It’s not uncommon for people to fear “messing up” on a big project or in trying to reach a major goal. In some cases, a mild fear of failure can be a motivational tool. However, when that fear takes over your life and ends up in the driver’s seat, it can completely strip your confidence and sense of self-worth. As a result, you might struggle to think you’ll ever measure up. This can lead to other negative thoughts and can contribute to anxiety.
Even thinking about failing might make you feel embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed. It can lead to avoidance of trying anything new, and it can even negatively impact your professional and personal life.
So, what can you do to cope with a fear of failure? How can you gain confidence and take control of your life once again? Let’s cover a few helpful solutions.
1. Understand the Cause
Emotions demand to be felt. What you do in response to them is what counts. So, instead of trying to deny your fear or suppress it, accept it. Once you do, you can start to think about what’s causing it.
Fear stems from somewhere. Even irrational fears can feel very real within your mind. So, when you feel that fear of failure taking hold, think about what’s causing it.
Have you failed in the past? Were you in a humiliating situation? Were you brought up to believe that failing is unacceptable? Finding that root cause is the first step in building back your confidence and coping with the present.
2. Change the Way You See Things
Failure often gets labeled as something negative. For someone with a fear of failure, it might be one of the most negative words in the English language. One way to cope is to shift your perspective on what failure really is.
Some of the most successful people of all time went through incredible failures before becoming successful. They kept going because they were able to keep a positive perspective. You want to try to think of failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. You also can consider it as a temporary situation instead of a permanent outcome.
3. Allow Yourself to Fail
Many times, the idea of failure keeps you “chained” to your fears. Your expectations of perfection are so high that just thinking about failing causes you to feel very anxious.
By letting go of those ideas and allowing yourself to fail, or even just do something not perfectly, you might find that it’s not as bad as you originally thought. Allowing yourself to fail will also show you that you can get back up again and do something better.
4. Break Down Your Projects
Fear typically becomes worse when you have a daunting or overwhelming task ahead of you. One way to fight back against that fear and build your confidence is to break up your projects or goals into smaller chunks.
To do this, make a list of the things you want to accomplish and the steps you’ll take to get there. Each time you complete a step, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ll also see that you don’t need to be as worried about failing. Each completed step will boost your motivation to move forward until you’ve finally reached your goal and fear is in the rearview mirror.
5. Practice Mindfulness
The term mindfulness gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but it’s more than a buzzword. It’s a practice that allows you to focus on the present moment and nothing else. A fear of failure involves being focused on the future. Being mindful and focused on the present can help you combat the overwhelming feelings of fear and failure.
When you practice mindfulness, focus on nothing more than your breathing and surroundings. Thoughts will continue to come and go—including negative ones. Let them pass you by, rather than hanging on to them.
Learning how to cope with a fear of failure is possible. If you’re struggling with this, feel free to contact me. Anxiety and fear don’t have to control your life, and seeking the help you need can be an important step in gaining confidence.