EDITION: April - june 2016

Overcoming fear of failure

Ruth Osborn
Does fear of not succeeding hold you back from pursuing your dreams?

Does it keep you from tapping into your inner adventurer, entrepreneur, novelist or whatever part of you yearns to create something truly remarkable in your life?

Let’s look at what it is about the idea of failure that prevents us from taking action… because to not pursue a dream for fear of failure is to fail by default. Children provide a great example of how to live without fear. They learn lightheartedly and through play – largely without any concept of the negative associations of failure that would hold them back. Watch them as they learn new things – they try, they fall, maybe they laugh… and then they pick themselves up and try again. After a few attempts they learn to do it a bit differently… and eventually they succeed.

It is often the same process in adult life, as many situations start with failures that become essential aspects of success. In fact, most great success stories are preceeded by a string of ‘failures’. Quite simply, it can be necessary to know what doesn't work in order to find out what does – and those ‘failures’ provide invaluable learning and development on the road to success. Even when the goal is not reached there is value in the quest itself. Everything that you pursue with an honest effort has the potential to teach you lessons through the process. By acquiring this knowledge you will grow with every step you take in pursuit of your dreams. Just by facing your fear and making a commitment to follow a dream you have already succeeded.

Ask yourself which is better – to fear failure and never take action, or to give it your best try and see what happens? We cannot know with certainty how any endeavour will turn out, but there is one thing that we do know with certainty: if you never try you will never find out. A helpful tip for getting over the fear is to let go of your expectations about the eventual outcome. By taking a leap of faith and going down a new pathway you will open yourself to endless possibilities. You may not wind up where you were aiming, but the journey may take you to a much better place then you could have possibly imagined.

“There is only one thing that makes
a dream impossible to achieve:
the fear of failure”

(Paulo Coelho, El Alquimista)