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Force the Fear of Failure to Lose its Grip on You

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Consider the aspiring toddler determined to walk. She’s fearless when it comes to her determination to walk, no matter how many times she falls. The toddler has no fear of failure. She doesn’t stop because she falls. Without hesitation, she determinedly gets up again and again, and keeps on going, no matter what.

But once that child enters school she quickly learns that failure is a bad thing. We’re conditioned from childhood to think of failure as bad. From bad marks on assignments and tests, to being laughed at for tripping or saying something silly, the fear of failure… of failing in some way in the eyes of others, is far more prevalent in our lives than you may know.

Progress doesn’t happen without mistakes.

What Will People Think

Somewhere in elementary school, we develop a fear of failure that subsequently adds layers of constriction to our innately playful, unabashed, exuberant and curious self. We begin to become self conscious and by middle school that often increases to an acute fear of rejection or concern over what other people may think.

Consider the bright eyes and eager attentive face of elementary aged children. Then fast forward to the faces and walk of the majority of high school students. From curious and interested children, to the absorbed and averted eyes of an average teenager, much of that is due to the loss of freedom of expression.

The loss of our connection to our eager learner selves is based on the fear of failure and rejection in the eyes of others. Even the defiant teen behavior often has its roots in self protection to cover up emotional wounds.

By middle school, we no longer feel free to be ourselves.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Fear of Imperfection

In high school and young adulthood, some develop atelophobia, the fear of imperfection. These concerns inhibit our innate proclivities to create and share out of the fear of failure.

But progress doesn’t happen without mistakes. So don’t worry about it. Don’t fret what others may say or think. This is your life and your aspirations. The rest doesn’t really matter.

At life’s end you won’t be lying there worrying about what people might think of you. So don’t let that fear stop you now.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Fear Constricts Creativity

If you’ve ever felt the grip of fear clutch your heart, kick you in the stomach, and paralyze your progress, then you know the struggle is real. But it doesn’t have to be.

While the fear is real, the cause of fear rarely is. Fear is a physiological response to an emotion or thought. More often than not, the things we fear are projections and imaginings in our minds that never come to pass.

On your road to success you must put fear in the trunk to pull out intentionally, only if you need it to protect you from real dangers. In the meantime, it’s all imagination.

If you’re not putting your imagination to work for you, it’s probably working against you.
~LeAura Alderson,®

You used to know how to push past failure. We all did it naturally when we were toddlers. Before we became self conscious and inhibited, we learned to walk because we were determinedly focused on doing just that. And so we did.

And… you can again now. It just takes a little practice, persistently over time. Daily does it. The more you do it, the more you can do it.

Diss the doubt. Don’t let it do you in.

“Learning can’t happen without mistakes.”
Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers

Table of Contents

Audio Article – Fear of Failure:

Never let the Fear of Failure Stop You

When a young child learns to walk, it’s because he wants to walk; nothing will stop him from walking. The intrepid toddler has no fear of failure. He’s obsessed with walking; and so he does.

Your whole life is really just a series of you “learning to walk”. Every new goal, project, page, canvas, or composition sheet, and every project that falls short, is a lesson and another step forward toward better.

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”
~Robert Kiyosaki, entrepreneur, investor, author, teacher,

4 Famous Failures

Rejected, Rejected, Rejected, Rejected!

1. J.K. Rowlings — Rejected 12 times

We’ve likely all heard that J.K. Rowlings, author of the famed Harry Potter series, was rejected by 12 publishers before she was finally accepted by one. Today, she is one of the wealthiest women in the world with an entire Disney theme park dedicated to her brainchild. If the fear of failure had defeated Ms. Rowlings, generations would never have known the magical world of Harry Potter, not the namesake theme park visited by over 230 million people each year.

2. Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen — Rejected 140 times

Years ago, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected 140 times and told “Anthologies don’t sell”. Can you imagine keeping on trying after the 50th rejection, let alone the 100th?!?

If they had given up, the world would never have known the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. That iconic brand has, has gone on to become an entire industry, selling over 500 million copies worldwide, in an wide array of “for the ____ Soul” versions.

3. Agatha Christie — Rejected for 5 years

In another story of perseverance, after 5 years of continual rejection, another writer finally landed a publishing deal: Agatha Christie. Her book sales are now in excess of $2 billion. Only William Shakespeare has sold more. If the fear of failure had stopped Ms. Christie, we would never know and be influenced by her brilliance.

4. Dr. Seuss — Rejected!

And… if he’d listened to the rejection letter, the world never would’ve known about Green eggs and Ham. But because Dr. Seuss did not give up, over 300 million books have sold, earning the rank of the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time. Imagine a world with no Dr. Seuss, and what a creative loss it would’ve been if he had given in to the fear of failure.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.”
~Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, speaker, 1930-2009

Don’t Quit

For every author story above, we can be sure there are as many comparable stories for visual artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. One of the most important life lessons that isn’t taught in schools is that failure is normal and ever precedes success.

One thing is certain:

If you quit, you won’t succeed, so… the only way to lose is to quit.

The only way to succeed is to fall and get back up, fall and get back up… over and again. Become obsessed with your success, not your fears and phobias, and you will succeed.

Falling, is not failing, it is learning. Be the “toddler” determined to get up and walk into the future of your dreams.
~LeAura Alderson,®

If you let fear hold you back, you’re letting fear rule—and diminish—your life. Fear is the dark that blights the light. So how to let go the fear of failing? Keep getting up, adjust as needed and try again.

Tell fear “NO!”, and let it go. Reframe your mindset and fortify it each day, and that petulant voice of fear will finally give up, shut up, and move on.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Fear may never leave you, but it need never again impede you. Fear cannot withstand the steady pursuit of a determined soul.
~LeAura Alderson,®

For more quotes on fear, check out this article.

The Fear of Failure is Human

Fear is a shared human experience. So is doubt and uncertainty… love and loss… successes and failures. And… so is our ability to overcome and prevail. 

The world is full of stories of those who’ve triumphed against all odds. And… it is also full of those who’ve given up, who thought it too hard, whose vision and patience and perseverance was short sighted. 

Let not that be you.

If we tell ourselves it’s too hard, it will be. But if we tell ourselves, we’ve got this, that we can do it no matter what it takes, we will. If you’re going through a challenging period in your life, remember, the cycles of life come and go, contract and expand.

Studies prove that all we have to do is think of a negative disempowering word for our energy to be adversely impacted. Say it out loud and it becomes more true. Repeat that story and we’ve written our life into being.

Vastly better to write the right version to life. Ignore the fear. Focus on empowering words and actions, and the fear will get quieter and eventually dissipate.

“Failing forward“ has become my mantra since I began painting . Every “fail” is still a step forward in my art journey, because I learn something of value every time. It doesn’t stop me or slow me down . It actually compels me to move forward, to do it again and do it better until I get it right.
~Mary Peters Ballesteros, artist

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