welcome that into my life.” But ask yourself, what changes when that manifestation comes to light?
Where Does the Fear of Failure Manifest in Our Lives?
We keep ourselves from success out of the fear of reaching our biggest goals. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but, hear me out. If we didn’t fear failure, therefore success, and believed in our inherent worthiness of all we desire, all we desired would be our reality. Therefore, the fear of failure manifests in our lives by keeping us in our comfort zone rather than excelling. Ask yourself what changes if you achieved your big dream? What bad thing happens if you achieve your success? We see changes in our potential future that keep us from making that progress. So, the fear of failure manifests itself in our lives in the form of scarcity, lack, and worthiness. And by keeping ourselves from the success we’re not only worthy of but able to reach, we then see it as failure. Thus, not only has the fear of failure been realized, but we actually see this as a form of failure in our lives.
To expand in more detail on this question of where, I invite you to go on a journey of introspection through your past and ask yourself where the fear of failure has been realized in your life before. Have you been met with ceilings in your life and felt that moving beyond them was unsafe? Or have you ever been in a moment of great abundance; a lot is happening in your life, you’re happy, feeling accomplished, when you think “how did I get this? How have I earned this?” Your immediate reaction is to question your worthiness of abundance. You then turn to self-sabotage and immediately ask yourself how you may ruin the moment. What bad thing is coming to you because you’re so unbelievably happy right now? This is the fear of failure manifesting.
The Zone of Genius
Your zone of genius is most often where we’re most confident in our lives. I welcome you to read the books Find Your Zone of Genius by Laura Garnett or The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, to receive a more in-depth look at what it means. However, under the subject of the fear of failure, I’d like to stretch its definition a bit. In short, your zone of genius is the place in your life in which you excel. But, your zone of genius also encompasses your knowledge of yourself. Your Zone of Genius is the knowledge and relationship you maintain with yourself. So how does this zone assist us in overcoming our fear? Once again, this is where Intentional Living comes into the conversation.
Next Friday, I’ll continue to expand on the Zone of Genius, as well as answer the questions of what and when in regards to the fear of failure. Leading us to our overarching question: How do we overcome the fear of failure? Be sure to listen to the Podcast, Conquering the Fear of Failure, parts one and two, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Until then…