3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure





3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxietyMy book is about 80% complete, and it has been that way for the past year. In fact, it’s already been to my editor once, and I have two things left to complete: expand on a chapter and finish the footnotes and bibliography.

Yep, that’s it.

Yet for some reason, an entire year has passed by without me making much progress. I’ve maybe moved from 80-85% completion.

Sure, I started a new job this past year. And yes, it kept me busy.

But was I so busy that I didn’t have time to work on the book at all?

No, probably not. Instead, I filled my schedule with less important tasks, which reinforced the lie that I didn’t have enough time.

But why? Why did I keep putting something off that I knew was important? How come I prioritized other less-important items on my to-do list?

The ugly truth is this: I feared failure.

Let me explain…

I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. I am slowly starting to “loosen my grip,” and I’m learning to embrace the phrase “done is better than perfect.” But when it comes to big tasks… When it comes to major projects in which I’ve invested years of my life, that perfectionist manages to creep back in.

And I’m telling you, she’s ruthless.

She criticizes my work. She judges my efforts. And she constantly asks, “Why even bother? It’s not going to be good enough anyway.”

And you know what? That voice sucks. 😕

Done is better than perfect. Overcome that fear of failure and start reaching your dreams. #NoFear #DeamBig #Empowered Click To Tweet

Over the last week, however, those criticisms have diminished a bit. I’ve been able to return to my book, plow through the edits, and start making some real progress on that last 15-20%.🙌

So what gives? How did I overcome the fear of failure enough to get back to work?

Good news: the answer is simple, yet incredibly effective. So if you want to learn my secret, read on.

3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxiety

3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

Overcome the Fear of Failure with Visualization

As I mentioned in my post, how to create a vision board, there is something powerful about the act of visualization. It has the ability to help you realize your intentions and turn your “someday dreams” into something that’s both real and achievable.

But, what is visualization, you ask?

Simply put, visualization is the act of picturing exactly what you want your ideal life to look like. How do you want to spend your time? What is your dream job specifically? How do you want your relationships to look? How do you want to feel in terms of your physical and mental health? You visualize your life down to the last detail, and you repeat this practice every day.

And how does this help you overcome the fear of failure? Let me explain…

First, visualize the best-case scenario surrounding the project that has you afraid. Allow yourself to dream about all of the wonderful opportunities that will come your way if you took that chance, started that project, or accepted that job offer.

By practicing this visualization process, you see all of the incredible opportunities you might miss out on if fear maintains control. What’s more, you also boost your excitement about the opportunity, which further motivates you to get going.

To get over my fear of failure, I visualized sending in my final manuscript, the signed contract from my editor, and holding the physical copy of my book in my hands. 🙌 📖

3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxiety

Overcome the Fear of Failure with the Worst Case Scenario

Okay, so we talked about the ideal situation, let’s also talk about the worst case scenario.

Now, I realize this might seem counterintuitive, but bear with me for a minute.

Take some time to understand what the absolute worst-case scenario actually is. Think it through, recognize the true source of your fear, and then tell a friend about it. (Promise me that you won’t skimp on the details.)

As I mentioned in my post about overcoming anxiety, by talking with a friend and sharing your (often outrageous) fear, you quickly realize how unlikely it is that the situation will happen. By speaking your anxieties aloud to someone else, you minimize fear’s power, which allows you to focus on the good instead.

Once you know the worst-case scenario, then it’s time to practice if-then statements.

What’s an if-then statement? Great question! 

An if-then statement is an easy strategy to help you create a plan and silence your fear. All you need to do is state your obstacle, and then offer a solution. It’s as simple as that!

For example, IF [worst case scenario X] happens, THEN I will [insert your plan here.]

By coming up with a plan, you kick fear to the curb, and you silence those worrying thoughts that paralyze you from taking action.

My if-then statement for writing my book is: If my book gets rejected with a note that says, “you’re a terrible writer!” then I will cry a bit (let’s be honest), look at the editor’s feedback, address the things with which I agree, and then reach out to another publisher.

By creating a plan for the worst-case scenario you take away fear’s power and you can get back to work.

3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxiety

Overcome the Fear of Failure with Positive Affirmations

I’m not going to lie, I thought my fear of failure surrounding this book was too big for positive affirmations. I didn’t think simple words were strong enough to silence those negative thoughts that play on repeat in my mind.

I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

Yep, positive affirmations are a powerful way to silence even the most negative, fear-filled thoughts and replace them with empowering and motivational beliefs. And it’s so simple to do!

Every time those disparaging thoughts creep into your head, simply shove them aside with a positive affirmation.

Now admittedly, for many of us (myself included), this practice might feel uncomfortable at first. And this is especially true if you state your affirmations out loud (the most effective approach.) But the more you practice, the easier it gets, and the more wholeheartedly you embrace those positive beliefs.3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxiety

So as you create your affirmations and begin the process of repeating them every day, keep these four tips in mind:

  • State your affirmations in the present tense. This commands your mind to believe them in the here and now.
  • Strive to truly believe these affirmations. It might not come easily at first, but don’t give up.
  • Remember, affirmations don’t need to be your present reality. In fact, many people argue that affirmations become true; that’s what makes them so powerful.
  • Repeat them every day – multiple times a day, if necessary.

