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August 1, 2021

How to overcome the fear of failure


Are you thinking ‘how do I get rid of fear?’… well, fear is a normal part of life and everyone experiences fear. Fear is what keeps us alive at times. It’s how we handle fear that counts. How will you handle fear?
Fear of failure is something that everyone experiences, especially entrepreneurs that I’ve discovered and in myself. We make the smallest fears seem massive as we blow them out of proportion. So today I’m going to list three ways to overcome fear of failure.

The circle of influence v concern
What does this mean? There is a great book called ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey. Within it there is a diagram about the circle of influence and concern, this is often something I bring clients towards. The influence is what you can control or at least influence whereas the concern are things you have no control over.
Examples of the circle of influence are: your actions, your habits, how you respond to people, how you treat others.
Examples of the circle of concern are: the weather, other people’s responses, covid, government decisions.
The problem is a lot of people spend time looking at the circle of concern and spending their attention there. When they have no control over that! Effective minded people spend time focusing their attention on what they can do.
How does this relate to fear of failure? Well a lot of times I remember focusing on the job interview outcome, the outcome from dating and if someone would like me or not. I had no control over these things and my fear would only rise. Now I focus on what I can do in business and my personal life. Learning to consciously spend your attention on what you can focus on is my first point.

Don’t rely on certainty
We worry about starting something until everything is right or we want to be sure. I used to be like this all the time. The truth is though life is short and nothing in this world is certain, you can’t guarantee anything in this life. Failure is inevitable and always likely to happen. So remember this, yes weigh the risk but remind yourself that to progress risk is involved. How would you feel at the end of your life if you waited for certainty for things and never took risks on the fear of failure? I encourage you to think about this.

5 second rule
This is a great technique as in the book ‘The 5 second rule’ by Mel Robbins. The idea is that in the face of fear countdown from 5 to 0 and then do something. This allows the brain to access the prefrontal cortex (logical part of the brain) before the survival part of the brain (limbic system) starts to kick in and stop you. Don’t count up though or this won’t work. I’ve tried this and succeeded so many times whether jumping in the cold shower, speaking to a person I was nervous about talking to or getting on with something I didn’t want to do in general.

The fear of failure is perfectly natural. Our brain will always produce fear. That is its job to protect us but how we manage and overcome the fear of failure is what counts. Focus on what you can do, not the outcome you can’t control and don’t rely on certainty. The final trick we discussed was the 5 second rule, use this to stop overthinking and take action.

Jonny Pardoe
Confidence Coach and Neuroencoding Specialist

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