Credit: Wavebreak Media Ltd.
June 25, 2015
6 ways to overcome fear of failure in business
We all know that getting ahead in your career requires many things: industry knowledge and expertise, experience, a proven track record, being liked by your colleagues and customers, having a good reputation and more. But one of the most common things holding back many people from reaching the success they deserve is the fear of failure.
Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author of Poised for Success: Mastering The Four Qualities that Distinguish Outstanding Professionals, and founder The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says the fear of failure is more common than we think, but overcoming it is very possible.
Here are six tips to start the process:
- Focus on growth – The most successful people will tell you they’ve had more failures than successes, but that’s how they became so successful. Don’t berate yourself when you make a mistake. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that new knowledge and put it to good use. When you make a mistake, reflect, learn, try again and grow.
- Focus on positive self-talk – The things you say to yourself have a significant influence on how you feel and act. When you’re consumed with negative thoughts about your performance, your positive attitude will diminish and be replaced by self-doubt. Practice by keeping a journal and as soon as you catch yourself being negative, write down a positive replacement statement. This takes time to get good at and practice makes perfect.
- Change your approach – Suppose your project doesn’t go as planned the first time around. Don’t give up and walk away. If you hit a roadblock, think through the problem. Could you change your approach? Is the timing off? Take another shot at it and try something different. Sometimes it takes many tries to get it right. The key is to learn from each attempt.
- Ask for help – Next time you make a mistake or feel doubtful about something, ask for help. Sometimes all you need is to bounce a few ideas around with someone you trust. Chances are you know a colleague, friend or mentor who has experienced the exact same situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or request a second opinion.
- What’s the worst that can happen? – When you find yourself feeling fearful, map out all the possible outcomes including the worst case scenario. Try not to let your anxiety affect your view of the situation and always have a “plan B” which will reassure you and boost your self-confidence and eliminate the fear of failure.
- Don’t be concerned what other people think – Are you afraid to fail because of what other people might think? Let go of this negative habit and ask yourself, “Who cares what other people think?” Some of the greatest inventions of our time were scoffed at initially, but did it stop those savvy entrepreneurs from pursuing their idea? Pursue your ideas and passions because you want to, and don’t live your life for anybody else.