fear of failure

Everyone knows someone who won’t try something new because they are frightened of failing.  It’s kind of understandable.  We are trained from an early age that success is good and failure is bad.  So it is no surprise when someone is frightened of failing.

But what if you are not failing?   What if what you are really afraid of is that you might actually succeed.  Because however bad things are in the place called failure, there is a kind of comfort.  You know this place.  You know what to expect.   But success – success is the unknown, the uncharted.  You are putting yourself out there to be looked at, to be criticised, to be a target.

How will you cope?

Perhaps it is the fear of losing yourself, of becoming someone else and in some way losing your values.  Possibly you grew up with the mantra “money is the route of all evil” ringing in your ears (which is a misquote by the way.  The actual quote is “the LOVE of money is the route of all evil”).  Maybe you are worried that the people who are important to you will in some way feel differently about you?  You think they might resent you, or look at you differently in some way, or accuse you of selling out.

I remember when I first started to share my message with the world via CherylC TV,  and I gave up drinking, one of my friends said, “What’s with the skirts and 20 denier tights? We want the old Cheryl back” (click here to see the tights for yourself!).  Well, the truth was, the “old” Cheryl was a miserable lush, so to be honest I didn’t want her back at all. It did however, spark thoughts of ‘will I lose my friends’?

A saying I once heard helped me out though: “it is not your job to set yourself on fire so someone else can stay warm!”

Or maybe, for you, it is after all – a fear of failure.  Interestingly, the video link above is all about “How to beat the fear of failure”.

Perhaps your inner voice is telling you that even if you can create success, you aren’t good enough to sustain it.  You are an imposter, who doesn’t REALLY now what they are doing, and someone, sometime soon, is going to find you out..

Blimey – this fear of success thing sounds like a lot of work to me.

So what can you do about it?

Well, there are a number of strategies you can put in place to stop the little voice of doom in your head.   When it comes to worrying that you won’t cope with success – remind yourself that if you have been adaptable enough to cope with failure, you are certainly resourceful enough to deal with success.  And with the extra money, network and confidence boost that success brings, you will be just fine.

If it’s the fear of selling out, or becoming a different person that’s your worry, then first off you need to accept that in life you are never going to please all the people all the time.  Even staying as you are is not going to do that.  So get over it.  And in terms of changing – well yes, success will change you.  But you are not going to stop being you.  There is a bit more to it than that.  There may be people who don’t like the change – but you can’t let them stop you.

It’s like the old wife’s tale about crabs.  The story goes that if you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket and one tries to crawl out the others will pull them back in.  Well, I have never seen a bucket of crabs so I can’t tell you if that is true or not, but what I can tell you is the metaphor is true.  There are people who will want you to stay the same, whether because they are trying (they think) to protect you, or whether out of jealousy or insecurity – it will happen.  And I’m telling you, you need to ignore them.  They are the ones with the problem not you.  Don’t allow their fear to become your fear.

And if you are – like many people – suffering from imposter syndrome, then know this.  There may be some successful people who know more than you, but there are sure as hell successful people who know less than you.  You ARE good enough.  Does that mean you have to be perfect?  NO!   Does it mean you will never make a mistake?  I certainly hope not.  Because you see, making mistakes is not failing – it is learning.  How can you learn to do anything without making mistakes?  It would be impossible.  How many times does a baby fall over when learning to walk?  Are they mistakes?   No, just learning experiences.

You absolutely, categorically and emphatically CANNOT become successful or maintain your success without making mistakes.  So – get over yourself.  Stop denying to the world, what you uniquely have to give.  Stop being selfish and wallowing in your fear.  Success is as much your right as anyone else’s.  You will be able to contribute more fully and help more people when you accept your success and build upon it.

And remember – FEAR is just False Evidence Appearing Real – so you can either “Face Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise” –  (Zig Ziglar) – the choice is yours!

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