Whilst success is probably more fun than failure, we need to understand that we are enough. Full stop.
Anyone who loves us will sooner or later arrive at this conclusion. Our actions and results may positively or negatively affect them but if they truly love us, they will look beyond the external façade and see who we are amidst our victories and failures.
We need to do the same for ourselves. Whatever you do, all achievements – large or small – contribute to your sense of self-worth.
How you value these achievements is what’s important.
If you tend to base your sense of personal value on success, don’t be surprised if you feel upset at the prospect of failure or anxious that you may be rejected.
The fear of failure hurts far more than the failure itself.
Most of us can learn to accept and deal with the worst if we really know what’s coming.
We may not like it or look forward to it, but we can handle it.
Not knowing is a different story. It creates anxiety, vacillation and a very gut level desire to escape the whole problem.
Eradicating Your Fear of Failure
This exercise is designed to identify and then take the first steps to eliminate your fear of failure.
You need to take the time to find a comfortable place without distractions. Ensure the lighting is soft and the noise is minimal.
Close your eyes and take yourself to a peaceful place. Breathe deeply. Relax.
When you are ready, bring to mind three things that you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail.
What has prevented you from pursuing these three goals in the past?
Now, picture what would happen if you put all your effort and energy into these three goals and you failed. What would be the consequences? Imagine the worst possible outcome. How would you feel? How would others treat you? Jot down your feelings and thoughts.
You have completed a catalogue of your deepest fears regarding failure. Look at the key words and phrases you have recorded.
Do any patterns emerge? Identify one or two recurring themes and write them down in sentences, for example “Failing would show the world I’m not perfect and then no one will love me” or “If I try and fail I’ll never win the approval of my father”.
You now have your core program or belief regarding the fear of failure.
Once you have identified your program, you have the chance to de-program yourself.
The best way to do this is with a positive affirmation that counteracts your negative programming and provides you with encouraging reinforcement.
Write yourself a new affirmation to re-program your subconscious. For example, if your fear was “failing would show the world I’m not perfect and then no one will love me”, your affirmation could be “I’m perfect just as I am and everyone who loves me appreciates me for me.”
So, you have faced the worst consequences of failure.
You have failed to perform to your expectations.
Yes, it hurts, but it shouldn’t undermine you completely. It is a chance to learn and to incorporate this learning into your next performance, and your next
And what if these next performances still fail to meet your standards? Well, it hurts some more. But it should also tell you something: you might be searching for your strengths in the wrong places.
Despite the hurt, you are at least freed up to redirect your search more productively. As the wit W.C. Fields advised: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. There is no point making a fool of yourself.”
This advice may be difficult to put into practice, but as you build your strengths, achieve your goals and grow as a person, sometimes making great progress, sometimes slipping back, take comfort from the fact that this is how life is supposed to be lived. This process – act, learn, refine, act, learn, refine – clumsy though it may be, is the essence of living.