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How to take the fear out of failure

May 23, 20233 min read

Why are we inherently afraid of failure? Is it failure or more that we're afraid of what other people will say when/if we do fail and what other people will think?

We're afraid of the side remarks and the casual put downs meant to appease us. 'Oh well, at least you tried, don't be too down, better luck next time'.

But what happens if we don't at least try before the fear of failure sets in?

You have an idea for a business. It's Monday morning and you're sitting on the train, going into work to a job you hate because you'd prefer to be somewhere else doing a job you love. You have an idea of what this would be like but the fear of failure sits around you keeping you warm on that train. You get to work and you're numb with the monotony. This isn't how life should be.

How can you over come the fear?

1) Talk to someone about your idea or the change you want to take place. This makes it real, almost tangible. Be brave and just speak. It will be really hard but the person you choose, whether they're a family member, a friend or even someone impartial like a coach will not see the negative. If you have trusted them enough to talk through your idea, you've chosen them, then they will be there for you. They will take your idea, hold it and make it seem more like an actual possibility just by the nature of it being out there.

2) If you're scared, take it slowly. Don't rush, do your research about your business, look at your potential competitors and what works and doesn't work for them. There is no rush. You can do this while still going to your job (but perhaps feeling a little less numb as there might be something else out there). Set up a focus group or just ask some other friends - this is my business idea, what do you think? Would this work?

3) Plan it. If you make a business plan it will help you define some clear boundaries, deadlines, who you're going to market to, what your strategy will be, where you're get funding from if this is needed. Essentially, you're writing out whether this will work for you. Use your time on the train on the way to work to clarify and sharpen a plan for your next big thing. Imagine what this will look like and where you will be 1 year, 5 years even 10 years down the line. Plan for the future.

4) The push. Now you need the push. If you believe this can work (and by this point you should have a rough idea of how it can), go back to that first person you spoke to and sell your idea again. Sell it as if they are an investor or the bank manager (perhaps not the bank manager!) but ask them to push you. To push you forward to make it happen. You are prepared, you have researched and now you're ready for that first push. Use this knowledge to give you the confidence. You can and you will.

If this all makes sense, what's stopping you taking that first step?

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Phil Wickham

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