The Fear of Failure

Do you want to get out of the job you hate but the fear of failure is holding you back?

Are you holding back from achieving your dreams?

Do you want to know the secret to turning failure into a powerful tool ?

Hi there, as a business owner for over 30 years, I understand it’s normal to feel nervous and anxious about the possibility of failure. Starting a business and running a business can be a challenging and unpredictable journey, and the fear of failure can often feel overwhelming. 

However, it’s important to remember, failure is a natural part of the process, and many successful business owners have experienced setbacks before achieving their goals.

The Story of Thomas Edison

EdisonThomas Edison was the father of the electric light bulb.

You have all heard the famous  story of Thomas Edisonthe inventor of the light bulb. Edison was a prolific inventor and held over 1,000 patents in his lifetime. However, his most famous invention was the incandescent light bulb. This famous invention resulted from countless failed experiments.

Edison tried over 1,000 different materials to find the perfect filament for his light bulb, and each one failed to produce the desired result. Many people would have given up after so many failures, but Edison remained committed to his vision and continued to experiment and learn from his mistakes.

In fact, Edison famously remarked, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.” His persistence paid off when he finally found the right combination of materials and created a light bulb that could be used commercially. The rest is history.

The story of Edison’s failures teaches - failure is not the end - rather a stepping stone to success. Edison’s repeated failures didn’t deter him from his goal, but motivated him to keep trying until he found the right solution.

Edison’s story shows the importance of learning from our mistakes. He didn’t just keep trying the same thing repeatedly, but adapted his approach and tried new materials and methods until he achieved success. The willingness to learn from failure and adapt is crucial to achieving success in any endeavour.

Modern day examples of failure to Success

There are many modern-day examples of business failures turning into successes. Here are a few notable ones:

AppleOne of the Worlds largest smartphone businesses.

Apple Inc.: In the mid-1990s, Apple Inc. was struggling financially and losing market share to competitors. However, the company’s fortunes turned around when Steve Jobs returned to the company and introduced a series of groundbreaking products, such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Today, Apple is one of the most successful and valuable companies in the world.

AirbnbA great success story

Airbnb: When Airbnb was founded in 2008, it struggled to attract users and secure funding. The founders were so broke at one point they sold cereal boxes to raise money. However, they persisted and eventually found success by creating a new market for short-term rentals and disrupting the hospitality industry. Today, Airbnb is worth over $100 billion.

TwitterA famous logo. A great success story and now Elon Musk has bought it, watch this space.

Twitter noe "X": When Twitter was first launched in 2006, it struggled to attract users and generate revenue. However, the company persisted and made several strategic moves, such as introducing promoted tweets and targeting advertisers, which helped it become a profitable business. Today, Twitter has over 300 million active users and is valued at over $30 billion.

This shows failure and setbacks are not the end, but a starting point for success. By persisting in the face of setbacks and learning from your mistakes, you can turn failures into opportunities and achieve great things.

Take it One Step at a Time

One way to cope with the fear of failure is to focus on taking small, achievable steps towards your goals. Break down your long-term objectives into “Chunky Chievers,” as I call them. Take smaller, more manageable tasks, and celebrate each milestone that you achieve. This helps you build momentum and confidence, which can be crucial for staying motivated during difficult times. Make sure you record the situation as it unfolds.

supportive peopleIt is not that bad. Try to get around supportive positive people.

It’s also important to surround yourself with a supportive network of people who can offer guidance and encouragement when you need it most. This can include friends, family, mentors, or even fellow business owners who have been through similar experiences. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

Keep a positive mindset and stay resilient in the face of challenges. Remember, setbacks and failures are opportunities to grow and learn. Every experience helps you become a stronger and more successful business owner in the long run.

Story Time: The Fear of Failure

You know it would be remiss of me to not leave you without a story. This was handed down by my mentor many years ago. It is a story about an artist and how she transpired to greatness when she believed there was little chance of it ever happening.

female artistFailure was the best thing. Amira turned it into an incredible success.

It takes place in a small village nestled in the mountains of Austria, and a young artist named Amira.

Amira had a deep passion for painting and would spend hours creating beautiful works of art in her small attic studio. Her paintings were vibrant and full of life, and they always left her feeling happy and fulfilled.

One day, Amira decided to share her paintings with the world. She entered a local art competition and submitted her best work. However, when the results were announced, Amira’s painting was not selected as a winner. She felt disappointed and discouraged. She doubted her talent and wondered if pursuing her passion for painting was worth it.

However, a few weeks after the competition, a wealthy art collector came across Amira’s painting in a local gallery. The vibrant colors and intricate details of her work immediately captivated him. He purchased the painting on the spot and offered Amira a commission to create more paintings for his collection.

Amira was overjoyed and couldn’t believe her luck. She realized that her passion for painting was worth pursuing, even if she faced setbacks and rejection along the way. With the support of the art collector, Amira’s paintings gained recognition, and she became a celebrated artist in her community.