The positive affirmations that I repeat for my book include:

  • I am a writer.
  • My hard work is worth it.
  • I am successful.

(Looking for ideas for your own positive affirmations? You got it! Click here for a list of 40 affirmations. Choose the ones that speak directly to your situation and repeat them daily.)

Once you create your affirmations, then keep them front-and-center in your mind. Put them on post-it notes and stick them around your home. Paint them on a canvas and hang them on your wall. Do whatever it takes to keep these positive messages flowing into your mind at all times. Because the sooner you embrace these truths, the sooner you’ll silence that fear and start reaching your dreams.


So what do you think? Are you ready to overcome the fear of failure? Are you ready to take the leap and start living your life? Then give these three strategies a try. And be sure to download this list of 40 positive affirmations, which will help you kick fear to the curb even quicker.

3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure Do you struggle with getting started? Do you have a hard time completing things? Do you struggle with perfectionism? If so, this likely stems from your fear of failure. Learn how to calm your anxiety, silence your fear, and start achieving your goals today! #fear #failure #motivation #personaldevelopment #personalgrowth #entrepreneur #businesswoman #success #inspiration #anxiety

Question:

Has fear ever stopped you from “going for it?” Do you practice positive affirmations? How do you overcome the fear of failure? Let me know below!

36 thoughts on “3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure”

  1. I liked the whole article, except the parts where you said it’s simple at the beginning, and it’s easy toward the end. It is NOT simple or easy for those of us who struggle with perfectionism (and if it were, would it have taken you a year to get it?)

    That being said, I agree with you that positive affirmations and visualizing the end result and how your life will look are far more powerful than any of us realize. And your timing is perfect–this post came exactly when I needed it.

    1. Hi, Ellen! Thanks for your feedback. I absolutely agree with you that overcoming perfectionism is not easy. Indeed, it is an incredible amount of hard work; I’m still working toward it daily. I do think the strategies to overcome perfectionism are simple, however. These aren’t complex approaches, and anyone can implement them into their life. But – as you note – simple certainly does not mean easy. Thanks again for reading! I love getting your feedback 🙂

  2. Oh, man. I really needed this today. I think one of my biggest fears has always been failure and I don’t deal with it well, so this was great!

  3. I took a little bit of a break from blogging over the summer and in the last few months when I haven’t been as consistent, that annoying little voice keeps popping and asking “Is it really worth it? Are you really making a difference?” I’m trying to push through, but it can be hard! I need to be better about employing these tactics!

  4. I can see how you hot that wall with 20% more to go on your book. The fear of failure has a way of creeping without us knowing, doesn’t it? Great tips on overcoming failure as it hits us more than we probably want to admit.

  5. It’s great to have goals to try to achieve and the ability to overcome our fears. Thanks for the advice, it is helpful to be able to pursue things without being hindered by a fear of failure.

  6. This is fantastic advice. I do the worst case scenario for myself as well and that helps so much when I’m trying to work through anxiety and fear! Fantastic post!

  7. In my past work with clients, I saw this sooooo often; avoiding tasks to avoid the possibility of failing. But usually it is difficult for people to see that’s what’s happening. How helpful that you can identify the tendency yourself… and even better that you have this 3-part strategy to move forward. I’m sure this will be inspirational to many. So glad you shared!

    1. Thank you, Julie! It’s true, so many of us struggle with this fear of failure with some aspect of our lives. I hope this guide helps!

  8. putthekettleonca

    Wow Paula – I’m so excited for you. Really glad you are finishing off the last 15% – as I want to read your book! I am also right here with you and I feel better knowing that I’m not the only one that puts mundane/non-important tasks ahead of what I really want. I need to ponder this longer as I think for me it could be that fear of failure too. I have SO many lofty goals and aspirations. I know WHAT to do to get there, yet sometimes I just out them off. Thanks for the push for me to address this too 🙂

    1. Absolutely, Yolanda 💞 It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint what’s really holding us back. And our minds are so good at making us believe the mundane tasks are actually important. Sometimes I just keep asking myself “why” to every excuse I have, which helps me dig deeper into the problem and find the source. ‘Why do I think doing X [mubdane task] is more important than working on the book?’ Because I can get that done faster and feel a sense of accomplishment. ‘Why is it more important for me to feel quick gratification than work on this larger-project?’ Because when I don’t get things done quickly, I feel like I’m not good at them.’ Etc… Usually, it all stems down to fear in the end.

  9. I too am always trying to silence the “inner voice”! I love when you mentioned that positive affirmations are a powerful way to silence even the most negative, fear-filled thoughts and I am going to try that from now on!

  10. I can really relate to this. I have some ebooks I have been wanting to create and always say there is no time but I use time on less important busy work rather than investing in myself.

    1. Yes, exactly! Why do we do this? We need to kick fear out of the way and get to work on what’s important. 🙌

    1. Yep! That darn fear manages to get in the way. I’m glad you’re able to complete the projects anyway, though! That’s great 🙂

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