Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? Many of us have probably experienced this at one time or another. The fear of failing can be immobilizing and therefore resist moving forward.
In this article, we’ll examine fear of failure and techniques for overcoming fear along with what it means and what causes it so that we enjoy true success in work and in life.
It is of utmost important to understand what fear is before venturing into overcoming fear of failure. This fear is a set of irrational beliefs you have about objects, events or your actions. These beliefs control your decisions and actions. The moment you let go of these beliefs and replace them with rational empowering beliefs that are based in reality, the sooner you take back control over your fears.
Sense of Uncertainty
Fear is a sense of uncertainty you have about future circumstances. Uncertainty is nothing more than a lack of information about something. Simply find the information that is lacking, and your fear of uncertainty will disappear.
Fear is a set of distorted expectations you have about future consequences. Quit telling yourself all these stories about what could go wrong, and instead get into the habit of telling yourself stories of how things might work out in your favor.
Fear is a set of distorted memories you have of past experiences. You are essentially using your imagination to exaggerate past events to promote fear in the present moment. Choose instead to think in a way that will help empower you rather than discourage you.
Symptoms of fear
Fear of failure has a hold on your life if you are:
- Indulging in the habit of perfectionism. You get lost in all the details and don’t essentially get around to doing what is really important because you’re afraid of failing.
- Trying to avoid failure at all costs and therefore spending time over-planning and essentially getting nowhere
- Suffering from low self-esteem or low self-confidence.
- You constantly worry about the unknown future
- Unable to take risks or try new things.
- Unable to commit wholeheartedly to the attainment of your goals and objectives.
Overcoming fear and anxiety
Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the threatening thoughts of future, rather than being established in now.
The only way to deal with this fear is to face it. If you find yourself getting more panicky, take a break and find something comforting to do. If you find it difficult to address chronic fears or anxiety on your own, therapists can be of great help.
Overcoming fear of public speaking
Fear of public speaking is very common, with almost 1 in 4 people reporting being anxious when presenting ideas in front of the audience. Being a good public speaker is an essential skill that can help you advance your career, grow your business, and form strong relationships.
The factors that cause fear of public speaking are also the factors that help people overcome it.
Based on that research, here is where to start:
1. Learn how to put your body in a calm state.
A variety of relaxation techniques can reduce the increased physiological activity that the body produces automatically when confronted with situation that causes fear. Relaxation techniques involve learning to control your breathing, to lower your heart rate, and to lessen the tension in your muscles. These techniques work best when paired with gradual exposure to public speaking.
2. Challenge your beliefs about public speaking
Challenge your beliefs about your ability to prepare and deliver an effective and impactful speech. In essence, you are teaching yourself to see public speaking as a non-threatening event that you can learn to handle and to see yourself as a confident speaker-in-progress.
3. Shift your focus from performance to communication.
Train yourself to see public speaking as a situation where you are communicating with people something that you think they will benefit from, instead of thinking of it as a situation where you will be tested and judged. The shift in perspective relieves you of the worry of how you will come across and focuses you on how to best get your message across.
Overcoming fear of driving
Some people say they don’t like driving. If you find that you’re extremely afraid of driving, you may have a phobia of driving. Fear of driving is a common problem, but it’s a problem you can solve. The first step is to identify the specific nature of your driving fear.
The following 5 tips are very useful to overcome this fear
1. Have Someone with You. It may not be that you are nervous about the actual driving, but that you are nervous about driving when you are alone.
2 Take a Driver’s Training Course. One of the main reasons why people are afraid to drive is because they are new drivers, and they are unsure of their driving skills.
3 Stick to Daytime Driving at First. It is a good idea to try not to drive anywhere at night if you can avoid it. You have more to worry about at night because people, animals and other vehicles are much more difficult to see than in the daylight.
4 Get Right Back on That Horse. Many people find that after having an automobile accident, they are terrified to get back in the car and drive by themselves ever again. This is not a good way to be. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be for you to lose your fears. If you get right back at it, you will find that in no time at all, you will not have any fears, and you will enjoy driving once again.
5 Learn To Love Highway Driving. Many people get terrified to drive on highways, especially multiple lane highways. It is best to start out by driving on lesser used highways, and those that are not multi-lane.
Overcoming fear of death
The attitudes that we develop about death as young children inevitably follow us through middle age. Being unprepared for the death of a loved one, children develop an abnormal fear of death and fear the dying process.
Some people are afraid of everything associated with death: bodies, graves, funeral parlors.
Following are useful suggestions to cope with fear of death.
- Use the fear of death as motivation to lengthen your life by practicing healthy habits.
- Open up to gratitude.
- Create a legacy.
- Keep your purpose top of mind.
- Let the knowledge of death help you appreciate the sweetness of life.
- Find social support and talk about your anxieties.
Fear of rejection in relationships
The fear of rejection is an irrational fear that has you convinced that people won’t accept or approve of you due to your opinions, looks, personality or behavior.
No matter what it is, this fear significantly influences your decisions and action. In fact, while under the influence of this fear you will do things that you would normally not do if you didn’t fear rejection.
Fear of rejection in relationships can be particularly challenging, especially to individuals who desire a lasting romantic relationship. Rejection from a romantic partner can lead to feelings of grief that may be overwhelming and can last for months, or even years. Rejection in a romantic relationship might alter the way one views one’s life and one’s own self long after the breakup has occurred.
Adoption of following views help alleviate the fear of rejection in relationships.
- Accept your part in the relationship dynamic.
- Practice being vulnerable in small steps
- Let go of being a victim and positive things will start to happen.
- Develop realistic expectations about intimate relationships.
- Take your time getting to know a new partner before making a commitment.
- Make sure that you have common values and beliefs with people you date.
Books on overcoming fear
We all encounter fear in our everyday life and it is good as long as its purpose is survival. Here I am sharing the sneak peek of some really good books that can help you to get started
1. Fearless Passion by Yong Kang Chan
2. Fearless by Max Lucado
3. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
4. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
5. Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh
Let me end the article with two wonderful quotes for overcoming fear that helped me a lot in life.
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” —Marie Curie