Does the fear of failure stop you from taking the sort of action that could dramatically improve your life?
Your first day of school. Your first kiss. Your first day at work. Your first real investment—a home, a new car, launching a business. We’ve all had a lot of these life experiences. Did we feel ready? Probably not at the time. How did we become ready? We just did it. We showed up. And most of the time, we probably kicked ass. The fear of failure didn’t stop us from taking action.
The secret no one ever tells you is that most people never feel ready for anything new.
Each time we cross a new boundary, yet another awaits us.
That is the beauty of life.
There is always more to do. More growth to experience. More lessons to learn. More of your beautiful, unlimited potential to seize.
Here are my top three suggestions for overcoming the fear of failure and taking action when you are next presented with a challenge:
1. Let your past concerns inform your current concerns.
Scared to speak up in a meeting? Remember a meeting from last year. Was it safe to speak up then (even though perhaps you didn’t), now that you can see it in retrospect? Probably. The same is true now, plus you are even wiser and more experienced! Raise your important opinion or question, my friend. Just do it!
2. Hey, if you’ve been entertaining it for a while, you’re probably good to go!
Too inexperienced to start a side business or seek a job promotion?
The fact it is on your mind is already an indicator you are probably somewhat ready. Hey—you’re not seeking the presidential nomination this year, right?
Your goal is likely to be far less of a stretch than you are building it up to be in your mind. Write down a list of at least five reasons why you are capable of doing it at this precise stage in your life.
I did this with a client recently who wanted to become a matchmaker. Her reasons? A great natural ability to match people. Proven success in introducing two happy couples (who would provide testimonials if she asked). A healthy network of people to connect. An ability to create a gorgeous website using her tech savviness. A decent amount of free time over evenings and weekends to dedicate to it.
Hmm… She sounds pretty ready to me, don’t you think?
Do this for yourself right now. The list might totally surprise you.
3. Beware of imposter syndrome.
“Imposter Syndrome” is what we experience when we feel we don’t deserve our accomplishments. We feel we’ve fooled others into thinking we are capable and attribute our achievements to blind luck or good timing. Our inability to accept our gifts means that we feel like a fraud or an imposter—maybe even waiting to be exposed.
Most common in high achieving women, imposter syndrome not only prevents us from enjoying success, it also massively limits our current potential. Feeling non-deserving and like a fake, we turn down wonderful new opportunities and creative ideas. Imposter syndrome is the killer of many “what-might-have-beens.”
Does that sound like you? It sure sounds a lot like the excuses I hear all the time (including from myself).
People always tell me they’re “not ready” for the next step. Moving cities. Starting an entrepreneurial venture. Online dating. Applying for a role at a prestigious company.
The truth is, we’re never ready.
But those who get what they want in this world proceed anyway. It can also feel quite thrilling once you commit to going for it, anyway. I’ve never felt more alive than when I have moved countries, quit jobs, and launched entrepreneurial projects.
Remember – the more important to our hearts the task before us, the greater resistance we feel toward pursuing it. So what if, instead of keeping us at a standstill, we let our fear of failure be our guide, showing us the way forward? What if we allowed our fear not to act as a stop sign but as a light, illuminating the path before us and highlighting what we need to do next?
Please share with me in the comments below… What might be patiently waiting for you on your path?