Fear of failure is rampant in our society and it’s holding us back from actualizing all that is truly available to us today.
Maybe it stems from our schooling, where we were only rewarded for getting it right. And, quite possibly, depending on the people in your childhood, you were ridiculed or punished in some way for getting things wrong. If your strategy in school was to only answer when you knew you were right, or simply never volunteer any information, ever, you may have set yourself up for never progressing forward in your adult life – for fear of failure.
How does the fear of failure hold you back? First it stops you from being yourself. When you are fearful, you are hyper aware of everything you say and do, as well as other people’s reactions to you. This results in a very ‘staged’ or ‘stiff’ interaction, and it draws negative attention to you. People will more likely question you and your motives because, instinctively, they know something is not right. Whereas, it is highly attractive to others, in a positive way, when you are being your authentic self.
The fear of failure will also cause you to miss possibilities. When you are fearful, you limit and scrutinize what you say and do, where you go and with whom you interact. In short, you overthink everything. You will also most likely be second-guessing yourself, questioning if you’re good enough to do something or if someone else would be better off doing it. A side effect of this is that you are less likely to take risks or go against the ‘norm’ – something that entrepreneurs do all the time, which increases their chances of success.
The fear of failure will also cause you to miss possibilities.
One of my favorite quotes of Simone Milasas, founder of Joy of Business, is “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Would you speak up in that meeting? Would you start that business venture you’ve been dreaming about? Would you ask for a raise? Ponder this for a while. Notice how many areas in your life where you are holding yourself back.
It doesn’t have to remain that way. You can choose something different.
Laleh Alemzadeh-Hancock is a management consultant, Joy of Business facilitator, and founder and CEO of Belapemo and Global Wellness for All. A passionate change-agent, Laleh has empowered thousands of individuals including Fortune 500 executives, government agencies, not-for–profit organizations, athletes and veterans to achieve optimal growth.