How to Use the Fear of Failure to Fuel Your Success

embrace failure

Money and liberty. Being able to do what you love, on your own schedule, and wherever you want. Entrepreneurship sounds amazing when you put it in those terms, right?

Truth is, for many who haven’t ventured down the entrepreneurship path, resistance comes down to the following reasons:

  • Lack of discipline
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of inspiration

And the list could go on, but one of the biggest reasons taking the leap into entrepreneurship is so scary is the fear of failure.

The emotions that come with failure can be encapsulated as feelings of embarrassment, self-defeat, depression, and shame. That fear can drive many to the point where they choose to steer away from pursuing their own dreams.

In this blog post, I’ll highlight ways you can use the fear of failure to fuel your success…

Self-Awareness

For me, self-awareness is more than just knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It also means being realistic about what is achievable given your circumstances. My whole mantra is to live big and dream big, but the connotation behind that isn’t to be ruthlessly reckless with your decision-making and risk-taking.

self awareness quote

It’s more about being methodical. You know what you’re capable of. What you are willing to make time for and what you aren’t.

In entrepreneurship, it’s important to be able to look inward and understand the following:

  • How do you come across to other people?
  • How do the decisions you make align with your morals and values? Do they elevate you to becoming a better version of yourself?
  • Are you able to be flexible with your decisions? In business, it’s common to have to pivot when things aren’t working well.

Change Your Perspective on Failure

I recently listened to the podcast Optimal Living Daily: Personal Development & Minimalism. This particular episode talked about changing the way you view failure or less than optimal situations to a more positive outlook.

Here were the key takeaways:

  • Think of: “When I had nothing to lose, I had everything; when I stopped being who I am, I found myself.”
  • Live with zero downsides because when you’re anti-fragile, you become strong when you experience defeat.
  • Turn the obstacle upside down. You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you respond. Therefore, reframe things to your advantage, i.e., what did you learn? How can you take the current situation and results and move forward or bounce back?
  • Live like every moment is priceless and an unearned gift.

Taking on the responsibility and accountability needed when it comes to failure has a lot to do with realizing how temporary failure truly is. Recognizing that you can change course anytime will help you reframe your perspective.

Stop Waiting Until You’re Ready

If you continue to wait until you’re truly ready, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life. Developing a plan that aligns with your goals and overall vision of what you want out of life will help you get moving.

aristotle quote

Know that entrepreneurs who do make it to that millionaire or billionaire status all had to go through a learning curve and started before they were ready. The sooner you realize that no one truly knows everything and that they learn by doing, the sooner you’ll jump on the path to embracing failure as part of your success path.

That said, here are three micro-steps (by ThriveGlobal) you can take to stop fearing failure and start embracing it.

1. Reflect on a time one of your own failures led to eventual success.

In the moment, failures can be crushing and depleting. Put them in perspective with a specific instance from your past to get a rejuvenating reminder that, over and over again, you’ve turned failure into success.

2. Read the biography of someone you admire.

There’s no better way to remind yourself that the life stories of successful, accomplished, inspiring people are often filled with failures, missteps, and setbacks.

3. Set aside five minutes each day for meditation.

Building a meditation habit will prepare you for the tough moments you may not see coming. When you’re operating from a place of calm and clarity, you’ll be able to put your failures in perspective and bounce back quickly. 

Commit to Your Vision

One of the things that’s helped me most throughout my career has been always keeping the bigger vision top of mind. I was 23 years old when I began thinking about what the world of entrepreneurship would look like for me ― the kind of life I wanted to live and design and the results I wanted to experience.

These are a larger driving force for me than the fear of actually failing. The biggest obstacles for me weren’t so much that I was afraid of failing but more that I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. In other words, my desire to make my vision a reality was stronger than my fear of failure.

When you commit to your vision, you’re not going to take a misstep as the determining factor to your entire future. Rather, you embrace it as part of the journey, learn, and keep trying.

Further, when you focus more on what your vision is and what you want to achieve, you care less about what people think. Then it’s more about you vs. you rather than you vs. the opinions of other people and whether or not they think you’ll fail.

Your vision is about you.

Final Thoughts

All the tips highlighted here might feel easier said than done, but that’s the key to making improvements and changes in your life. Change is never easy, but staying put and not taking action is even more discouraging than taking control of your life.

To help, here are a few blog posts I’ve already written that you can check out as well:

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