My Fear of Failure
I’m afraid I’m failing. It’s not just a fear of failure. I really think I’m failing. Failing at being a blogger. Yes. I’m telling you the truth. This isn’t a story. It’s real life.
Why do I think that you ask? I know – I’m doing all the things I know I shouldn’t do. The messages I am sending myself are wrong and I am listening to them.
- The site isn’t getting any more subscribers. I hear everyone else talk about 1000’s of subscribers and I don’t yet have 100. I’m doing something wrong.
- Many people come to the site but don’t subscribe. I guess they don’t like what they are reading.
- The flowers on the front are all wrong. I shouldn’t have gone with them even though I liked them. That was stupid and I don’t know how to change it or what to change it to.
- Nana is too old to be doing something like this. No one wants to listen to an old lady.
- I need to do videos, I think, but don’t have the equipment to do them – I don’t even have a smartphone.
- Five months I’ve been in business here and there have only been a few comments. Nobody even cares enough to complain.
- Everyone says it takes time, but how long is that? Do I really have to do this for a year to see any results?
Yes. All these messages were going through my head and I was sitting here – procrastinating doing anything. Why bother to write? I didn’t want to take any action. What would my family say? I was afraid to tell my husband that I’d spent this time and money doing something totally worthless.
Time to Talk to God about My Fear of Failure
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I am a ‘pray-er’. Time to get down on my knees.(not literally, as I wouldn’t be able to get up).
God has always answered my prayers for help. Not always the way I want, and not always as quick as I want – but always an answer. This past week when I got my first comment, it spoke of that “Fear of Failure” and I knew it was time to do a post about it. The comment was made about last week’s post on “All Aboard- Destination Procrastination”. And I must admit, my talking about procrastination last week was really related to this topic today. I knew God was giving me a nudge.
Time for some research
I did quite a bit of research on the topic. One of the places I’ve found on the web that has wonderful information is “Wiki-how” and there’s where I found a great article:
wikiHow to Overcome Fear of Failure
The article is well worth reading if you ever experience this situation. I’m just going to relate the suggestion topics they go into.
- Reframing Failure
a) Recognize failures as learning experiences.
When people are mastering a skill or project, failure is a necessary part of the learning process. Learning requires exploration and creativity, and both of these approaches offer the opportunity to learn what doesn’t work, as well as what does.
b) Re-evaluate your approach.
Often times, when a result doesn’t match our expectations, we are tempted to mark the attempt as a failure. This is “all or nothing” thinking, and it’s a distortion of healthy thinking that encourages you to judge everything in absolute terms, rather than examining them in a nuanced way
c) Take things slow.
Rushing into new ventures without any personal preparation can make things worse. You will need to work through your fear or failure at your own pace, without pushing too far outside your comfort zone all at once.
d) Be kind to yourself.
Don’t mock your fears, they are there for a reason. Work with your fears, treating yourself sympathetically and with understanding. The more you learn about why you have these fears and what causes them, the better you can work with them.
e) Take notes.
Learning from the past is critical to building a better future for yourself. Keep careful track of what worked, what didn’t, and why. Plan any future actions in accordance with what you have learned from past actions.
- Working With the Fear of Failure
Often times the fear of failure is only a general understanding of what we are truly afraid of. If this fear of failure is examined, it may be discovered that there are other fears underlying it. These specific fears can be addressed and worked with, once identified.
b) Avoid personalizing and overgeneralizing failure.
It can be easy to see something that you interpret as a failure and extend that lack of success to yourself. You may also take a single instance of failure and apply it to your whole life and self. You might think, “I’m a loser” or “I’m worthless at this” because your efforts are not having the results you hope for. While this is common, it is not helpful, and it isn’t true, either
c) Reject perfectionism.
Some people believe that perfectionism is the same as healthy ambition or standards of excellence, but on the contrary, perfectionism can actually cause Perfectionists are often obsessed with the fear of failure. Often, they categorize anything that does not meet their unreasonably high standards as a “failure.” This can lead to things such as procrastination because you are so worried about your work being imperfect that you can never finish it. Set healthy, ambitious standards for yourself and acknowledge that sometimes, your work won’t quite meet them.
d) Stay positive.
