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Overcoming Fear of Failure

Even the most senior CEO can become “paralyzed” by fear of failing. This is not unique to people new to business.

Engaging in a new endeavour can cause concern about the quality of performance. Does that mean business professionals should stick to the status quo? Build confidence and proficiency in one area and stick to it?

Surely not…standing still in today’s competitive environment is tantamount to rolling over and giving up. By the same reality, those who take chances also run the risk of being swallowed up “blame and shame” game when they fail the first or hundred time.

Tenacity is key. Remembering success only happens AFTER the last failed attempt.

However, many entrepreneurs fall into a pattern of planning to AVOID failure, instead of FACING the fear head on. Instead, imagine failure and plan for success.

Here are four steps to consider adding into your daily routine:

Redefine failure. Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations. Try instead to frame the situation differently before the attempt to avoid some stress and anxiety.

Set approach goals (not avoidance goals) based on whether you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome or avoid an adverse one. Creating approach goals, or positively reframing avoidance goals, is beneficial for well-being. When you’re dreading a tough task and expect it to be difficult and unpleasant, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen rather than what you do want.

Create a “fear list” a checklist of what you are afraid to do and what you fear will happen if you do it. Doing this enables you to tackle some hard challenges, resulting, in success.

Focus on learning. Life happens despite all the best plans. The puzzle pieces aren’t always going to align—however, understanding that reality going in, means being prepared to wring the most value out of the experience, no matter the outcome.

Remember:  it’s when you feel comfortable that you should be fearful, because it’s a sign that you’re not stepping far enough out of your comfort zone to take steps that will help you rise and thrive. By rethinking your fears using the four steps above, you can come to see apprehension as a teacher and guide to help you achieve your most important goals.


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