Failure. A word that haunts many leading to a phobia; invoking feelings that could be detrimental to one’s mental state oftentimes associated with anxiety disorders that compound stress reactions.
Everyone is drawn to success. We all want to be successful and seen to be successful. However, having a phobia for mistakes can actually inhibit our chances of attaining the success we desire.
To be successful, the key is not to fear mistakes; but acknowledge the resulting failure and use it as a launchpad to actually succeed.
I know for a fact that changing our failure mindset is easier said than done. It takes a dogged deliberateness.
Each time I failed, the thought of undertaking a new venture or going out of my comfort zone came with severe anxiety…I freeze and my mind goes into turmoil. I begin to think of different scenarios and already brand myself a failure before even starting. Which of course leads me to fail.
The truth is; the problem is not that I failed (because failure is a natural part of life) but my perception of failure. I saw failure as my definition of me; so I did not exude the confidence I needed; I did not reach out to my network as I should have and I did not engage my full potential.
I was confessing the wrong things. I was attracting the wrong things. I was constantly frustrated and depressed…and was living the “why me” life.
Stress became my daily companion. Seeing something through was near impossible.
In other words, each time I failed. I gave up. I would withdraw into my shell. Throw a pity party. The world would become my enemy and I would be angry, frustrated, lashing out needlessly.
Then I would start on something else. And fail, yet again. Because, I hadnt learnt resilience or what it took to weather out a particular storm.
And the cycle would continue.
This went on until I realized the damage it was doing to me, my talents and my mental health.
Having had my own fair share of failures and made massive mistakes that have caused me jobs, businesses, relationships, money, etc; I had to be intentional about building a new relationship with failure. When I changed my attitude, I began to notice a difference. I was no longer plagued with anxiety. That fear was gone. Literally. I still dont like to fail; but I no longer let it have control over me.
I am going to share how I achieve this; basically the same principles I share in my Stress Management classes.
MY TIPS ON CONQUERING THE FAILURE PHOBIA
- Accept that FAILURE is part of life: just like waking up in the morning; somethings will work, some things wont. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
- Stop playing the VICTIM CARD: the world is not conspiring against me. I learnt to own my mistakes and acknowledge my actions or in-actions. My mindset became “why not me” rather than “why me”
- Start looking for BENEFITS in past failures: In other words; I stopped regretting. It is always easy to focus on regrets; but there is always something positive to take out of the failure. Pick a failure and try to write out at least 2 things you gained from the failure. So, I lost that job. Why? Maybe I didnt do my research properly? So, the benefit becomes…that failure taught me how to do my background properly before heading out for an interview
- Begin to see possible failures as OPPORTUNITIES: failures are no longer threats, but challenges to make me better and stronger. So. Lets say; I am embarking on a new venture and it appears I do not have the funding required; rather than get discouraged, I am challenged to view it as an opportunity to become more creative with either my funding needs or more open minded to try something new.
- Visualise SUCCESS: I take back control of my mind. What you dwell on, you begin to manifest. Its simple science. So, rather than fueling my fear; I begin to imagine myself winning. I speak positive words of power to reinforce my self belief and further enhance a more positive outcome.
- CELEBRATE yourself when you do fail: no one can be kinder to you. Learn to celebrate failures as you would success. Not to encourage complacency or mediocrity but to appreciate your attempt and potential learning curve. Rather than dwell on the disappointment; prioritise self care. Become self aware and change attitude that need to be changed. Confide in people. Open up and make yourself receptive to learn from those who have been there. The worst you can do when you fail is to recoil within yourself. This will only succeed in building feelings of distress.
S0, these are my go-to steps that I practise. It is not easy; but that is why it has to be a very deliberate effort.
The key takeaway is that Failure is not a disease. Failure is a launchpad to success…a tool that can be used to build the resilience we need to thrive
The only way you can utilize failure efficiently is when you change your mindset towards it.
Failure to do that, heightens your anxiety and creates an atmosphere where you are unable to manage your stress effectively.
How do you deal with failure?