Fear is not real it is a product of the thoughts we create. Fear is a choice.
Fear of failure is one of the top five reasons people don’t achieve their dreams. In many people’s minds, it is better to play small than to try something big.
For myself and many other entrepreneurs, this is the exact definition of insanity. I would rather fall on my face 1,000,000 times in my journey to success than to die in obscurity never amounting or trying for anything.
But it wasn’t always this way, I used to be scared s*%@less of failing. Well…until the secret to overcoming fear was shown to me. This secret has taught me how to overcome the fear of failure.
I have said before your self-worth equals your net worth. Net worth doesn’t equal the amount of money you make but how you approach life.
People with a high net worth play big, not small. People with high net worth are not afraid of failure because they know they are winners.
For instance, will Donald Trump win the presidential election? I don’t know, but does he believe that he is the best? That is a resounding yes! If the Donald fails will he give up and play small? Heck no, the Donald never plays small. And that’s the same for any “big player.” (ps. Not endorsing Trump for president here, just making a point! J)
Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
If you follow the fear of failure down to the root of the issue—it is never about failure. It usually involves a mess of other things…like feeling embarrassed, being uncomfortable, or worrying about what other people think of you.
When you find the root of the issue you can address it, and begin facing the fear head on.
Actively work on becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In the book 4-Hour Work Week, Entrepreneur Tim Ferris gives great tools to be comfortable with anything. He suggests an exercise that practices being comfortable in any situation. He says to literally lay down in a crowded space (like the middle of the sidewalk, or in the line for the bank).
Now this might sound crazy, but I promise you that if you were to do these things regularly—you’ll be comfortable with almost anything (including facing your fears).
I fully support this and would offer another suggestion. Whenever you are in a conversation that becomes uncomfortable, embrace the discomfort instead of running away. Make the other person feel more uncomfortable and hold your space.
This is a great negotiating tactic to master.
When I was younger I was not very good at talking to girls. A problem we all encounter at some point in our lives.
I was already on the path of becoming comfortable with discomfort, so I applied my skills to failure. I would walk into the bar and find the hottest girl possible. I would knowingly go up to her and embarrass myself. Instead of running away, I would force myself to stay as long as possible making conversation. My end goal was not to pick up the girl but to hold a conversation in that uncomfortable space.
This took all pressure off and I could focus on the conversation, in the end, I got quite a few numbers from girls way outside my league.
This built my confidence a ton! Just apply it to your own scenario to overcome your fear. Embrace it!
The Immersion Technique:
Pick any activity that has scared the daylights out of you in the past. Imagine the worst-case scenario. Let’s take learning a new sport like snowboarding.
The worse case scenario goes something like this: you head to the mountain with your friends, you have gear that doesn’t fit you right, you head to the top of the mountain and the only way down is a double black diamond. Your friends leave you because you are too slow, you fall on your butt and face a ton. You lose control and break your wrist, or hit a tree and die.
Bleak I know, but this can happen.
Knowing what the worst-case scenario is, you can reverse engineer a better experience.
- You go to the rental shop and get fitted for the right gear
- You buy/rent safety equipment including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, and a butt pad.
- You hire a professional instructor from the mountain to teach you
- You start off the easiest slope, usually called the “Bunny Hill”
Now you can learn a new sport, be safe, and have a great time. End the night with a glass of wine and a hot tub and you just had the perfect experience.
Minimizing Risks and Downside
Famous billionaire and entrepreneur Richard Branson, says one of the best ways to overcome the fear of failure is to minimize the downside.
The immersion technique is a brilliant exercise to help you figure out how to minimize the downside. Before you start, ask yourself what are the top three downsides to failing? Make a list of 3 ways you can minimize the downside of each of these.
Take the time to analyze how you can reduce the risk.
Then go for it!
Shoot BIG, not small
It is easier to hit big goals rather than small goals. Seriously.
Our brains are programmed to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. Weirdly, A small goal can take just as much brainpower and effort as a big goal.
When you shoot for small goals, little obstacles take loads of effort to overcome. When you shoot for big goals, little obstacles are run over like you are driving a steamroller. This also gives you the momentum to tackle big problems.
So why shoot for small goals? It seems counter productive because you are a big player.
Shoot for the big goals, worst-case scenario is you fail but come sure-fire-close. I bet you would still be happy coming close to your goal.
If you had a goal of making $250,000 next year and you made $247,976 would you really be upset? No! You’d be dancing for joy!
Honestly, that is the secret formula I was taught on how to overcome the fear of failure.