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  • Writer's pictureJess Talbott

Is the fear of failure holding you back?

Updated: 5 hours ago

You're not alone in fearing failure.


A whopping 58% of working-age individuals in the UK say that they have thought of a great start-up idea but are held back from pursuing it due to a fear of failure (according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.)





It's Stress Awareness Month, and the journey to finding a job or progressing in your career can be overwhelming, and now with the recession, it's worse.


The fear of failure can grip us tightly, casting doubts on our abilities and leaving us paralysed with indecision and therefore inaction.


But here's the thing: failure is not the end of the road. Think of it as a necessary stepping stone. Each setback teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves, helping us refine our goals and strategies for the future.


It's okay to feel afraid. It's okay to worry about what the future holds. But don't let that fear dictate your actions or hold you back from pursuing your dreams.


Scroll above for 3 practical steps you can take to address your fear of failure, using it as fuel to propel yourself forward out of your comfort zone and into new opportunities


What does 'fear of failure' mean?


Imagine you're standing at the edge of a diving board, ready to jump into the pool.




You look down, and suddenly, fear creeps in. That fear, that feeling of being scared to take the plunge, is what we call the fear of failure.


It's like when you want to try something new or pursue a goal but that little voice in your head says, "What if I mess up? What if I fail?"


And because of that fear, you might end up not even trying. But here's the thing... Fear-based failure is just that - fear.


It's not a reflection of your abilities or potential. It's just a feeling that's holding you back from taking a leap of faith. And you can work through that fear, step by step, to help you overcome it and reach your goals. So what can you do about it?


Understanding the fear


First things first, it's okay to feel nervous about taking risks in your career or in your personal life. Recognise that fear and failure are natural, and these experiences often means you're pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and that's where growth happens.





Define your fears


One practical step you can take to address the fear of failure is to practice the fear-setting exercise.


Write down your fears about a specific goal, identify worst-case scenarios, and outline steps to reduce risks and cope with potential setbacks. The idea of this is to conquer your fears by defining them.


To add to your Watch Later:


By breaking down your fears into manageable pieces and developing a plan to address them, you'll feel more prepared and empowered to take action despite the fear. If anxious about a career change, list obstacles and plan steps to overcome them, like researching new industries or networking.


And most importantly...


Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself kindly when things don't go as planned.

Remember, mistakes happen to everyone.


Be gentle with yourself and use failures as opportunities to learn and grow.


"If you wouldn't say it to a friend, don't say it to yourself "

Jane Travis


So with that in mind - embracing fear may be the first step toward growth, but it can feel the hardest. But with each challenge, setback, and with belief in yourself, you grow stronger. It gets easier. You've got this!


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