We know it, we’ve felt it, it sucks! In fact this very feeling has been what stopped me from finishing this post for so long! Feeling trapped because of a fear of failing! Let’s think about, the fear of failure is actually far worse than actually failing. If you actually fail then at least you have moved forward and done something rather than being stuck in the one fearful spot!
It’s a little like quicksand really, that fear of failure, keeping you bogged down in one place and of course the more you worry, mentally thrash around, the further you begin to sink into that mire of inactivity!
And the worst part… It doesn’t matter how many times someone says to you “oh don’t worry about it” or “you can do it” or “just do your best”, these little platitudes don’t always help, in fact often you either feel like slapping them or at the very least running screaming from their presence.
So what do you do?
Identify it… What does ‘failure’ look like for the task ahead… Really analyse it, what is the worst case scenario? Is it the end of the world? Ok so failing an exam and having to re-do it or repeat a course would suck but it’s NOT the end of the world. To me ‘end of the world’ stuff includes things like death and destruction… Let me just say here if you answer “yes” the worst case scenario ending in death and destruction then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place? Just saying…
Accept it… Accept that the task ahead is big, accept that you may fail, imagine what it may feel like to fail, acknowledge it and accept it. It happens, everyone has experienced failure at some point, so if you do fail at the task ahead you are not alone! Remember that failure also leads to knowledge and learning… Failure isn’t an end it is a redirection!
Plan it… Make a list, what can you do to avoid failure… Keep this list to only the things within your control, e.g. You can’t control the weather so if success or failure were to depend on the weather then there is little you can do. Give yourself every chance of success by setting out a nu her of clear steps that will help you succeed. This will allow you to feel confident in your own ability and will help you to focus on only those things you can control. T a time frame, you don’t want to get stuck on this task for ever so just get in and get it done! Make sure you feel super confident with the steps you have decided on!
Action it… This is the biggie… don’t think… Just do! Don’t labour the process with too much thought (you already did that in step 3) & don’t worry about ‘what ifs’ (that was step 2!). Pick a day & a time to get started, Pop your plan up somewhere you can refer to it as needed and then take a big breath and get going! Keep reminding yourself how good it will feel to get ‘it’ done.
I’ve included a printable ‘cheat sheet’ you can pop up somewhere to remind you of these steps, so what are you waiting for… let’s go!
1. fear of failure_cheat shee…
Next week we will be looking at totally rethinking failure all together so stay tunes…