It can be quite easy to focus on past failures and let them prevent you from future success. Instead of focusing exclusively on how badly things seem to have gone, focus on what went well and what was learned.
e) Keep developing.
If you are fearful of failing at a new task or are worried about failing a familiar one, you can keep your skills up to date to help with this. By practicing your skills and demonstrating to yourself that you are competent in whatever area you focus on, you will boost your self-confidence. Acknowledge what you do well, as well as the areas in which you can further develop.
f) Take action.
The only true failure is the one that happens when you never even try. Taking the first step is generally the most difficult; however, it is also the most important. It is natural to feel afraid and uncomfortable when trying something new. You can take some steps to help you deal with this discomfort
g) Expose yourself to failure.
By actively exposing yourself to failure, you will learn that failure is not as frightening as you may believe it to be. This is a technique known as exposure therapy and it can be used to lessen the effects of fear in your life.
- Beating Negative Thinking
This helpful acronym can help you avoid reacting with immediate fear in situations. When you encounter that fear of failure, practice the following:
Stop what you are doing.
Take a deep breath
Observe what is going on.
Pull back for perspective.
Proceed based on your principles.
The information here and in the remainder of the article spoke so clearly to me about what I was going through – and more so, what I needed to do to get myself out of this funk.
God Speaks Loud and Clear to Conquer My Fear of Failure
The thing I love about my relationship with God is that when He wants me to listen to Him, He speaks VERY loud and clear. In addition to coming across the article above, in that same day’s email, I got the following story which I have permission to share with all of you.
At my recent Keynote Concert, I wanted to do
something so drastic that it would impact and
inspire my audience to face their biggest fears.
To do this…
I knew I had to lead by example, so I faced MY
biggest fear, right there on stage. Here’s what
I shared how, at 10 years old, I was in a piano
recital at the grand auditorium of Phoenix College.
There were 4 other kids my age who were giving
impeccable performances and I was going last.
I sat down at the piano, nervous and scared
that the worst would happen. And then it did.
Just a few seconds into the piece that I had
memorized, my mind went blank. Recalling the
lesson that my father had taught me to never
stop playing when things go wrong, I kept on.
The sad thing is…
I was improvising, but it was an absolute train
wreck. I kept playing and playing, wanting only to
run off stage in tears. And when I got to the
catastrophic end of the song…
The most defining silence filled the room. In that
moment, I looked up and saw the disappointed
look on my piano teacher’s face that reinforced
my feelings of failure. That was the last time I
played piano in public for the next 25 years.
After sharing that childhood story during my
recent keynote concert, I told the audience that I
was ready to face my 25-year fear and play piano
for them on stage for the first time since that
dreadful day. As the lights dimmed, I sat down at
the piano and…
My heart started pounding, my fingers started
shaking, and I took a deep breath. And then, I
started playing one of my new songs, and as I
sang into the microphone, I felt like all of those
years of anxiety came soaring out of me.
And after playing the piece flawlessly, I hit the final
note, stood up with my arms in the air, and felt like
I just conquered the world! Indeed, I had conquered
MY world. And then…
The audience went crazy, and I could see my mom
and my wife with tears in their eyes. Right there, in
that moment, I had broken through my fear and it
was even more exhilarating than I ever imagined it
would be. And now…
I’m here to tell you that it’s time to pick YOUR
biggest fear around your goals or your passion and
face it head-on. Why? Because…
It’s the very thing that’s been holding you back. It
might be around getting it out there, networking,
contacting people, making more money, success,
or being rejected. You see…
I love being on stage, speaking and performing.
It’s my home. But playing the piano in public was
the scariest thing to me. Until I did something
about it. Now, are you ready to conquer your
I know, it’s easy for me to say. But, that’s why I
volunteered to go first. Now, it’s your turn. I’m
behind you on this and I want you to know that…
It’s time now, yes? Go forward, superstar. Go
Be the dream,
Tiamo De Vettori * Founder/CEO Be The Dream Unlimited, Inc. * P.O. Box 502004, San Diego, CA 92150 * Support@BeTheDreamUnlimited.com * 760-364-6731
I’m hoping that this post has helped you as much as it helped me. Know that I am going forward and I pray you are joining me on the journey. This is my Opportunity and I’m taking you with me to find yours.
Love, Hugs, and Prayers,