Take a moment. Think about something you really want to do but haven’t done yet because you’re afraid it might not work out. For instance:
- Taking on that new project at work
- Starting your own business
- Moving to a new city
- Planning for a new fitness goal
- Investing in some property
- Taking time to travel
- Telling that special someone how you truly feel
Your mind is probably repeating over and over:
- What if it doesn’t work out?
- What if it’s a big mistake?
- What if I fail?
Sometimes, when you want to take on something new, your mind might communicate all the reason you’re not ready and why you shouldn’t. Change and taking initiative toward those desired changes do not come without some amount of risk, but it also comes with the potential for endless, exciting possibilities. When you’re fear failure, you remain stagnant, and in some cases, you even take steps back in life. In playing it safe, you limit yourself and fear begins to undermine your potential.
I also believe that because we’re all connected, if you don’t show up and live your life, you could potentially prevent someone else from discovering their life’s purpose, too.
Why We Fear Failure
On a surface level that many of us can understand and even explain, making mistakes and “failing” creates unwanted feelings such as disappointment, anger and frustration. It begins with regret of a decision and eventually turns into overthinking what “could” or “should” have been done differently.
On a deeper level, research reports that underneath this stressful feeling of failure is embarrassment or shame. Most of us have a fear of the shame attached to a perceived mistake. Shame for a prolonged period can be a toxic emotion that will distort your self-perception.
Clinical Psychologist Marilyn Sorenson explains,
Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong. When a person experiences shame, they feel ‘there is something basically wrong with me.’