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Years later, Amira would look back on that art competition as a turning point in her life. She realized failure and rejection were simply a part of the journey, and perseverance and resilience were the keys to achieving her goals. She continued to paint with passion and dedication, creating beautiful works of art and bringing joy and inspiration to those who saw them.

The story of Amira, the aspiring artist, is a tale of perseverance, passion, and the power of pursuing her dreams. At its core, the story is an important lesson about the value of taking risks and following our passions, even in the face of setbacks and obstacles.

The moral of the story

One of the key morals of the story is the importance of resilience in facing the fear of failure. When Amira’s painting was not selected as a winner in the art competition, she felt discouraged and doubted her talent. However, she did not give up. Instead, she continued to create and share her work, which eventually led to her breakthrough moment when a wealthy art collector discovered her painting and commissioned her for more.

The fear of failure is not the end of the road

The fear of failure is not the end of the road, but an opportunity to change, learn, grow and persevere. When you encounter setbacks and obstacles, and you most definitely will, it's easy to feel discouraged and give up on your dreams. However, if you can cultivate resilience and continue to pursue your passions with dedication and determination, it will surprise you with what you can achieve.

Achieving rrecognitionAchieving recognition is the reward for conquering failure.

Another important moral of the story is the value of taking risks and putting ourselves out there. Amira could have easily kept her paintings to herself, never sharing them with the world. However, she took a chance by entering the art competition and putting her work on display. This ultimately led to her breakthrough moment and the start of her successful career as an artist.

Sometimes, the biggest risks can yield the greatest rewards. When you step outside of your comfort zones and take chances on your passions, you open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences. 

It's scary to put yourself out there and risk rejection or failure, but it’s often worth it. 

stepping outside comfort zoneIt's amazing what results you get stepping outside your comfort zone.

Finally, it is important to pursue our passion with energy and dedication. Amira loved painting and poured her heart and soul into every work of art she created. This dedication and passion ultimately led to her success as an artist and the fulfilment of her dreams.

When we do this, we not only have the potential to achieve great things, but we also experience a sense of accomplishment rarely found in anything else. When we follow our hearts and pursue what we truly love to do, we can live a life that is authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling. Remember, it is never work when you are doing what you love.

The story of Amira’s story is a valuable lesson about resilience, risk-taking, and pursuing the thing you love to do with dedication and passion. By embracing these virtues and applying them, you can unlock your full potential and achieve great things, both personally and professionally. Just by facing the fear of failure.

These examples show that failure is not the end, but the start. By persisting and learning from your mistakes, You will turn failures into opportunities and achieve greatness. 

Practical steps to take to overcome the fear of failure.

If you’re struggling with a fear of failure, here are some practical steps to help overcome it:

1. Identify the source of your fear: Take some time to reflect on why you’re afraid of failing. Is it because of external pressure from others, a past failure, or a belief failure would be catastrophic? Understanding the root of your fear can help you develop a plan to overcome it.

2. Reframe failure as an opportunity for growth: Rather than seeing failure as a negative outcome, try to view it as a learning experience. Each failure can teach you valuable lessons and help you improve your skills and strategies.

3. Set realistic goals: Setting too lofty or unrealistic goals can contribute to your fear of failing. Instead, set smaller, achievable goals that build momentum and confidence as you work toward bigger goals. Use my “Chunky Chievers” method.

4. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone experiences failure at some point. Don't beat yourself up over failure, treat it as a learning experience.

If you have never made a mistake - you've never made anything.

5. Take action: Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear of failure is to take action. Start by taking small steps outside of your comfort zone and gradually work your way up to bigger challenges. Each success, no matter how small, can help build confidence and reduce your fear of failure.

6. Seek support: Consider reaching out to a mentor, coach, or supportive friend or family member who can provide encouragement and guidance as you work to overcome your fear of failure.

small stepsSmall steps get you there.

Overcoming the fear of failure is a process, and it won’t happen overnight. By taking small steps and identifying the source, reframing, setting realistic goals and practising self-compassion, you can gradually build confidence and resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. Seek support from your mentor. Take action.

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The story of Thomas Edison’s light bulb invention illustrates the crucial role that failure plays in achieving success. 

Apple struggled financially. Airbnb sold cereal boxes to raise money, Slack failed to develop video games, and Twitter failed to attract users to generate revenue.

By embracing failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, and by persisting in the face of setbacks and obstacles, you can achieve great things and make your dreams a reality.

There are probably many modern-day examples of business failures turning into successes you have never heard of. 

I hope these tips and stories help you cope with and understand the fear of failure. See it for what it is. In most cases, it is an opportunity for outstanding success disguised as failure. Find success in your business journey. 

Remember, you’ve got this!

Go you good thing.

Experience isn't the best teacher, experience is the only teacher.

cliff climber

Confidence comes from experience