Even the word on it’s own conjures up so many bad feelings for people.
It seems to make things so black and white. So right and wrong.
The fear of failing, of things going wrong, can be the thing that stops you before you even start.
The dreams of doing work you love, of changing the world, or getting more visible and putting you and your business out there and on the map – can all be frozen in time if we let the fear of failure paralyse us.
So why does it have such an impact?
It all starts with the values we have learnt around the term failure and what it actually means – this also links to our experiences of education growing up. Where things can be quite black and white – ‘you pass or fail the test’.
The emphasis is put on passing and that’s when you get the praise and attention. So we are conditioned to only feel good when we get things right and tend to feel bad when we don’t. Therefore ‘failure’ has a bad rap, and not only holds a lot of negative connotations for a lot of people, but also negative emotions too.
What if failure was a good thing?
Most successful people have had to fail numerous times to get to where they are. It is a given that if you try new things and have a plan, things don’t always go according to that plan. The trick is to look at failure as a tool to get you to where you want to be faster.
We NEVER fail: We win or we learn.
You’ve heard many people say ‘well if babies all gave up learning to walk after the first time they fall down then they would never walk’, but actually this makes so much sense.
So why as adults do we get things wrong and then tell ourselves we aren’t cut out for the task, or we don’t have what it takes and that we aren’t good enough. When we clearly are and would be if we just kept going.
What my failures taught me.
When I experienced postnatal depression after my first child I felt like I lost my identity. Lost control over my life and my independence. It was a dark time but with support I got through it. However, it wasn’t until 7 years later working with a mentor that I realised I was holding onto a negative belief about myself that was really affecting the way I was running my business and ultimately my life.
I unearthed a limiting belief that because I had been through PND I was somehow a failure as a mother. And that if I failed at the thing that should have come so ‘naturally’ to me as a woman, then how could I be successful at anything else. This was having a profound affect on my business success.
It was like a breath of fresh air to uncover that and seeing it with fresh eyes, and to get it out in the open really did make all the difference to how I saw myself and how I made future decisions. It was no longer based on some crap I had believed about myself. I had so much evidence to prove that the opposite of this was true.
I can now look back on that time as a positive part of my life as I learnt so much about myself. I have recently realised just how far I have come when I launched a business offer that didn’t work out.
I could have felt sorry for myself, convinced myself that I didn’t have what it takes, that I should give up – but instead I looked for the learning. I hadn’t won this time (as I had with previous launches) so asked myself what have I learned instead?
Failure is no longer a negative word for me. In fact I welcome it when it happens because I know that I will learn so much for myself and for my business – and new opportunities will come because of that learning.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”
Time to be curious not over critical.
It is important to investigate yourself and see what is going on for you when something goes wrong. To be curious about how you deal with failure and how that impacts on future decisions that you will make.
To build a successful business you have to be able to stand in your power and use every experience to your advantage – whether it feels good or not. Always look for the learning.
When you really want to do something that you know will be a push outside of your comfort zone, and be a stretch that sends a little fear your way what do you do?
Do you start to over think and question whether this thing will work out?
Do you start to convince yourself that things will go wrong and then imagine what others will say or how you will feel – like a failure?
Start to notice the internal chatter. That little voice that is telling you about all the things that might go wrong. Listen in – what do you start telling yourself? Look for the patterns so you can break them.
Is the fear of failure stopping you from trying?
I know that it can have that power. To stop you before you start. The worry and concerns of it not working out become too big for you to even try.
But if you never try then I can guarantee you 100% that it won’t work out. But if you do try, then I can also guarantee you that you will grow. You will know more. So you will have more. If there is no learning then there is no growth. So why not use the risk of failure to get you closer to the success you want?
Reflection is so important to figure out what it is that is coming up for you, so you can do something about it.
Self awareness is everything. Figure out what you are scared of and if it is failure then you can do something about it. This is the ultimate power to living a successful life on your terms.
And you can’t understand yourself if things alway go right.
Failure works. And can work for all the right reasons.
Don’t let the worry of something going wrong stop you and if it is then come and join my free community – where you can expect to feel supported, empowered and inspired in The F Movement – for ambitious and fierce women building businesses that make a difference. Be fearless and don’t fear failure.
Find out more about the work I do and connect with me.