Whenever you start striving to reach your goals or chase your dreams, that little voice turns up. The one that tells you you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough.
It’s your fear of failure and those lies it whispers can become truths if you listen long enough. No matter how hard you try and ignore it, it can stop you powering forward. The bad news is that it never really goes away. The good news is that according to Tony Robbins, some of the most successful people leverage fear in their lives.
Here are 6 strategies to help you stop your fear of failure sucking the life out of you, and use it to succeed:
1. Accept yourself
When you fight something you give it power, and trying to control your fear will make it stronger. Instead, when you feel it, close your eyes and look inwards. Use a little acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Stop judging and start feeling and observing what’s happening in your body.
Detach yourself slightly from what’s going on and just observe what you feel and where you feel it. Is it a cold lump in your stomach? Is it pressure in your head? If you do this for a minute or two you’ll feel a sense of calm acceptance, and the power will deflate. With practice, you’ll begin to think “that’s just my fear of failure”, and be able to move on.
“Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself.” – Tyra Banks
2. Control your thoughts
We all have random, crazy thoughts that pop into our minds from time to time but we dismiss them because they’re really wacky. The problem is that we don’t do the same for more reasonable, but unhelpful thoughts.
The next time you get one of those thoughts defuse it so you can let it go. Pretend you’re dealing with an unhelpful teenager and tell it, “Thanks, mind”, then move on to a more positive thought.
This also helps if you start thinking “I can’t do this”. You can simply thank your mind for the thought and then consciously ask yourself “HOW can I do this?” Changing the statement to a question will put your brain into problem-solving mode so you’re more likely to come up with solutions.
3. Find your triggers
Do certain situations trigger negative thoughts and feelings? Maybe checking your Facebook feed is discouraging because everyone seems so successful. Maybe being around certain people makes you feel inadequate.
If you notice patterns like this then take steps to stop doing those things, or being around those people. If you can’t stop immediately, take steps to withdraw. For example, if your job gets you down and you can’t leave immediately, put an exit strategy in place. Start an active campaign to leave the workplace and begin something new.
Taking the steps to get out of negative situations will give you a feeling of control, and boost your confidence.
4. Believe in yourself
Feeling overwhelmed by your goals? Convinced you’re not good enough to take on the world? Try focusing on the here and now. Pay attention to little things you can achieve today and ignore the big picture for now.
Long-term plans can overwhelm everyone, the trick is to make sure it doesn’t immobilise you. Focus on the piece of the project that you can achieve now. Believe that you’ll be ready for each step as it arrives.
5. Appreciate yourself
Start an appreciation diary. This is similar to a gratitude diary but different. Each day list three or more things that you’re proud of. This is a place to note all the things you’ve done well – a way of congratulating yourself.
Practice patting yourself on the back, to reinforce the things you’re pleased about and you’ll start to feel stronger and more successful.
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey
6. Question the ‘signs’
Don’t wonder if the universe is trying to send you a ‘sign’. Things are what they are – we add meaning that’s often not there. The weird thing is that we don’t do it over the day to day stuff. If your favourite coffee shop is closed for renovations you don’t think it’s a sign that you should give up coffee.
You just go somewhere else for coffee. So apply the same mindset to other setbacks you experience. Don’t think of them as a sign from the universe.
They’re a plot twist in your story, not a sign you’re on the wrong path. Ignore them and stick to your dreams.
Use these tools and release your fear of failure and start your path to success today. I know that you can do it. And so do you.