”Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear’ – Michelle Obama
The fear of failure is a massive blocker for pretty much all of us. But every time we fail and face up to it, we learn from the experience. We learn that life goes on regardless. We learn that it’s better to experience failure than to never try something new. We learn that failure doesn’t define us. We learn to accept ourselves and laugh more.
Fear of failure
Pretty much everyone fears failure to some extent but if we don’t ever fail, how can we ever succeed? Albert Einstein said ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new’.
Remember that a successful lawyer doesn’t win every case and most well known entrepreneurs faced numerous failures before they found success. Elon Musk, for example, always begins a new project aiming to fail. He believes that you need to fail in order to succeed. In fact, many investors will simply refuse to back a new entrepreneur until they have met and dealt with failure.
When everything is going well, it is impossible to know how you will cope with failure. It’s when you fail that you learn the most so accepting that everyone fails and being open about it can really help. Try to embrace your failures and learn from them rather than wishing things were different.
Fear of what other people might think
Worrying about what other people might think is so common, almost everyone does it occasionally and many do it all the time. But why? What does it matter what other people think? In some ways it’s quite egotistical to believe that other people have nothing else to think about than criticising your failures!
Given that everybody fails, isn’t it better to share the real story of the disastrous holiday, your child’s temper tantrum in the middle of the shop or how you burnt the muffins but sliced the top off to make them look good?! You might be surprised to find that once you start sharing your failures, others will too and that friend with the perfect life, turns out to have failures too, just like you. You’ll probably find that your relationships will deepen as you show more of the real you and you’ll certainly laugh about it all!
Social Media pressure
Social media doesn’t help as it’s so easy to look at the seemingly perfect lives other people apparently lead and compare them to your own. When you check your socials does it make you feel positive and happy or do you feel that you are a failure because everyone else is having more fun and enjoying life more? Do you put yourself down because you don’t live in the perfect house, drive the perfect car, have the perfect relationship, perfect children, perfect teeth, hair and body? Do you feel a failure if your social media posts don’t receive many likes?
Seeking validation from other people, really isn’t helpful. Of course it’s lovely to receive praise from your friends and family but you really don’t need hundreds of likes on social media to feel good about yourself. Remember that people generally only post the good things in their lives so you’re not seeing the whole story. You don’t know how many times they failed or what’s going on behind the photos.
If you find yourself constantly checking to see how many likes you’ve got, maybe it’s time to step away for an hour or two, or even a day if you can manage it.
Next time you feel like a failure, remember that it is an inevitable part of life. Think about what you have learned and work out how you can use this knowledge to be more successful next time. Try not to blame yourself or anyone else for whatever went wrong. Don’t put yourself down because something didn’t happen. It didn’t work out how you’d planned, so what?! Embrace the failure! Celebrate it!
So what’s the tiny tweak?
Every time you hear yourself saying you’re a failure, using negative words such as ‘I’m hopeless/rubbish/useless/stupid/pathetic’, stop yourself and change the words. Make them positive. Don’t let self-doubt bring you down. You might find this really hard at first, but don’t worry, with practice you’ll begin to change your story. Gradually you’ll hear yourself speaking in the same way you’d speak to a friend, with kindness, understanding and compassion. Be your own best friend and embrace every experience life gives you.
until next time xx
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