Hands up if at some point in your startup journey you have experienced a fear of failure?
Yep, I definitely have! In fact it is something that continually cripples me in my business. As a child/young adult, I was a high achiever and somewhere along the line I learnt that when I ‘succeeded’ (won awards, running races or was voted sports captain) I was good, worthy and loveable.
Now as an adult entrepreneur, I find myself constantly striving for success, achievement and standout performances. On one hand it does me wonders; I set myself goals and I go, go, go until I make them happen and feel a sense of pride and achievement when they come to life. On the other hand though, when instant success isn’t possible or I don’t hit a target or goal I was aiming for, I experience a deep sense of self judgement.
As a result I can end up in a rut of unworthiness, victim mentality and low self esteem. My mind begins to doubt my ability to achieve anything at all. I notice the voice in my head that begins to sabotage my efforts and I end up not achieving anything.
It can be a vicious and dangerous cycle to fall into and sometimes it might take me a few days to notice what’s going on. Once I become aware of my pattern there are a few things I do to reset my thought process which I’ve shared with you below.
The important thing here is to remember yourself that fear of failure happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to cripple you or your business growth. The trick is to be able to acknowledge its presence, face it head on and keep moving in the direction of your dreams regardless.
Here are a few simple steps I take to overcome fear in my life and career.
Catch it quick. Fear is a sneaky little bugger and will disguise itself in excuses that look and feel like legitimate reasoning and circumstances. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, stuck, overwhelmed, annoyed, sick in the stomach or fed up, chances are there is something you need to be doing that you’re not. Probably because you're scared. Scared of failing, it not working out, not being in control or not knowing. Either way, it is fear. Notice it, name it and spend time listening to it.
Sit with it. Fear isn’t going to take a holiday anytime soon. If you’re growing you are bound to come up against fear at every new edge you face. When you notice it, take some time to sit down and acknowledge it. Say it out loud, have a conversation with it and see what it sounds like when you truly explore what you think it might be trying to tell you. In my experience, the moment I say it outloud, it loses it’s power over me. I realise how ridiculous it sounds and I am able to let go of the limiting belief.
Re-train your mind. Once you dispel the lies your fear is feeding you, you are in a position to be able to plant positive and empowering thoughts and beliefs in your mind.The next time that the voice of fear appears in your mind you are capable of combatting it before it takes over. How I personally do this is to find what the ‘limiting belief’ is in my mind e.g I’m not good enough and use a counter statement that overrides the lie, something I can truly feel and connect with in my body e.g I can do this, I am enough!