Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
At times our fears get the best of us. Our comfort zone is where it is, for the lack of a better word, comfortable. One of the many acronyms I have heard for ‘fear’ is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” That phrase puts what I want to discuss into perspective. We all are afraid at times and it is hard to place ourselves into the “unknown,” but at times it is necessary. When we begin to let those trepidation hold us back from anything that would allow us to flourish, this is what could potentially be detrimental.
We should encourage failure. And what I mean by that very bold statement is that failure gets looked at as a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with failure. We want our support system (family and friends) to think highly of us so no one wants to be associated with a ‘failure,’ right? Well, fortunately my family and friends have stuck with me despite my many failures. I am positive I am not the only one who has the pleasure of saying that about her family and friends (If you cannot, we have gotta sign you up for new family and friends). If anything, they should be the ones to encourage you to “try, try, again”. It is what you do after coming up a little short that makes failure good because now you know what does not work. Failure has purpose—and contrary to popular belief, it does not necessarily have to be negative.
Everything has a process and very often (especially when trying something new) failure plays a part. I would argue that some of the world’s most successful people had a fear of failure, but knew how to cope and conquer their fear(s). That is the key!
Elise, you ask, “How do I deal with fear?” I’m so glad you asked.
1. Call Out Your Fear(s): Write down your fear(s) of failure; your “What Ifs.” Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen. Be open and honest with yourself. Really think about it and try to list each one of them. Once you have thought about and considered your worst fear, the hardest part is out of the way.
2. Face the Fear(s): Now consider how you could work past those fears. When you have already set up a plan of attack, it is easier to deal with the problem once it arises. Maybe your plan is just promising yourself you will give up. For me it is inspirational at times of being in the valley, to think of the payoff or the big picture. (I had to tell myself this many times while in graduate school. If you need help, ask someone you trust to help you think of some ways to stay motivated when failure happens. The buddy system works in most instances (Choose wisely, young warrior).
3. Fear Happened: So yeah, that fear that I had…it just happened. Well good! How did you react? Whether you reacted positively, negatively or you are still trying to figure it out, process it in some way. Talk about it with that friend you chose, write about it, or go for a jog; whatever works for you is fine, just make sure that you do process what took place. Ask yourself how could have prevented it or was it out of your control? One way to get better at dealing with not succeeding, is drumming up a better game plan for whatever you are looking to accomplish.
4. Ain’t No Fear is High Enough: Because I know you are going to conquer that fear, you have to celebrate! Note what it took to get there (I’d suggest doing this along the way), so if need be, you can repeat the necessary steps. More importantly, use those conquered fears as inspiration to take on others risks and opportunities.