The Fear of Failure & Changing Our Perspective

by Jo Watt 15/12/2020

So many of us struggle with the limiting belief of the fear of failure. So how can we overcome it? Keep reading below for 7 Ways To Achieve Your Goals & Overcome The Fear Of Failure.....

So why do we have this fear? Do we fear failure because we are afraid of losing or having our ego bruised when we fall down in-front of others? Are we afraid of the pain associated with not achieving our goal? Are we afraid of not being worthy enough so we don't even start as we know we won't achieve it anyway? Have we learnt helplessness as a result of failing over and over because we don't have the skills to cope? What stops you and holds you back?

On the other hand there is the limiting belief of the fear of success that also stops us from achieving our goals because the idea of losing our old identity and becoming someone successful also brings about emotional fear as we are becoming someone we have no idea how to be.

So what is it about fear & anxiety that stops us in our tracks from achieving our dreams & goals? It comes back to our perspective, our internal memories, beliefs, thoughts, programming & past experiences.

So what if we changed the perspective of failure and looked at it as feedback? It begins to change the fear and it takes the pressure off doesn't it? What would happen if chose to stop limiting ourselves and let go of everything holding us back so we can become who we truly are? What's stopping you from letting all the fear go now?

Did you know it took Thomas Edison 1,000 times to invent the lightbulb? That's 1,000 times of having to recreate, trial, and work out new ways to achieve his goal. He never saw it as failure, he saw it as ways it won't work and attempted it a different way each time. Did he learn a lot? Hell yes! So here is a quote and piece of wisdom from his journey.

Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. I have not failed. I've just found 1,000 ways that won't work. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. There is no substitute for hard work. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. It is very beautiful over there! The value of an idea lies in the using of it." 

When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." "Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophy." 

So when you think about it, if we can shift our perspective from failure to feedback we can start to look at everything differently and that’s how we learn & grow. The more we learn from what didn't work the first time the more we can evolve and change how we do things the next time. 

Success comes from determination, willpower, hard work, persistence & dedication to keep going no matter what obstacle is thrown at us. Sometimes we need help removing those obstacles and that's ok. Like Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration & 99% perspiration.” Ideas come and go. It comes down to whether we are willing to put in the effort and hard work to manifest and make our ideas a physical reality. How much time and energy put into that goal, in-turn determines whether we are going to become a success or never get anywhere in life.  

So the thing you have to ask yourself is: How much are you willing to fight for your dreams and are you willing to change? Because once we come to the moment of deciding we are going to give our dreams everything we have got and we set ourselves a really good goal, obstacles are guaranteed to appear. 

So think about this for a moment.....

What if the failure of something led us into another direction or taught us something vital for our growth?

What if it led us to a better and brighter destination or gave us skills that would enable us to be better within ourselves?

What if learning how to look at a different perspective or learning to be flexible or adaptable led us to become even more knowledgeable in something? 

The difference between failure and success comes down to whether you learn to look at the feedback & obstacles from the perspective of stepping stones to get the success at the end of the road or whether you see the failure as a measure of your worth.

When we measure our worth with how much we have failed we will always be stuck feeling defeated & disappointed in life and this results in feeling stagnant & stuck. 

What really holds us back is our programming and our beliefs. While we may desire and have goals and dreams we want to achieve in life, what truly sabotages us is the unconscious patterns operating on autopilot. In order for us to truly move forward we need to rewire the brain & remove the obstacles in our mind, as everything we do is an internal job.

While some have been able to overcome their fears of failure and have no issue with achieving their goals, what happens once we have reached the goal? Does the success end there once you have gotten to the finish line? No! Once we achieve the success of the goal what happens is we become comfortable again and there is no growth in being comfortable. 

Growth never happens in our comfort zone by doing the same thing, the same way repeatedly without expanding yourself to become better and better.

So how can we ever improve or evolve if we never fail or shake things up and start over again?

How can we ever expand and learn something even deeper if we never move past our own self-limiting boundaries and structures that we have created by doing something a certain way without seeing it from another different perspective?

How can we ever grow if we never go back to being the student & re-learn something another way or trying something different?

Growth happens in the action steps by failing and learning and persisting to keep evolving and growing during our human experience.

If you have a belief that there is nothing left to learn or there is no room for further growth in any area of life, then you are simply only limiting yourself and denying yourself the opportunity to expand and become the best version of yourself. After all we are all here for the human experience.

So here are 7 Ways To Achieve Your Goals & Overcome The Fear Of Failure:

  1. Set yourself goals and really think about "What do I really want and what will make me happy?" Sometimes we do tasks simply to please others, because we feel we have the expectation to please them or get some sort of validation or praise. The truth is trying to meet the expectations of others or have a goal that is generalised for everyone, it is just going to set you up for disappointment as really you can't make everyone happy & the only person who can make you happy is you. Make your goals personal to you that will make you feel good, will help you grow & improve your life. My advice is to simply just follow your own heart and do what's best for you as it is your journey after all.

