The Fear of Failure

What is it about failing that is so bloody terrifying. Is it the disapproval of others? Most definitely. Is it the shame you place on yourself? Perhaps. It is easy to find yourself in the depths of worry and despair leading up to new challenges and opportunities, ruminating on what could go wrong, predicting what may happen. However, as my Dad always says: ‘Most of the things we worry about, never actually happen.’ This is true. And consequently I propose that we adopt the mindset that; if it does go wrong, does it matter? If you do not get that job you went for, will the world spontaneously explode? No. We wake up in the morning and we try again. Even better, if it does go wrong, we learn and we get better.

A while ago I wrote a post about learning to make mistakes, however I do not always practice what I preach. I think one of the reasons I have taken a slight hiatus from writing (apart from being busy with my Master’s), is that I felt anything I wrote would be forced and inauthentic. I lost the writing bug for a bit and publishing something in that mind frame to me, could have been a bit of a failure. Should you relate to this fear of failure, I have pooled together some tips that I use to stave away those niggling thoughts that creep in every time an opportunity or task arises.

The first; plan as much as you can until you feel prepared. Preparation is sometimes one of the only things you can do to feel on top of things when things get hectic. Obviously if you have a job interview, preparation is vital. But if you find yourself getting anxious about smaller tasks at work, research around the area, read up about what you might be doing. This will help you visualize yourself doing those things and mental preparation is so beneficial to calming nerves.

The second; keep a diary. If you know what is coming, you know how long you have to prepare – mentally and physically. Equally, you can write in events that you can look forward to, as well as workouts and self-care appointments too. This way your diary isn’t solely an itinerary of when you will be stressed.

The third; work-life balance. I am guilty of feeling guilty for taking time out. But often you need time out so that you can bring your recharged and best self to the table when needed. Getting into a routine of work-life balance is a good way of eliminating the guilt. Have a no phone/laptop rule after 8pm. Have your breakfast away from work/emails. Have laid back and chilled weekends with no plans. Watch a film after a stressful day. Notice what you enjoy doing and when you feel most relax and repeat, as often as needed.

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