Afraid of Failure? Here's Advice on Coping with Failure

Fear of failure causes us to put the brakes on our life. When we’re so afraid of failing at something, we either don’t try at all, or we subconsciously undermine our own efforts to avoid an even bigger failure. Without question, fear of failure is immobilizing and, when we allow it to dictate our choices and sit on the sidelines, we miss great opportunities and the potential for success.

Signs of Fear of Failure

While none of us like to fail at anything, here are some signs that fear may be reducing the quality of the life you have  by way of limiting you to step into opportunity:

A reluctance to try new things

Self-sabotage in the form of procrastination or failure to follow through with goals.

Low self-esteem or self-confidence. 

The thing to remember with failure is, it’s all a matter of perspective. We are the ones who ultimately decide how we want to think about failure. We have two choices. We can either think of failure as:

‘Proof’ of inadequacy, or…

An awesome learning experience.

When we fail, we are given powerful lessons that help us to grow as people. In this way failure is like manure – some people see it as a nutrient-rich fertilizer while others see it as a pile of, well, you get the idea.

The bottom line is, failure stops us only if we let it. Did you know Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basket player of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skills? Jordan could have let fear of future failure stop him from becoming a legend, but he didn’t.

You don’t have to let fear of failure stop you from becoming a legend in your own life. Here are some ways you can cope:

Separate Your Identity from Failure

Most of us blur the lines between a personal failure and our overall identity. Just because you haven’t tasted success yet doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Making failure personal can take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.

Rely on Logic, Not Emotions

As I mentioned, you can learn an awful lot from failure, but in order to do so, you have to look at the failure logically, even analytically, suspending emotions of regret, frustration, and anger. Become a scientist and ask yourself questions: Why did you fail? Was the failure totally out of your control? What might have led to a different outcome?

Each time you fail, you are one step closer to your success. How would it be to try on a new way of thinking about something that didn't go as YOU planned? What would it be to think of "failure" as practice toward obtaining success?

Don’t Give Your Power to Other People

Fear of failure is often rooted in a need to seek approval from others. We fear if we fail, we will be harshly judged by others and lose their respect. But when we care more about what other people think of us, we give our power away. What other people think about you is not necessarily the truth about you.

Sometimes when our fear of failure is so great, it helps to talk to someone who can help you gain a new perspective on it. 

I welcome helping you to think about the experience of failure in a whole different light by learning to embrace it and (I know this is odd) give thanks for it. If you always experience success, chances are you can't articulate how you accomplished it. What meaning does that have for you? Through failure and the lesson it provides you, your ultimate success is reached by all the breadcrumbs "failure" has left for you to follow and reach your destination. And how much sweeter is that!

Are You Ready to Get Started?

I welcome you to click the button below and schedule a time to spend 30- minutes with me, no cost to you as my gift, to experience being coached.

On the call we will:

  • Help you get started on tackling a challenge you are dealing with;
  • Discuss the benefits of working together, and
  • You will walk away with at least 1 coaching tool and strategy that you can immediately put into action!

For FAQ regarding coaching, please feel free to click on this link:

Schedule an Appointment