Living in a perfectionist culture isn’t easy and as a result, we are raised with a subconscious fear of failure (or rather, not being perfect) that affects our ability to take risks and create the life we want for ourselves. It is important for any person who desires to be successful to understand is that success can’t come without a decent amount of failure, and for good reason.
Most people identify success as making a lot of money. You know the saying “money can’t buy happiness” and it is true, but it can buy comfort and conveniences that make life easier, that is for sure.
That being said, success isn’t just about comfort, it is about experience. You can’t be a well-rounded successful person without experience, and the most important aspect of your experience and success comes not from your wins but from your failures.
We need failure in our lives because it is the greatest teacher we know.
Every single person who is making an effort in life and business will experience loss and failures that will have a profound effect on the course of their lives. How you choose to handle failure will determine if you are a victim of your circumstance or a student of life who is going to use those lessons to grow.
Here are a few things to think about with it comes to the fear of failure.
Seek support from loved ones:
Sharing our dreams and passions with people you are closest to seems like a great idea, and I am not saying it isn’t, I am saying you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that you won’t receive the love, support, and encouragement you were hoping for.
Furthermore, you need to stop being upset when you don’t get the support you want from those people because most of the time those people can’t support themselves or their own dreams.
I am telling you this because these experiences create self-doubt and add fuel to the fire that is your fear of failure. “What if you fail?” Is something you will hear, and you need to respond with “What if I succeed?”
I hope you are one of the lucky people who have a healthy supportive family and if you don’t, I want you to know you deserve love and support, and there are amazing people in this world that will root for you if you are willing to believe in yourself and try.
Waiting for the perfect time:
The fear of failure is a tricky and powerful emotion that stops you from creating the idea, business, and life you really want for yourself. The most common way people postpone their lives is by waiting because you can’t fail if you don’t try!
By postponing your dreams and life you attach to the idea of a dream, different life, or success, but you subconsciously eliminate the possibility of failure by waiting for things to be “perfect.”
There is no perfect time or situation to create. Who knows if we will be here tomorrow there is no time to waste, so stop waiting and start creating your magic right now.
Failure doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough:
Where did we get the idea that a mistake was a horrible offense? If you think about it, we are raised to fear messing up or making mistake because there was often times a punishment that followed. With that punishment came shame, disappointment, and embarrassment.
Those emotions are the same ones we as adults attach to failure but just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of greatness. It just means you are inexperienced and if we can let go of the shame, fear, and embarrassment we can see our shortcomings as powerful life lessons instead.
I don’t feel that my failures or mistakes were things that happened to me, I think they happened for me. I am so thankful for those experiences because they have allowed me to make much better choices and to understand people which has been a huge asset to having a successful business.
You are not a victim of your failures, you are a student of life, remember that.
You “failed” now what?
I think it is important to identify what your definition of “failure” is. Is it a loss of money, a failing business, unfulfilled relationship? What is it for you?
Over the years I have realized that there have been times that I tried to force things in my life to happen because that is what I wanted. When in reality, I was forcing something that was not meant for me and that is why I was receiving so many challenges on that path.
Then I went scuba diving with my husband and had an epiphany as we were swimming against a strong current on a deep water dive. I was exhausted, using everything I had to swim against the current and then there would be a break and the current would shift and thrust us forward with ease. From that experience, I can recognize when I am swimming against the current in life and when I am swimming with it!
Not everything we want is meant for us, and being conscious of where your experiences are leading you is important because failure is also a redirection and an opportunity to stop swimming against the current and start swimming with it.
Even if you “Fail” you haven’t failed as much as the people who never try:
You have to keep pushing forward, even when you aren’t sure where you are going and in doing so you need to realize that no matter how slow your progress you are always head of the millions of people who never try. So again, would you say that is failing? I don’t think so. I think the only time you fail yourself is to believe you don’t have what it takes to change your life or be successful because you do.
Greatness is not a birthright, it is simply when a normal person is willing to work harder than everyone else.
If that is you, then you can and will create a pretty amazing life from your blood, sweat, and lots of tears. There will be wins and losses but they will all shape and mold the person that you are becoming. And all of it will be possible because you were brave enough to try.
You will never escape the fear of failure, but you can process it differently and remember that there is no limit to your success. You and you alone are responsible for creating it and the best way to do that is with as much experience as you can possibly get.
Go for it, learn as much as you possibly can, never stop trying, and enjoy the ride because it is going to be a wild one.
What has inspired or motivated you to overcome your fear of failure?
Katie Willcox, model, author, motivational speaker and founder of Natural Model Management.
After dropping down to a size 10, a healthy size for her 5’9 frame, Katie was no longer considered big enough for plus-size modeling. Instead of quitting the industry, Katie decided she wanted to change it and created Healthy Is The New Skinny (HNS), a thriving social movement challenging the modeling industry and public’s perception of “idealistic beauty” that has been created over time.
Making her debut as an author this year, Katie released her book, Healthy Is The New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love In A ‘Picture Perfect’ World, in which she offers a breakthrough approach to healthy body image by exposing the harmful media messaging set in place by the fashion and beauty industries. Katie shares personal stories and experiences as a “plus size” model, girl boss, and overall flawed human being in a perfection-obsessed society.