Fear of Failure

One big, obvious, fear that stops people from moving forward, growing, and living life fully is Fear of Failure.

Why are we so afraid of failing? What’s the big deal? I think there are a number of aspects to this issue, but it seems that underneath it all is a core of shame. “What will they think of me if I fail?” We feel afraid that others will see us as we sometimes see ourselves: bad, damaged, inferior.

Another contributing factor is having an improper perspective. We, in general, as a society, tend to see failure as an identity rather than an experience. What that means is this: if we try and do not succeed, we ARE a failure. It becomes our identity. “I am a failure.” Not true, but this is how most people relate to things that don’t go the way they think they should have gone.

The proper – life affirming – perspective is to see our experiences as lessons, opportunities to grow. Then, when things don’t go the way we had hoped, we look at what happened and learn from it, instead of giving into the self-pity and powerlessness that come with fear of failure.
What is there to learn? What do we need to grow? Certainty of Self. The ability to live life on life’s terms. Our capacity to love. To become Bazooka-Proof. When that’s the end game, there is no failure if things don’t work out, just an AFGE (another freaking growth experience). The more you embrace growth, the stronger you become and the more powerfully you face life’s challenges.

Exercise: List three big “failures” in your life. Did you perceive those failures as reflecting poorly on you? How? Now turn it around: in what ways did those/could those experiences strengthen you? What did you learn? How can you apply that in your life now?

For more on shame, go to: Shame, The Real Relationship Killer