the fear of failure

As I’ve been thinking, praying and living through the last 9 or so months of making the jump to be full time self employed, probably the biggest hurdle in my mind is fear of failure.  It’s the mental exercise you and I do where you go through in your mind all of the “what if” scenarios.  What if we can’t pay the mortgage?  What if we don’t have food?  What if nobody likes this post I’m typing? What if, what if, WHAT IF?!  As I look at my two kids’ faces, this reality of “What if” gets real.  This fear can become paralyzing, but it’s not isolated to those wanting to make career moves.

We face this fear in all areas of our lives.  There have been times as a creative that I’ve been afraid to try a new design or to bring an idea to fruition.  What if others don’t like it?  Fear.  It fleshes itself out in all areas of our lives.  What if I get honest with people about some things I’ve been dealing with? Fear.  What if put myself out there for someone and am rejected? Fear. What if no one notices what I do and it seems to matter to no one? Fear.

So how do you move past that fear barrier?  How do you deal with the reality of fear of failure?  As I’ve been working through my own “fear of failure”, here are some things that have helped and just some thoughts on that whole process:

  1. Name the worse case scenario – Spell it out, write it out, talk it out.  If this thing really went as bad as the “What If” in my mind is, what would that look like.  Face it, look it dead in the eye.  And then…realistically, work through what you would do if it did happen.
  2. Ask for the help that is already there – When I pray through my fear and then ask God for help, He gives it.  He has helped me deal with those fears.  It’s not that I forget what could be, but rather He gives me peace and confidence that in “What could be”, He’ll be there in that too.  Pretty cool how that works 🙂
  3. The Point of Changewhen your desire to be something different, to see a change, to do something different becomes greater than your fear of failure, that’s where the decision is made to move past your fear of failure.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to fail.  But more than that, I don’t want to come to the end of my days not having taken a risk because I was afraid to fail. That scares me more than failing.

I’ve been doing a lot of digging online and here was an article I read that addresses some of these ideas, especially for those considering making the jump to being self employed:

The Fear of Freelancing: Why You Could Be Hurting Yourself

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