7 Steps to Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Sep 06, 2023
7 Steps to Overcoming the Fear of Failure
By: Brooke M. Dukes

The fear of failure can be one of the most powerful hindrances to our success, mostly because of all the looming “What ifs?” that are riddled in the uncertainty of trying something new. We can hardly stomach the shame and embarrassment that will be waiting for us on the other side of our comfort zone! Fearing failure can wear many masks, like procrastination, avoiding challenges, perfectionism, self-doubt, and risk aversion, just to name a few. As children, we’re taught to “shoot for the stars” when it comes to our aspirations and ambitions, yet somewhere along the way, fear of the unknown is pulling us right back down to Earth. 

Here’s a “What if?” you can try on for size: What if you embraced fear of failure with a big ol’ bear hug and treated it as a massive opportunity for you to grow and become more? The truth is, staring fear in the face, overcoming worry, and crushing your goals in spite of feeling inadequate is one of the most exhilarating, confidence-building risks you can take. In fact, it doesn’t have to be risky at all if you’re approaching it with a growth mindset.

Here are 7 easy steps to overcoming the fear of failure:

  1. Embrace growth: Failure is a natural part of learning, and every setback is an opportunity for a comeback. Adopt and cultivate a growth mindset to help you treat challenges as a chance to evolve and expand.
  2. Celebrate your successes:No matter how small they may seem, your courageous steps toward progress deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated. As the saying goes, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
  3. Set realistic expectations: Establish achievable milestones that align with your values and priorities  to help you stay motivated on your journey to success. Shooting for the stars happens one shot at a time, so keep it real.
  4. Seek solid support: Surround yourself with encouraging people who want nothing more than to see you win. Nothing beats having a rock-solid network of friends, family, peers, and mentors to pick you up when you’re feeling down. 
  5. Take calculated risks: Weigh your options, identify the pros and cons, commit to a strategy, then jump. Why dive off the deep end without a life jacket when you could be building valuable confidence, knowledge, and skills with a well thought-out plan? 
  6. Master your mistakes: Mistakes can be seen as a natural part of the iterative process of improvement, building resilience and perseverance. Treat every hiccup as an opportunity to refine your approach, make adjustments, and keep your eyes on the prize.
  7. See the silver lining: Perspective is everything. In the face of failure, remind yourself that you’re human and using only 1% of your brain’s capacity. Be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you’d be with your best friend, because wouldn’t they deserve it?

Venturing out of your comfort zone and into new territory can be scary, but nothing good comes easy. When you encounter setbacks and learn from your mistakes, you develop the ability to bounce back, adapt, and keep moving forward, one courageous step at a time. Using the 7 steps to overcome the fear of failure, you can empower yourself to take risks, celebrate your growth, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment in every area of your life.

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