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How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Redefining failure

Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations — in other words, fear of failure. By framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-to-overcome-your-fear-of-failure

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

Focus on learning

The chips aren’t always going to fall where you want them to, but if you understand that reality going in, you can be prepared to wring the most value out of the experience, no matter the outcome.

Redefining failure

Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations — in other words, fear of failure. By framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.

Approach goals vs. avoidance goals

Goals can be classified as approach goals or avoidance goals based on whether you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome or avoid an adverse one.

When you’re dreading a tough task and expect it to be difficult and unpleasant, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen rather than what you do want.

Create a “fear list”

Tim Ferriss recommends “fear-setting”  - creating a checklist of what you are afraid to do and what you fear will happen if you do it. 

This exercise helps you seeing with clarity the benefits of the attempted effort and the cost of inaction.

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The Fear Of Rejection

It interferes with performance and inhibits expression.

Taken to its extreme, we become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake, with seeking approval for security above all othe...

Define the Problem in Writing

Write a clear description of your problem, the answer to the question, “What exactly am I worrying about?”

Fully 50% of all problems can be solved at this definition stage. Many of our worries exist because we have not taken the time to sit down and really define clearly what it is that is bothering us.

The Worst Possible Outcome

Write out the worst possible outcome of the worry situation. Answer the question, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of this problem?”

It is resistance to facing the worst possible outcome that causes most of the anxiety and stress associated with worry. Writing it down will take away its power.

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Strategic developmental feedback
Strategic developmental feedback

Strategic developmental feedback requires careful thought and insightful construction, in order to help someone learn and improve. It should be:

  • Big-picture focused
Not Celebrating Your Success

It's never good enough, so you get sucked so far into the details that you become frustrated.

Even when your goal is complete and results in success, you believ...

Pursuing Perfection, But Never Feeling Perfect

Even if you have a clear goal of what perfection means, obsessively pursuing it is a sign of insecurity.

And insecurity, when not addressed directly, doesn’t go away because a concrete objective has been achieved, it manifests itself into self-criticism or a new overvalued goal.

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

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Most problems can be solved with simple solutions
Most problems can be solved with simple solutions

Normally, things aren't as complicated as we want to make them out to be. Most problems have simple solutions. What adds complexity is the way we put into action these solutions.

A variation of the optimization trap

The optimization trap is the belief that a few small adjustments have more impact than they actually do. Optimizing little things is usually a way for people to feel like they're doing something meaningful when they're actually avoiding big, scary moves that could truly make a difference.

Allowing perceived complexity to keep you from doing what you have to do is a variation of the optimization trap.

Why we overcomplicate things

We overcomplicate things at the start because we're scared to make big changes.

We're very complacent and comfortable with our lives at the moment, so instead of doing things that will have a big impact, we spend our time on details that don't matter.

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Connect With The Right People

Knowing what you want and whom you want to connect with matters.

Using social media tools like LinkedIn is a good start to speed up your initial connection with the people aligned with your g...

The Six Degrees Of Separation

According to the theory of the Six Degrees Of Separation, we all are only a few people away from everyone else.

Embrace your friends' references and contacts to get to know people that can help you in your professional pursuits.

Give Free Talks

If you don't know anyone, a brilliant strategy is to provide free talks and seminars, and in the process build a completely organic list of people who connect with you and know your work.

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Our Most Common fears
  • Fear of failure, poverty, and loss of money
  • Fear of losing love 
  • Fear of losing our jobs and our financial security
  • Fear of embarrassment or ridicule
  • Fear ...
Fear Paralyzes Action

The most common reaction in a fear situation is the attitude of, “I can’t!”

This is the fear of failure that stops us from taking action. It often shuts down the brain and causes us to revert to the “fight-or-flight” reaction.

Visualize Yourself as Unafraid

Your self-image, the way you see yourself and think about yourself, is eventually altered by feeding your mind these positive mental pictures of yourself performing at your best.

So visualize yourself performing with confidence and competence in an area where you are fearful.

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Wanting everything at once

Most people want to change themselves completely. The problem is wanting to do everything at once.

Because this intense motivational boost can backfire — you shift from over-enthusiasm...

Success

It is a byproduct of self-discipline — it requires a method, not just a positive attitude.

Rather than worrying about the end result, focus on how to make daily progress.

Self-control is limited
Self-control is critical to developing new habits and overcome resistance.

But by pushing ourselves too hard, we exhaust the mental muscles needed to stay focused, to avoid temptations, and to persist in the face of frustration or failure. 

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Michelangelo

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim ..."

Michelangelo
Find What You Love to Do and Do It

Focus on doing something you love.

When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving.

Learn How to Balance Life

If people think their job will lead to success, they might spend too much time on it and neglect other areas of their life.

Keep a balance between work, rest, health and life. 

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Personal Objective Key Results - OKR
Personal Objective Key Results - OKR

OKRs take big lofty goals, segment them into objectives, and then tie each of those objectives to actionable Key Results.

The Objective is the point on the...

Setting your personal OKR
  • Decide on your mission for your quarter.
  • Break mission down into objectives. 
  • Draft your Key Results. Key Results are specific, timely and measurable indicators of your progress.
  • Consider the purpose of each KR.
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Check in every 2–4 weeks with your partner. 
Do a yearly review

Ask yourself:

  • What went well for me last year?
  • What accomplishments did I have?
  • How did I improve my life?
  • How did I improve my relationsh...
Finish what you started

Which of your projects, errands and general to-do items do you still have left from the previous year that you may be able to complete in less than 2 hours? Do them now to enable you to give yourself a fresh start.

Be realistic

Dreaming is great, but if you want to accomplish some improvements, you need to make your dream more realistic.

Break your dream down into milestones: if you want to work from home, what steps do you need to take? Break those steps down further into actionable steps and start working towards making your dream a reality.

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