How to Use Your Fear of Failure to Create a New Definition of Success!
Recognizing Fear of Failure:
We can recognize a fear of failure within us by the way we automatically react to new opportunities when they appear in our lives.
New opportunities always come with an element of the unknown, a chance for success and potential for failure. The two go hand in hand and, to our minds, the greater the chance of success, the more we fear the devastating consequences of failure. This link between success and failure is totally logical and not inherently wrong, however, if our focus on failure becomes a controlling fear that prevents us from taking the actions needed for success, something needs to change.
Fear turns opportunities into obstacles, excitement into stress and hope into apathy.
When we are faced with that new opportunity we’ve been hoping for, or even intentionally manifesting, and our minds start trying to persuade us that the opportunity is really just another stressful obstacle that isn’t worth the effort because “no one will care anyway” and “it doesn’t even really matter”, it is time to start questioning our thoughts to find the fear underneath.
Why Fear Failure?
From your brain’s perspective, all opportunities have the potential to become life threatening situations.
Fear is a powerful personal protection mechanism and defense system. If we fear failure, it means that at some level we have associated the situation with our survival, and consequently failure is associated with a decrease in chance of survival.
If that seems extreme, think of it this way, your brain is designed to instinctually take a current situation and extrapolate forward, using data from your past experiences, to figure out how it could result in the worst-case scenario (aka death) and then do anything necessary to prevent that from happening.
To put it simply, I have found that the fear of failure always comes down to the fear of love being taken from us.
We are all interconnected and interdependent on the love we share with other people in our families, friend groups, and our larger communities. Love is the underlying energy of the resources needed for our survival because we have to interact with one another to obtain those resources. Therefore, if any part of us perceives that love may be taken away, fear tries to take control for our own protection.
How do we stop Fear from taking control?
Step 1: Recognize the Fear:
The first step is always recognizing the fear and realizing that it is trying to take control. The more we can question our thoughts, emotions and sensations in times of discomfort and stress, the more we get to know about ourselves, our personal patterns in general and how they relate to fear specifically. If knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is the only way we can truly step into our personal power and counteract fear.
Step 2: Counter Fear with Love:
The only love that others can never take away from us is the unconditional love we have for ourselves.
The “unconditional” part is important, because we all know that we are completely capable of withdrawing our love for ourselves from ourselves. In order to fight fear, we need to make a conscious decision to actively practice self-love during the times when make mistakes or feel like a failure.
This decision takes away the scary, “life-threatening”, love-withdrawing consequences of our failures and reduces the risk they pose. If we decide to love ourselves where we are in each moment, regardless of our other choices or current circumstances, we take our power back from fear by limiting the control it has over our actions.
Step 3: Define Failure:
Failure is a word that each and every person has a personal definition for. What does the word failure mean to you? What actions or lack of action would make you a failure? What past actions have you considered failures and why? Who else in your life do you consider a “failure” and why?
Once you answer those questions, here are some more, equally important ones…
What does the idea of failure or being a failure feel like in your body? What emotions come up? What are the physical sensations and where do they occur in your body? This is important so that you can recognize when you habitually revert to this definition of failure in the future.
Do you choose to continue to subscribe to this definition of failure or are you ready to redefine it?
Step 4: Re-define failure and re-define success:
Success and failure are intricately linked, which means you can approach this re-defining process from either side. No matter which you choose to re-define first, the process always starts with yet another question.
How you would rather feel? And what new definition sparks that feeling inside of you?
Failure can be looked at and defined from many different angles, and depending on how you view it, failure can spark feelings of hopelessness and despair or hope and determination. Similarly, success can be something heavy and difficult or light, easy and graceful. It is completely up to you!
I hope we can all take time and care as we re-define failure and success for ourselves and that it gives us the momentum to take a closer look at the other important words in our lives and the power we choose to give them. Let’s all use self-knowledge, love and choice to take our power back and create lives full of freedom, abundance and success!