“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you somebody who has never achieved much.“ – Joan Collins
If there’s one cliché that keeps popping up in popular culture, it’s that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Like all good pieces of advice, it’s encouraging, very broad in meaning and sounds beautiful in theory.
In practice, however, there’s a few hurdles on your way.
Getting out of your comfort zone means challenging yourself, and that means trying out new things. Inevitably, you’re going to fail at some of them, and this is where the journey stops for most people. As inescapable as it is, many people fear growth, paralyzing themselves, unable to achieve their full potential.
However, failure is the key to development and becoming the best version of yourself. Everyone goes through failures – our team at Chanty is no exception. Only by failing repeatedly, we were able to find solutions that work for us.
Here are some of the ways you can overcome your fear of failure and grow as a person.
Realize there’s only so much you can control
One of the major reasons why people hate failure is the feeling of helplessness. You do your best, putting in enormous effort, not knowing whether your effort will be fruitful. The feeling of an external deciding factor is enough to drive away even the bravest of us – and we get scared of failing.
Imagine planning a large outdoors corporate event for your company in the middle of autumn. You have the guest list ready, catering is at the spot, the musicians, waiting staff… But the event may fail if it rains. While you did your best to manage all other aspects, you can’t hope to influence the weather.
Think of anything outside of your influence as the weather in this situation. Do your best with those things that you can influence and don’t worry about those things you cannot control – just hope for the best-case scenario. Once you single out those things that you can actively work on to get closer to your desired goal, you will know exactly what can and cannot affect whether you fail or not.
Regrets or failures?
When faced with a difficulty we have to overcome, many of us think about the failure. Whether it’s approaching someone you like, starting out a new business or presenting a new idea to your boss, the fear of failing is enough to stop the bravest of us in our tracks.
On the flip side, there is regret. As much as you fear making a bold move, regretting a move you haven’t made at all is often times much worse. As you’re thinking about making a move where you may fail, consider this – what will hurt more 5 years from now, failure or regret?
In one major research, for 76% of participants, their biggest life regret was not taking an action that would have helped them become their ideal self. In other words, an action they could have failed in.
Focus on the destination
“The ends justify the means“ – another saying that you’ll hear all around you from those who won’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their dreams. However, if you don’t take the message too literally, there’s a profound wisdom hidden inside.
For example – you want to get a scholarship that will let you finish your college with ease. There’s a chance that you may fail, disappointing yourself and your loved ones.
Instead of focusing on the failure, focus on the outcome – the scholarship. As you keep it in mind, tackle smaller tasks that will help you reach your destination. As soon as you shift your mindset from failure to the goal, you can achieve once you succeed, you won’t be afraid to fail any more.
Take it one step at a time
Reading a research paper and taking notes or getting a PhD in linguistics – which of these two seems easier and more doable? The first one, of course, because it’s a fraction of the second goal.
What drives our fear of failure a lot of times are goals which are immense and scary to comprehend. Buying a new house, moving to a new country, getting your business off the ground… These goals are so complex that even the bravest of us get a bit anxious when thinking about them.
However, all of them have one thing in common – they can be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Once you dissect a bigger goal into smaller steps you can achieve each day, your fear of failure will be virtually gone.
Whatever you’re attempting to do at the moment, ask yourself: What’s the one thing I can do right now that will get me closer to my goal?
Use it as a learning opportunity
In 1995, J.K. Rowling was an unfamiliar name in the world of literature and pop culture. With a script called Harry Potter, she approached 12 publishers, hoping someone would have faith in her work. All 12 of them declined. Finally, one publishing house accepted to publish Harry Potter – and the rest is history.
As this case and many others prove, failure is a natural part of growing and walking the path to success. In fact, the most successful people are not those who haven’t failed at all. It’s those people who failed enough times to learn from their errors and earned the knowledge and strength to succeed in the long run.
Embrace failure as part of the learning process and think of it as a small step towards your desired goal. Not a step back, mind you – just a natural progression to getting where you truly want to be.
Embrace failure and grow
In order to truly eliminate your fear of failure, you need to embrace it as part of the lifelong process of learning and becoming a better person. Only by letting yourself fail repeatedly can you learn from experience and explore your true potential.
Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty a simple AI-powered team chat. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 9-year experience in digital marketing field, Olga is responsible for Chanty’s online presence strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts and getting things done to change the way teams communicate and collaborate.