It’s human nature to think we will fail. Whether past failures haunt us, reminding us what could have been, well-intentioned friends try to protect us from falling, or others try to crush our dreams, we all, at one time or another, face the fear of failure.
“You can’t do that.” “It’s not possible.” That’s what they say. That’s what we tell ourselves.
The fear of failure is real, and, in many ways, understandable. No one wants to blunder in front of others, to be unsuccessful, to have friends and family see their collapse.
But as scary as failure is, there is something that scares many of us just as much. It is the fear of success.
Success conjures up images of shiny new cars, bigger homes, and names scrawled in bright lights across a well-known theater. (Or whatever you think of when you think of success.) But thinking of success also sends images to our brains that stop us from achieving our dreams.
I was once afraid of success. I wondered if it would hurt my family when I climbed the corporate ladder. I wondered if it would hurt me if I became more successful. I often wonder where those images arrived from, whether from too many stories, late-night movies, or just my own wild imagination. Whatever it was, my fear of success was very, very real.
And it stopped me from living my life.
We all have dreams and goals we’d like to accomplish. It could be losing weight, training for a marathon, finding a job, or writing a book. But we often stop before our dreams become reality. We stop because of fear, of failure, and success.
If you are stopped dead in your tracks, afraid of failing or succeeding, I encourage you to read these few steps that have helped me along the way. I hope they help you as well.
Steps to conquer Fear of Failure and Fear of Success:
1. Recognize your fear. Accept it. Acknowledge it. It is real.
2. Believe in yourself. Believe in what you are trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter who says you can do something, and it certainly doesn’t matter who says you can’t. You must believe in YOU.
3. Remember, no one can predict your success or failure. Not even you. But if you never try, you will never know.
4. Recognize failure for what it is, one more stepping stone on the way to success.
5. Be afraid. Own your fear. Then use it to conquer and move forward. Fear can be an enemy, or it can be a motivator. You choose.
6. Never give up. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
Fear of success. Fear of failure. Both are real. Both can be conquered.
A few quotes to inspire you:
“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” – Tony Robbins
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” –Theodore Roosevelt