It took me years to overcome my crippling fear of failure. But I don’t let it control me anymore. I embrace my fears now. I am not afraid of fear. I’ve learned that experiencing failure is a like key that you need to unlock the doors of success in life.
This is the secret to overcoming the fear of failure: Failure isn’t bad. Failure can be fun because it can change your life forever.
Failure is not an Egyptian Mummy wanting to hunt you down and steal your soul. Start by standing up to fear today, and scream at it, chase it away, saying, “NO! FEAR OF FAILURE WILL NO LONGER KEEP ME DOWN AND STEAL MY DREAM LIFE FROM ME! I AM GOING TO OVERCOME FEAR AND LIVE MY LIFE!”
Finding the confidence to stand up to my fear has led me to become a limit-pusher in life. I push the limits until I either succeed, or fail, and I have zero fear. If I succeed at something, I push my limits to find more success. If I fail, at something, I pick myself back up, and never take that road again. I realize failure is an essential part of living a successful life. Failure doesn’t scare me anymore! It inspires me. It should inspire you too.
Here is a story that details the five secrets to help anyone overcome their fear of failure:
I took my wife mountain biking for the first time this spring. We joined a trail behind our house and cruised down a gravel path. At the top of a steep hill, I talked her into going down before she was probably ready.
Half way down the hill, her front tire got stuck in a rut and she lost control. I heard her crash off the trail behind me. It freaked me out because I saw her laying down the hill in the weeds with scrapes on her arms, and I didn’t know if she was seriously hurt.
I jumped off my bike, and ran to her. “Are you Ok?”
She yelled back – “You Idiot! Why did you make me go down this stupid hill! I told you I wasn’t ready! I’ve never done this before, and you didn’t care what I had to say!”
I scanned the grassy scene, trying to brainstorm the right response. She slowly stood up and dusted off the gravel from her hands. Fantastic, I thought, she’s not seriously hurt. She just got scared.
“I’m sorry you were afraid,” I said, trying to calm her down, “But it’s important we try new things and learn from pushing ourselves if we’re ever going to accomplish anything great in life. Overcoming small challenges can turn into big achievements if we don’t give up.”
My wife got back on her bike. I could see that the pain on her face was from the frustration of not riding the hill perfectly, and not from a serious injury.
“I have a fear of failing at everything.” She said with tears in her eyes. “And I just failed. I can never do anything right.”
“Don’t worry,” I said as I got back on my bike. “You’re never going to be great at something the first time you try it. Just because you fell, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become great at a new skill. Failure is Ok to fail as long as you learn from it. We’ll keep practicing, and we’ll be better next time.”
We biked all summer together, and by fall, we were ready to try the mountain bike paths again. We planned a 20 mile trip this last weekend, and loaded our bikes onto the back of the car and drove out to the Elm Creek Park Reserve in Minnesota. I could tell that the way my wife looked at the world had changed since earlier in the summer. I could tell she was determined to conquer the fear of failure she’s always had when trying something new. She was tired of feeling beaten, before she even tried.
After biking around a 10-mile loop of paved trails, we reached the entrance of the mountain bike trails. The safe paved-path disappeared, and we stared into the forest where the dirt single-track trails began. Warning signs were posted ahead, marking their difficulty: easiest, moderate, and hardest.
The adrenaline of approaching danger shot through my nervous system, and I got excited. “Let’s take the most difficult one, and see what happens. We probably won’t die.”
My wife shook her head and put her foot down. “There’s no way I’m going down the hardest one right away! Do you ever want me to do this again with you? I’ll try the easiest one first. Then, when I feel more comfortable, we can push ourselves and try a harder ones. It’s the only way I’ll be able to overcome my fear of failing.”
I heard the wisdom in her words, and agreed. We pushed off and rode into the woods. I was frustrated at first because I thought we were going way to slow. But then I saw what was happening. My wife was feeling the trail out. She was getting familiar with the flow of the off-road trail, and the technique she would need to control herself and her speed. She was practicing her skills of overcoming failure when it was easy, so she’d be ready to push herself when the trail got harder. With each hill and turn, and each pedal that pushed her faster, I actually saw her in slow motion gaining confidence and overcoming her fear of failing.
