My 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
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. 🙌 📖
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.
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.
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.
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!