Do you cringe at the thought of failure?
Does it make you feel embarrassment, shame, or angst?
I get it. I really do.
The idea of not showing up as "the very best" often gives me pause - I hesitate. I wonder... "Should I...???"
The fear of failure is real and it holds many of us back from reaching our full potential.
But here is the real deal - The reasons behind this fear are valid.
Failure often leads to financial, social, or psychological consequences. You might be laughed at. People may talk about you. You might feel embarrassed.
But what if you could reframe failure as essential fuel for future success?
With the right mindset shifts, you can unlock greater creativity, resilience, and fulfillment.
Here are 5 research-backed steps to help you reframe failure as helpful feedback:
Separate your self-worth from outcomes. Recognize failure as an event - not a definition of you as a person. When I did not get the job that I had pitched to my company (it was offered to someone else) I was crushed. I felt like a massive failure. And the truth is - I probably could have prepped better for the formal interviews. But listening to voices saying "I'm a failure" got me nowhere. Remember, failures come and go but your inner light remains intact.
Adopt a beginners mindset. This is a big one for me! You can't be good at something if you don't work at it - so remind yourself that with time and practice comes excellence. Stop expecting excellence on Day 1.
Connect work deeply to purpose. When your work aligns with serving others and making a difference, perfectionism loses importance. Outcomes matter less than continued effort and impact. Having a cause bigger than yourself provides a helpful perspective. You can put this into practice by keeping what I call a "Kudos File" where you keep emails or notes of those who have praised your work or celebrated you. Just the other day I found myself down and out about my podcast download numbers. I felt like "I should be further along by now" when a random woman reached out to tell me how my podcast made a difference in her life. My faith was restored!
Celebrate small wins. Our brains have a negativity bias and fixate on what goes wrong. Intentionally shift your focus to what went right and build confidence through incremental successes, no matter how tiny they seem. Give yourself credit, not criticism. (Go back to that Kudos file if you need to!)
Enlist an accountability partner. Find someone who can help reframe failures from an empowering, empathetic lens. They can help you extract learnings and then leave the unhelpful shame behind. This is also a DOUBLE WIN because shared growth through challenges bonds relationships - so not only do you have that bestie hype you up and keep you focused, you solidify your relationship.
With regular practice, these 5 steps can transform failure from a source of fear into fuel for your future success. Unlock greater creativity, emotional resilience, and fulfillment by embracing failure as a natural part of progress.
You've got this!
Want to stop letting fear of failure rule you? Just pick ONE. Pick ONE thing from the list you can do today to focus on forward failures and growth. Then let me know which one that will be!