We started to go faster, and I watched the trees gaining speed as they flew past us. Our bikes absorbed the bumps and tree roots, as we started flying up and down the hills. It was so much fun, and we yelled to each other as we chased each other around each thrilling turn. I watched as my wife lost her fear of the trail. She now had the experience and practice to push her limits, and she was having a great time succeeding.
We biked 2 or 3 miles through the forest trails, and we were disappointed when we popped out of the woods onto the paved trails and the adventure was over.
My wife stopped and looked back at me. “That was incredible! I didn’t feel like I was going to fall once!”
I rode up next to her and stopped. “I’m proud of you. After falling the first time, it would have been easy for you to give up and say you’d never try it again. But then, if you would have given into your fear of failure, you would have missed out on the awesome feelings of overcoming it. You earned every bit of the achievement you felt today.”
We put the bikes on the back of the car. On the drive home, we talked about what she learned on the bike trail. These are the five points she identified that helped her overcome her fear of failure. They are also the same points you need to learn if you want to build wealth.
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE LESSON #1: Accept that the fear of failure is OK to have. But don’t let it stop you from trying. ”When I fell on my bike the first time out, I wanted to give up and stay in my safe little bubble forever. But that would have been the easy way out, and I would have eventually died regretting my life. I am learning that failing sometimes is Ok. It’s part of the growing process. When you fail, it doesn’t mean your bad or stupid. Failure is just a sign from God that you aren’t prepared enough, or you haven’t practiced enough to succeed. Success = Being prepared. If you prepare and practice enough, you can overcome any challenges in your future.
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE LESSON #2: Small achievements are the first steps to overcome fear and the mental wall in your mind. Small successes = confidence. Confidence is your ladder to get over your fear. “Taking the most difficult trail right away was not the right way for me to succeed. By learning on the easier trails first, I was able to conquer my fears of falling first. Once I conquered my fear, I gained the confidence to conquer my reality. The secret to overcoming the fear of failure is to overcome fear with small achievements first. Then, once you feel the thrill of success, start pushing your limits and set out to conquer your reality.”
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE LESSON #3: If you let the fear of failure win, you will never be able to win in your life. “After falling off my bike and hurting myself the first time, I was really nervous and afraid of trying again. The minute we got back on the mountain biking trails, the memories of fear flooded my mind and I wanted to give up right away. But I realized that if I let fear win today, I will let fear win for the rest of my life. If I let fear win, I will never have the opportunity to grow and become the person I am destined to be. If I would have let fear win, I would have missed out on this journey to find myself. I would never have discovered that I actually liked this, and was good at this.”
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE LESSON #4: Overcome the fear of failure, and you will find the victories you are destined to have in your life. “Victory has to be one of the best feelings in the world. Success is the feeling of achieving victory over your fears. Victory and success are always waiting for us on the other side of our fears. They are hoping that we don’t give up. Victory and success wants to be our friends. If you’re unwilling to push yourself through the feelings of fear, you’ll never be able to reach the moments of success you are supposed to find.”
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE LESSON #5: By overcoming the fear of failure, you will find the journey to live your life purpose. “Today, I realized that overcoming my fears ultimately shows me what I am capable of. Once I realized what I’m capable of, I looked to find more ways to overcome more of my fears. It almost is like experiencing a moment with God when you overcome a fear and challenge on your journey through life.
Learning how to ride a bike on a mountain biking trail may have seemed like a small achievement to some people. But for me, it was a moment that forced me to confront one of the biggest questions in life: Am I going to push my limits and find my purpose, or am I just going to be safe and allow life to give me what’s leftover? Anytime you can choose the path to overcome your fears of failure, you’ll find yourself on the path to find your purpose in life.
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“We probably won’t die.”
Ha! That may have backfired because of that one little word: “probably” 🙂
Haha. What can I say? I’m not a liar, and I really wanted to go down the steepest hill there and experience it. So I had to think really hard about how I was going to present this idea to my wife to get her to come along with me on it. I couldn’t say we’d be fine, because I didn’t know for sure. And I didn’t want to scare her off by saying it looks like a death trap. So I constructed the best legal answer I could think of to try to get her to do it, and that was: “We probably won’t die!” Haha. I thought the sentence did a good job taking the edge off the danger scale, while simultaneously making the decision sound like a great idea. I am a salesman at heart, and I thought I had her, but she saw right through the BS line and said, “No WAY!” Almost had her though!