Fear of Failure, or Fear of Success?

business entrepreneurship mindset Oct 22, 2019
Fear of failure is a pretty common thing. We've been conditioned our whole lives to believe that we need to get it "right". Sometimes, this overarching fear runs deeper and may be related to a fear of judgement, fear of disappointment, or insecurities around confidence or self-worth. Wherever it stems from, this fear is deeply ingrained within our society and genetics.
Humans are driven by pride and vanity. We want to look good, and we have been taught that failure makes us look bad. And it holds most people back from doing a whole lot of shit. They never try, because they are too afraid to f*** it up. They run through worst-case scenarios in their head until they're too paralyzed by false evidence and "what-if's" to step outside of their comfort zone.
Most entrepreneurs have become quite familiar with failure. The moment you decide to learn affiliate marketing, invest in crypto, create an online course, start a coaching business, whatever it is... you make a decision: That the potential to succeed and make an impact on the world is greater than the fear of failing. You feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Then, you learn that you have to fail. A LOT. Because online businesses do not come with instruction manuals and a guaranteed recipe for success. In fact, what works for someone else might not work at all for you. You have to implement an idea, test it and gather the data. If it doesn't work, you try something else until you figure out what works. Failure is feedback.
I repeat: failure is feedback.
To be an entrepreneur, you must understand that failing forward is a necessary mechanism toward success. In my opinion, the only way that you actually fail is if you give up. That's why I'm not afraid of failure. My dreams are too important to just throw away because something didn't work the first or second or third time that I tried it. I want a life filled with joy and freedom, to be able to help out my family, and to travel and explore the beautiful places this world has to offer. I want to create a ripple of positive impact and abundance.
J.K. Rowling was rejected twelves times before she finally heard a yes. Stephen King submitted "Carrie" thirty times. How many times did Edison try to invent the light bulb before he succeeded? A thousand. Sir James Dyson of the $4.5 billion-dollar vacuum company created 5,126 failed prototypes. Get my point? The people who create massive success only do so because they never gave up on their vision.
So you might be wondering, why would anybody be afraid to succeed? It seems counter-intuitive, and I'll get into that. First, let's examine a few behaviours. If any of these ring true for you, read on...
  • You start projects and don't complete them
  • You spend more time planning than taking action
  • You work on several projects instead of focusing on one thing
  • You second-guess yourself often
  • You get distracted easily
  • Procrastination is your middle name
Big one: you're on the verge of success and things start to go wrong.
Ah, self-sabotage. Why do we do this to ourselves?!
Control. We spend a lot of time and energy as humans trying to control and predict the outcomes of various situations. This is a function of our brain's survival mode and while it's meant to protect us, if we don't know the outcome, it doesn't feel safe. It can be extremely challenging to let that control go and as an entrepreneur, we have to do that more than the average employee. We have to place a lot of trust in our intuition, hold steady in our vision, and really become self-aware of this programming.
Fear of the unknown. Success means change. If you try something and fail, you just go back to what you knew. Sure, it wasn't the outcome you wanted, but you can come to terms with it because it's comfortable. When we begin to teeter towards those crazy goals, we head into uncharted territory. We subconsciously wonder... What if I pull this off? Will I become a different person? Will I lose people along the way? When we step too far past our comfort zone, the brain wants to retreat back to those behaviours that kept us safe.
Resistance. This comes in the form of procrastination or distraction. We often convince ourselves that we're doing our best or that it's "good enough", when deep down we know that isn't true. We self-sabotage without even realizing it. Resistance can also happen when we aren't in alignment with our purpose or vision. Perhaps you believe the goal is just too big to accomplish.
Fear of vulnerability. Becoming influential means more impact. It requires you to hold yourself accountable and become more vulnerable. Influential people often talk about the challenges of not being ready for fame and success and many have resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with it. The responsibilities associated with success can seem like a lot to handle.
"Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy.”  --  Denis Waitley
Limiting beliefs. I grew up believing that getting your hopes up leads to disappointment. Somewhere during my childhood, I got excited for something and it didn't work out the way I wanted. That story ran over and over in my mind until I created a subconscious, self-fulfilling prophecy. So I stopped getting my hopes up and I resigned to the fact that whatever I wanted probably wasn't going to happen, and most of the time it didn't because guess what? Whatever you believe - you're right! Some other limiting beliefs might be... I don't deserve success. Wealthy people are greedy. My story isn't good enough. Identify them.
So if any of these factors are holding you back, here are a few strategies that I've used in my own life to work past it...
Get crystal clear on your vision. Ask yourself...
  • What do you really want out of life and WHY?
  • What are your core values? What do you love to do?
  • Is what you want in alignment with your values?
  • What do you feel when you think about your desired outcome? It should be a sense of joy, peace, security, love, or any other high-vibe emotion. If you feel stress or anxiety around your desired outcome, go back to your values and your why.
  • Are your actions in alignment with your vision?
Dedicate a good chunk of time to this! Write out a description of the life that you really want, without judgement or restraint. You can break it down into a few categories: relationships, business, health & wellness, or whatever works for you. I like to add a time frame as well: what do I see for myself in the next 90 days, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years?
Take this seriously, because knowing what you want (and being fully aligned with it) truly is one of the keys to success.
Give yourself mini-goals. If that ultimate vision feels too big, break it into smaller chunks! Maybe you want to create a 7-figure online business but you've never made more than $5,000 in a month. Start with what is comfortable and what you believe is achievable, but don't lose sight of that vision. Celebrate the small wins and know that each step is getting you closer to where you want to be.
Tame your inner saboteur. You know when that little voice is throwing you off. Give it a name. Anytime you hear those limiting beliefs pop into your head, call it out. Tell Miranda something like... Hey girl. I see you and I appreciate you trying to keep me safe, but I got this. Make the effort to become more self-aware of those thoughts, then course-correct.
Affirmations. Sounds woo-woo but dude! They work. Record a few "I am" statements that resonate with you on your phone. It could sound something like: I am capable, I am deserving and I am successful. I am the embodiment of secure, peaceful and free feelings. I have all that I desire. Listen to your affirmations first thing in the morning and right before bed. This is a tiny practice with a big impact! You can write them out too, but I personally think that hearing your own voice is more powerful.
Turn fear into excitement. The only difference is that that fear releases cortisol (the stress hormone) into the body. If you can re-frame fear as excitement, you will feel less resistance toward what you know you need to do. Uncomfortable doing GoLives? Afraid to follow up with a lead? Think about how much better it will feel once you just say f*** it and do it anyway. Spend a moment visualizing that feeling you want to create and who your success is going to impact.
And just remember that you're always 3 feet from gold.

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