Is Fear of Failure Holding You Back?

Goals fail without strong execution, while “busyness” can lead us in the wrong direction.” ~ Robert Kelsey

Think about where you are now in life. Has fear stopped you from doing what you should be doing? Have you postponed any of your dreams because you saw Who… What…Where… and How you could be 3 to 5 years from now… but you keep putting it on hold, because the fear of failure really scares you? Well, you don’t have to be afraid… or fear the fear. There are simple ways to overcome fear… but it will take some faith and dedication on your part.

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Here are 7 tips that can help you overcome the fear that could possibly be holding you back.

1. Discover your true values. Go back to square one and calculate what really motivates you. This requires you to establish the values and principles that underline your existence. It’s these that should drive your goal setting, not your insecurities.

2. Establish your goals. With your values written down, visualize yourself 10-years’ hence. Every detail should be imagined: house, car, partner, office, dog (or cat). Importantly, also focus on the details of your career. What will you do day-to-day, where and with whom? Then ensure it dovetails with your values — otherwise it will almost certainly fail.

3. Work out the milestones. The 10-year horizon is long-enough to make anything possible: including professional exams. Yet you have to ensure the path you take is the right one. So visualize yourself in five years’ time. What has to be in place to ensure the 10-year goals are achievable? Then do the same for two years — thinking about the needs for the five-year horizon. Then one year. Then six months. Then three months, one month and one week. And what can you do tomorrow to make sure the one-week goal is conquered?

4. Develop a strategy and tactics. Of course, goals fail without strong execution, while “busyness” can lead us in the wrong direction. We need a strategy — a plan that ensures our actions lead us towards our objectives. So undertake a SWOT analysis: looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. This should help a strategy emerge because we can execute tactics on our strengths while developing skills to overcome our weaknesses. Meanwhile, we can pursue the opportunities (if goal-focused) and plan to navigate the threats.

5. Execute efficiently. According to Stephen Covey, all activities fall into four boxes: urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, not urgent and important, and not urgent and unimportant. We spend our time on urgent-box activities neglecting the not-urgent-and-important box that is vital for achieving our long-term goals. Yet if we start here, our activities become driven by our goals allowing us to control urgent-and-unimportant activities (otherwise called interruptions) and potentially reframing our not-urgent-and-unimportant activities as refreshing moments where we can enjoy our progress.

6. Deal with people. Too often, we become reactive and defensive, or potentially manipulated by people leveraging off our insecurities. Yet dealing with difficult people is possible once we have “developed our compassion” — i.e. we’ve stopped seeing the world from our own perspective and, instead, seen it from theirs. If done genuinely, we can then forge win-win strategies that turn potential enemies and barriers to our progress into allies that can help us achieve our goals.

7. Find your unique gift. Still struggling? Just maybe you haven’t found your unique gift. Everyone has a special talent or insight that they should first discover and then offer to others. Mine was a curiosity regarding my condition (as a High-FF) and a background in writing. I combined the two to write “What’s Stopping You?” What’s yours?


A portion of this article by Robert Kelsey, was originally posted on Robert Kelsey is the bestselling author of “What’s Stopping You? Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can.” 

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