Don't Let Fear of Failure Get In the Way of Your Dreams
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” - Paulo Coelho
It’s a bloody shame that in today’s world so many dreams stay just that - a dream. Ideas and hopes are born in a person’s mind, yet don’t have the chance to actually live. How will you know if you can ever accomplish something if you don’t take a risk and put yourself out there?
What Gets in the Way of Our Dreams?
So what is it that stops people from taking the risk and pursuing their dreams? Is it the fear of failure? The fear of being judged? The negative self-talk telling you to just settle and keep your aspirations as a distant unrealistic thought?
Fear is not a bad thing. We all feel it - even the super bad-ass people you look up to. In fact, without it we would all be in big trouble. When fear pops up, it’s generally a sign of our edge. Whether it’s physical, social, emotional, or otherwise, fear calls our attention to an area of our lives we need to work on. It’s really one of our best teachers.
"[W]hen you’re thinking about starting a new fitness regimen, or making any change in your life for that matter, don’t let yourself get in the way."
But it’s easy to confuse fear with actual danger. We mistakenly assign real risk to our internal fears of failure, embarrassment, ridicule, or any number of things that make us uncomfortable. This can lead to hindering behaviors, including analysis paralysis.
This paralysis happens when you get stuck thinking “what if” or “I’m not good enough” or any of the other nonsense we tell ourselves. This generally leads to a lack of action. But it doesn’t have to be this way and you can get over this hump and after your dreams.
4 Ways to Avoid Analysis Paralysis
- Breathe: Take some deep breaths. A calm mind will make every step easier.
- Get Crystal Clear on Your Goal: What’s your goal? Don’t focus on the obstacles. Not the real ones or the ones you fabricated in your head. Focus on “what is” not “what if.” Are the fears surrounding your goal actually an indication of danger or is your ego afraid of being hurt? The goal is what matters. Hold it in your mind. Emphasize your clear objective and stay focused.
- Divide Your Goal Into Smaller Achievable Goals: This strategy will make any challenge seem more doable. Whether it’s losing ten pounds, achieving your first pull up, or landing a new career, to climb the ladder you must take it one step at a time. Don't be afraid of failure. Remember, success can look a lot like failure half way through. There are no real mistakes - just learning opportunities.
- Make These Smaller Steps Measurable: It can help greatly to have goals you can actually measure. "Be a better athlete/businessperson/partner,” “Get stronger,” and “Get leaner” are all fine things, but there’s no objective way to know when you’ve reached goals like this.
So set out some steps toward your goal that are measurable. Some examples of these might be:
- Train three times this week
- Have coffee with two new prospects
- Do 100 kettlebell swings a day
- Graduate to the next heavier kettlebell
Simple, actionable, and measurable steps like this help you see your progress.
RELATED VIDEO: What Everyone Needs to Know About Goal Setting
Now, it’s time to take action. Grab your big-boy or big-girl pants and put them on. Put one foot in front of the other and take a chance so you can get on the path to your goals.
If everyone were paralyzed with the fear of other people’s opinions, there would be nothing. Respect and admiration are earned much more by people who take a chance and fail, rather than hide and never risk anything. And if you’re not ready to take the risk, please don’t hide behind the curtains (or your computer) and judge other people for putting themselves out there.
Let’s discuss fitness as an example. A beginner trainee may be thrilled at learning the kettlebell swing. This person decides to post a video to social media showing what she just learned. Some people out there in the world choose to love and encourage her, while some may criticize the video and bash the poster.
But despite the negative words, the new trainee has developed courage. The trainee will continue to do what she loves, while improving upon her form and technique - without letting others get the best of her.
"Fear is not a bad thing. We all feel it - even the super bad-ass people you look up to. In fact, without it we would all be in big trouble."
So when you’re thinking about starting a new fitness regimen, or making any change in your life for that matter, don’t let yourself get in the way. Don’t worry about the naysayers (there are plenty of them).
Get your ass off the couch, get off the Internet, and make yourself a list of small things you can do right now to make your dream come alive. You don’t need to know every step it will take to reach your goal just to get started. The path has a way of revealing itself as you go.
And remember, there is no failure in life. Just learning opportunities. You’ve got nothing to lose. Go for it and make it happen!
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.