Afraid of Failure? How to Successfully Overcome the Fear and Do It Anyway
"I really want to fail"... said no one ever. Most of the clients I work with are trying to avoid failure at all costs. And it ends up keeping them from showing up boldly and authentically because they are so busy tiptoeing around their business - afraid to make even a single mistake.
Instead of going full steam ahead with their vision and mission, they move tentatively - and wonder why they never quite seem to reach their goals.
Here’s the thing, Failure is NOT the opposite of success. Failure IS PART of success. Every failure contains a lesson that lets you refine what you're doing so you can move forward smarter and stronger. There's an idea called "Failing Forward". It means to keep moving through failure, while using the lessons to fuel your motivation, actions and success. It's about embracing the fail and knowing that it's never final - unless you choose to give up.
If you’re reading this, I have a feeling you’re not the type who wants to quit after the first, tenth, or even one-hundredth failure. If you know your calling and want nothing to stop you from crossing the finish line, let’s talk about moving forward despite the fear.
And because even coaches deal with the fear, I’m sharing how I overcame this exact challenge to go bigger in my business.
This week my first episode went live on YouTube and it was quite a journey to get there. My inner saboteur kept poking her nose into my business and she slowed me down in a bunch of ways:
- Procrastinating for 6 months before doing my first video shoot
- Holding onto the raw video footage for over a month while I fretted about what to do
- Being ultra-judgmental while watching myself on video as I went through the editing process
- Stressing the need to have the perfect cover art and background music
Over a month after the video shoot, I was still clinging to the raw footage, hiding it away in a folder on my laptop, when the inevitable happened.
I was taking part in a coach training program and somehow I got volunteered as the first “coachee” for a coaching skills demo. My mentor-coach got to the crux of the matter quickly: My obsession with the idea that there’s just not enough time to work a full-time day job and run a successful coaching business.
By the end of the session, I was admitting that I was using time as a security blanket to stay small and in my comfort zone, and I was very adept at finding a variety of time-wasting activities that allowed me to ignore the important work.
And that’s when it happened… At the end of the session, she asked me the million dollar question: “Are you committing to going live with your YouTube channel?”
Caught up in the rush of the moment, I answered with a resounding “YES!” and committed to making the thing I was afraid of happen - in front of 28 peer coaches (no pressure!).
Two weeks later, my YouTube channel is live, with new content slated to drop every week. And I’m learning I DO have the time after all.
And you know what?
It’s rough, it’s messy – it’s far from perfection. And that’s okay. Every expert was once a beginner and the messy bits are where the learning happens. I have no doubt I’m going to make mistakes and have some epic fails along the way, but I made a conscious decision to not let that stop me from fulfilling my mission.
And here's a bonus... making the choice to not fear, but to embrace failure as part of the journey takes an awful lot of pressure off yourself and makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
So how did I overcome the fear of failing?
I did it anyway.
Here’s how you can do it too, in 4 straight-forward steps:
- Become Aware: What is the underlying reason/excuse you’re using to stay in your comfort zone?
- Shift Your Perspective: What if this isn’t true? How else can you see the situation?
- Go Public: Make a proclamation of what you’re doing with others (the more, the merrier!)
- Build in Accountability: Set a deadline, put it on the calendar and take action. (It doesn’t hurt to have an accountability buddy to help you stay on track).
If you have something big that you’re dreaming of doing, but you keep finding excuses to stay small, it’s time to flip the narrative and go big.
Make friends with your fear and do it anyway. Remember, when you take action, that's where the magic happens.
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