This conversation about fear is one that I have with people every single week. People will email me and say, “I want to do this, but I fear failure.” Whether you have a fear of failure, a fear of success, or want to overcome fear, this post is for you!
Fear is normal
The first thing about fear of failure is that you need to understand that fear is normal. It is a natural response designed to protect us from physical harm and danger.
Outside of danger, fear often manifests itself as self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and anxiety about the unknown. And our minds tend to exaggerate those potential risks to keep us within our comfort zones.
Everyone has some sort of fear
It is normal, and everyone has some sort of fear about success, about starting their business or taking the next step.
We will talk about 7 signs that fear of failure is keeping you from pursuing new opportunities. Then we will talk about how to overcome fear, and steps to take action!
7 Signs That Fear of Failure is Hindering Your Progress
if you find yourself consistently delaying or avoiding tasks or opportunities saying I’m not ready yet, that is a big indicator that fear is holding you back.
2. Lack of decision-making
fear can paralyze you, and make it challenging to make decisions. If you are stuck in a stage of wondering if should I do this, should I not? If you can’t make a decision that can be a sign fear of failure is holding you back.
3. Settling in your comfort zone
fear keeps us in our comfort zones, preventing us from taking risks and new opportunities. If you consistently stay in familiar situations avoiding anything that feels unfamiliar, chances are fear is playing a role in keeping you there.
4. Self-doubt and negative self-talk
fear can manifest as self-doubt and negative self-talk leading you to underestimate your abilities. If you frequently doubt yourself or underestimate your abilities, or believe you are not worthy of success, fear of success is probably at the root of those thoughts.
5. Avoidance of failure
fear of failure can be a significant obstacle. If you avoid taking on new things or new challenges because you fear mistakes, or fear being judged–that is fear holding you back.
6. Physical and emotional symptoms
fear can manifest itself in various physical and emotional symptoms, such as increased heart rate, sweating, nervousness, anxiety, or a sense of unease. If you are having these symptoms when faced with new challenges, that’s a sign of fear.
7. Reflecting on regret
If you take some time to reflect and look back on your life, and feel a sense of regret or unfulfilled potential. That could be a sign that fear of success has a historical presence of holding you back.
3 Steps to Overcome Fear
If you want to overcome fear, here are 3 steps to help you:
1. Recognize fear:
This is going to require self-awareness and reflection. Spend some time reflecting by writing down the different types of fear that are affecting you and manifesting itself in your life.
Write it down
Which ones are affecting you? Write it down, and describe it. Dig a little deeper there.
The downward spiral of doom
The thing to keep in mind is that in almost all instances, the fears that we have are almost all hypothetical situations. (That I call the: what if downward spiral of doom.) They are not all problems worth your time and energy at this exact moment, because they are not real problems right now.
Try to remind yourself that this is not an actual problem or challenge that I am currently facing.
2. Call it out for what it is:
Play devil’s advocate. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”
You can challenge those fears and ‘what ifs’ by gathering evidence to prove those fears wrong.
Gather evidence of success
Find examples of others who have faced similar fears, and achieved success.
I’m going to guess that for many of you, your fear of success is circling back to your fear of failure.
3. Solve the problem:
If that’s the case you need to reframe your thoughts about failure.
Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a part of success. It is a sign that you are on your way to success.
Reframe how you think about fear
Fear of failure is just a challenge or roadblock that you need to overcome.
You get to choose what happens when you face a challenge. Will you throw in the towel or will you see it for what it is? A problem that needs to be solved.
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An example of fear manifestation:
One specific fear I hear from a lot of people is what if this doesn’t work out for me.
Identify the fear as fear of failure.
Reality or hypothetical?
Next, is this a current reality or a hypothetical? Is this a current situation you are facing? No, probably not.
What’s the evidence?
Next, dig a little deeper. What evidence do you have that this won’t work out for you? Have you achieved other things in your life? Use that evidence as support that you can do this too.
Sometimes you might have some evidence that this won’t work for you. For example, some people might say, “I’m not a go-getter” or “I’ve tried X before, and it didn’t work out.” Sometimes there might be evidence that it might not work out for you. In that situation, you need to ask yourself, am I willing to change? Am I willing to go outside my comfort zone and persist through the challenges in this?
Then the so what part? At the end of the day, what will you do if this doesn’t work out? And how will you know it is not working out?
Is it not landing a client, knowing how much to charge, underpricing, or overpricing, or is it bombing the discovery call? No! Those things will probably happen to you when you start a freelance business. I can guarantee it.
Learn from it and move on
Do you know what the “so what” answer is? Learn from it and move on.
If you have a growth mindset, one challenge you face is not the end. And if you are a student in The Live Free Academy, I can be there as your mentor to help you navigate all the challenges and roadblocks you will face.
How to Minimize Your Fear of Failure
I can help to set you up for success by minimizing some of those challenges and roadblocks, helping you brainstorm solutions, strategize, refine your plan, critique your approach, provide feedback on your pitches, and help you go through the decision process to make some decisions so you can move forward.
What you are dreaming of, what you are hoping for, and praying for, lies just beyond your fear.
Let me help!
If you need help exploring or want feedback from me, please send an email to [email protected]. Let me know what your specific fear is. I’m happy to walk through this process with you! I want to help you come to a decision that is best for you and your family.
Want more information about freelancing?
Being ready to overcome fear (whether it is fear of failing or fear of success) can all begin with getting more information.
Or if you want encouragement from other moms and women who have been in your shoes. Read the many Success Stories posted to the website and Live Free blog!