  2. Use the S.M.A.R.T method to get clear on your goals. Is your goal:

    a. Specific/Simple - Be specific with what you actually want. If you are too big picture & vague with what you want, how are you going to achieve it or specifically know what your goal actually is? We become too overwhelmed and stuck because we haven't gotten clear on the details. If you have a big picture vision, that's cool, just make sure you have some specific little goals also to focus on, to get you where you want to go and make sure it is specific and simple. When designing a goal think about: What will you see, what will you hear, what will you feel when you have achieved your goal? Thats how you get specific on a goal.

    b. Measurable/Meaningful to You - Make your goals measurable. How will you know you have achieved it? What proof do you need so you know you have achieved it? Is this goal meaningful to you & is it something that will make your life better?

    c. Achievable/As If Now/All Areas Of Your Life - Is this goal really achievable? Think about it for a minute. Are you expecting to be a millionaire in a week when you have $100 in the bank and have put in no hard work for your efforts? It's like expecting to win the big bucks without ever buying a lotto ticket or working a day in your life. The key to success is to be persistent and put in the hard work to get the rewards.

    The Law of Attraction works by being able to visualise, imagine, and believe that you already have it now. The truth is time is an illusion and the Law of Attraction works by focussing on the present moment, so statements like: I am this.. I have this... I've accomplished.. all focusses on the present moment as if you have already achieved it. So when you focus on the goal as if you have it now and be in the vibration of gratitude you begin to manifest and our unconscious mind hones in and focusses on everything to support that goal. So the key is focussing on having the goal as if now.

    Do a chart and set goals for each area of life. Just remember that every goal needs to be achievable otherwise you may fall into the trap of fearing failure when we see a goal too big and unachievable and it becomes overwhelming. Break it down into smaller steps, and make sure it is achievable & as if now.

    d. Realistic/Responsible/Ecological - Is your goal realistic? Come-on! Rome wasn't built in a day so your goal needs to be realistic. Set yourself small goals. If you steer off course along the way or fall down, dust yourself off, pick yourself up and keep going and reassess if your expectations are unrealistic. Make sure your goals are responsible & ecological for yourself, others & the planet. If you are trying to achieve a goal simply to only benefit yourself however it affects your relationship with others or harms the planet really think about how your goal will impact you, others & the world. Be mindful of the consequences of reaching your goal, as we all need balance & to come from a place of integrity right?

    e. Timeframe/Towards What You Want - Really assess if you can achieve your goal in the time-frame you've set. We may come to a mid-way point where we have come to realise that we simply cannot achieve our deadline because our time-frame is unrealistic. It's ok. You can re-adjust anytime. Just let yourself off the hook and keep going. Remember the more we stress the more we are unable to think clearly, and as we put more pressure on ourselves the more stressed we become. What you want to avoid is becoming stuck in the fight/flight mode as that just creates more pressure on our body & we just move no-where because we allow the fear to cripple us and that helps no-one.

    This is why many people just give up thinking they have failed when really the goal was most likely just un-realistic or perhaps we have beliefs holding them back. On the other hand perhaps we weren't motivated enough to truly want the goal as it wasn't aligned with what we truly wanted. Our values are what motivates us and drives us. Make sure you goal is towards what you truly want & your values are aligned.

  3. Be flexible. The more we can be flexible & adaptable and let go of expectations of "HOW" we will achieve our goal, the easier it will become. This makes the journey more enjoyable and it takes the pressure off because if we have a pre-conceived idea of how our goal should come to fruition we are limiting our experience & missing out on other opportunities along the way. Go with the flow and just take one step at a time.

  4. Change happens with a single step. If we continue to look backwards at our comfort zone we miss what is in-front of us and we never get anywhere. While we may have shit throw at us from all angles and obstacles appearing as we move out of our comfort zone, it's just testing our willpower and determination to see how badly we want to reach our goal. While it's easy to retreat & fall back into our comfort zone, remember that growth never happens in the known, it happens in the unknown where we are forced to expand and grow. Challenge yourself each day to do something different or to take one step. Baby steps are less overwhelming than giant leaps so if you need to take it slow just take one day at a time and keep moving forward gradually.

  5. Reward yourself for your achievements. We are all reward driven and motivated by some sort of reward, whether that be praise, acknowledgement or material rewards. Focus on giving yourself the love & praise instead of seeking it externally. It's a positive way of filling your own cup and nurturing yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for achieving little milestones, shout yourself a coffee or a pamper treat, give yourself a day off to do something fun. Whatever it is, make it something that makes you feel good. The more we feel good about achieving our goals the more we are likely to keep going.

  6. When we feel overwhelmed by the fear of failure, BREATHE. Acknowledge the emotions that are coming up and ask yourself "What is this trying to teach me?" When we breathe through our emotions it helps us shift them and it allows them to be expressed. Emotions are like messengers. When something has triggered within you, it is something that needs addressing. The more we ignore the emotions, the more they persist and continue popping up when you least expect them. Deal with them head on & it will give you the strength to be able to overcome whatever it thrown at you along the way.

  7. Mindless musing & journalling is a great tool to use to get out all the mindless chatter out of your head that is distracting you from your goal. When we defrag and get rid of all the mental chatter in our mind we make room for fresh ideas. So if you feel stuck, write down everything on paper (without re-reading it) and get it out of your head. It doesn't matter what it is or how silly it sounds, just get it out and burn it or throw it in the garbage so you can get back to your goals and getting clear with what you really want.

Failure after all is not the opposite of success, it's part of the success so the more we can master failing, the more we can master learning.

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