Struggling with a crippling fear of failure? Want to know how to quickly overcome it so you can move on with your business? Fear is a liar and I dare anyone else to tell me differently. In my 20 plus years on this earth, I’ve never seen anything else crush as many dreams, and destroy as many businesses as fear has.
It drives you to make hasty, safe decisions, and though this can be great at times, it often leaves us stuck and stagnant. As entrepreneurs, we’ve all experienced fear at some point, even if we hesitate to admit that. In this post, learn how to quickly overcome your not-so-secret fear of failure!
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
Overcome Your Not-So-Secret Fear Of Failure
What causes fear of failure?
Throughout my studies and practice, I’ve come across a lot of research centred around fear. The one thing that these studies all have in common, and that experience has taught me, is that failure isn’t necessarily the problem.
As human beings, we don’t necessarily fear failure per se, we fear the consequences of that failure. We fear the known and unknown repercussions of our actions. I would go as far as saying that, if there were no consequences to failing, we would gladly fail in our businesses and in our lives, because, at the end of the day, we’d still be okay.
What do I mean by this?
Here’s a somewhat crazy example: If there were no consequences for robbing a bank and failing to get away, every thief in the world would do this multiple times per day, until they got it just right. They’d get a “nice try”, a slap on the wrist from the police and be ready to try again the next day.
In our business, if we could lose all our clients and still make a profit at the end of the day, then nothing would deter us from failing our way to success.
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? Click To Tweet
Why is failure such a scary thing?
The truth is, whether we like it or not, there are in fact consequences for failing. There are often ugly, real-life penalties and that’s what makes it so terrifying for us.
Failing in school could lead to you losing your scholarship, being kicked out of student housing and sent home to your parents, where you’d have to face the embarrassment. Not to mention that you might have to get a part-time job, find your own place and put yourself through school.
This would also mean there’s a possibility that you will struggle for a few years until you get yourself back on your feet and that’s not something you’re willing to experience.
Starting a business and failing in that could mean that you lose clients, make no profits, end up losing your house because you can’t pay the bills and end up having to move back into your parents’ basement.
Can you imagine the possible damage that could do to your reputation and how embarrassed you would be if anyone found out? These possibilities keep you up at night and that’s why failure is so scary!
Related: How to use the power of your subconscious mind to create massive success in business
How do I stop being afraid of failure?
As I was studying to become a coach, I came upon a very effective technique to help you face and overcome your fears. It’s called “fear setting” and is something that I walk all of my clients through to help them move past their own fears.
Though this exercise might seem simple, I guarantee it is one of the most powerful things you will ever do for yourself as a person and an entrepreneur.
Here are the three steps to properly fear set:
1 Define your fears
I’ve had clients come to me and tell me they’re afraid. So I ask them what exactly are they afraid of? Some will tell me that they fear losing their business or they fear not achieving their goals.
Often times I’ll ask them “why”. Why is this fear affecting them? What are the real reasons hiding behind these surface fears?
Sometimes they’ll be incredibly confused, but soon begin to understand what I mean when I say this. Imagine you are at home alone and you see a dark shadow.
You don’t know what this shadow is but you know it scares you. Until you’re able to clearly define what this shadow is, you won’t be able to handle it properly. Is the shadow a racoon, a burglar or Jason X?
Defining your fear at the core will give you some insight on what to do. Conquering your business fears means clearly defining what they are.
Once you have defined what your fears are, ask yourself this simple question, “So what?” So what if this comes true and so what if your biggest nightmares become your reality?
Think about what the worst-case scenario could be and what would that feel like? Will this worst-case scenario mean death or is it something way less dramatic?
I’ve done this a few times and have come to realize that this worst-case scenario, this unbelievably horrible consequence isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. Click To Tweet
2 Take the necessary precautions
This might seem silly, but the next step is to take the necessary precautions to prevent this worst-case scenario from happening.
Think about it for a minute and beside each fear that you have listed, make a list of all the steps you could possibly take to prevent this from happening. Be as creative as you possibly can and really think outside the box.
For example, if your fear is that your husband will have to get a second job to support you because you’ve failed to earn any money from your online clothing boutique then here is a list of actions you could take:
- Seek additional funding from banks/investors,
- Amp up your marketing efforts to attract more clients,
- Attend networking events to build connections, or
- Take on a part-time job to supplement your business income until it’s able to stand on its own.
3 Create strategies in case your fears come true
Once you’ve thought about and written down your fears and precautionary actions, think about possible solutions. What will you do if your fears do come true? How can you react if they are realized?
Is there something, anything you could do to possibly turn things around and get back on your feet?
Sticking with the fear of having to move back in with your parents after failing in your business, there are a number of possibilities. You could:
- Look for a job and save money towards starting a new business with a firmer foundation (See The Confident Chic Business Checklist),
- Take a look at your business model to try and figure out the mistakes you make so you can learn from them,
- Hire a coach like me 🙂 to help you learn how to set and achieve effective goals for business growth, master your mindset and build confidence in yourself and your business idea, and learn how to stay committed to getting the best results in the shortest timeframe possible,
- Enrol in an online course to help you learn the ins and outs of business, or
- All of the above.
Related: Successful female entrepreneurs explain how to gain confidence while starting a business
What is your fear costing you?
Think about all the opportunities in your business or all the tasks you’ve been putting off. Take a moment to ask yourself what this is costing you?
Are you willing to remain exactly where you are indefinitely because you are unwilling to put yourself out there, make the hard decisions and take a “risk”?
Truthfully speaking, entrepreneur to entrepreneur, the things we fear most in our business are oftentimes exactly what we need to do.
You are stronger than you think and more capable than you can imagine. It’s time to stop letting fear overshadow your greatness.
So, what are you afraid of?