Does Fear of Failure Hold You Back?

Fear has been on my mind a lot lately, especially the fear of failure. You see, I did a crazy thing this year. I started a new business (this blog) even though I already had my one business that was thriving.

My direct sales business has done incredibly well. I make good money and have a large team, so why on earth would I go back to square one? Why should I start over and go through the headache of launching a business, putting everything into place, learning the ropes and trying to make it profitable and successful?

Here is the thing; I have always wanted to be a writer. Reading and writing were two of my earliest loves, but I never followed my passion in life because I was afraid. Afraid that I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid that I would never get published or people would not relate to my writing. Afraid that I could never make a decent living as a writer.

And so, I ignored my passion and went to school more a more sensible career. One which, I completely abandoned when my children were born. I became a stay at home mom and then fell into the sales job I have now.

Working in sales has been a fun challenge for me. I hustled for a long time to get to where I am at. But for the past few years, I have been wondering, is it my passion in life?

Mid life crisis?

When I turned 40, my perspective took a shift. I started to examine my life and question if this was where I wanted to be in twenty years. And the answer was no.

I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I wanted a calling, not just a job.

It was time to cast aside my fear and try something new, even if it might not work out for me. This was a huge metal shift for me because I am not a natural risk taker. I like to play it safe and have a plan. Safety nets and plan B’s make me happy.

Fear, in particular the fear of failure, had held me back in my life. However, I made a conscious decision to start doing things that scared me and it has been truly life altering.

What is the fear of failure?

There are many different types of fear, but the fear of failure can be especially crippling. It is normally defined as being so afraid to fail, that you don’t even attempt something.

Spiders are another fear of mine.
Spiders are my other big fear

For a person like me, a Virgo with a totally Type A personality, the fear of failure can exert a strong hold. I like everything to be perfect and often hold off on doing something until I know I can do it well.

I am terrified that someone will find a flaw in my work or say that it wasn’t good enough. And yes, I take all criticism extremely personally.

Basically, people with a fear of failure become paralyzed by what could go wrong. They can’t take action because they are afraid they will mess up or someone else won’t like the end result.

Trying something new

So when I turned 40, I decided to start doing things that scared me. My husband and I booked a trip to Bora Bora, which has been a lifelong dream. In the past, we had always held back on taking the trip because of the cost, the kids or work, but this time, we decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. And you know what? It was the best trip I have ever experienced.

Swimming with sharks was terrifying and exhilarating.
Swimming with sharks was terrify and exhilarating

While we were in Bora Bora, we swam with sharks and stingrays, which was something else that was on my bucket list. Right before we jumped into shark infested waters, I had a moment of fear and thought, “Am I crazy? Who DOES this kind of shit?”

But then, I jumped. Was it terrifying? Yes, absolutely, but it was also a memory that I will never forget. And it taught me something. Sometimes fear can be a good thing.

Get uncomfortable to overcome the fear of failure

Since then, I have done lots of things that make me scared and uncomfortable. In fact, that has become my measure of whether or not I am on the right track.

George Addair said, “Everything you desire is on the other side of fear”. This has become mantra. These days, I do lost of things that make me feel uncomfortable and let me live life to the fullest.

If my stomach starts churning and I want to run, then I know I am onto something special. And as long as it is not physically dangerous to others or myself, I go for it. I jump into the shark infested waters and hope that it will be another magical experience.

Starting this blog was one of those moments. Should I follow my lifelong, long buried, dream of being a writer? Or do I take the safe path; the one where I am already a success?

Do I try something new, even though I could fail miserably or do I remain in my warm little cocoon? I guess you already know the answer . . . I jumped into the unknown yet again.

Scary decisions moves you forward

These days, I make all kinds of scary decisions, like signing up for a conference where I know absolutely no one. Just me and five hundred strangers for a weekend.

Or announcing the blog to all my family and friends and asking them to read it. Or cutting back on my safe, money making job to spend more time doing this.

All of it makes me want to throw up, yet gives me a little zing at the same time.

I am totally aware that this might be an epic failure. I might be wasting my time and my money on something that will never work out. But that is ok with me because I am challenging myself. I am growing as a person and a writer. I am learning new thing, like just a teensy bit of coding and some SEO.

It might be hard, but I am doing it. And I’m making myself proud.

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