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Fears have the power to stop us in our tracks and prevent us from trying something new or doing what we really want to do in life. But there are ways to overcome our fears, accept them, and get on with reaching our goals.
Overcoming fear of failure
It sounds strange but we learn far more from our failures than our successes. Mistakes force us to think again and come up with new and creative ideas as well as different ways of tackling a problem. Look at the story of any successful person. Struggles and setbacks are key features of their journey. And it’s because they have remained resilient and kept perspective, that they have been able to overcome their fear of failure and achieve their goals. You can do it too.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill, British prime minister
“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” – H.G. Wells, author
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
"Before you succeed, you'll get temporary defeat and sometimes total failure. It's how you cope in those moments that really sets you apart." – Baroness Karren Brady, sporting executive, small business ambassador
Overcoming fear of embarrassment
Embarrassment is the fear of looking foolish or, more accurately, of thinking we look foolish. We can become convinced that we’ve made the biggest fool of ourselves even when that’s not the view of others.
Here are a couple of ways to approach embarrassment, to either minimise it or perhaps even get rid of it altogether:
Throw yourself into life
By grabbing opportunities that come your way, friends and colleagues will admire you for being brave enough to give things a go – whatever the outcome. And the more you get involved, the easier you’ll find it to overcome any embarrassment.
Put things in perspective
Some people don’t seem to get embarrassed by anything, when in actual fact they have probably just adjusted their attitude to those potentially embarrassing situations. They understand that people will have different opinions. You don’t have to stop caring what others think but you can stop worrying about it and you can develop these skills over time when dealing with different situations.
Overcoming fear of rejection
It’s easy to take rejection personally but, like fear of failure, you’re far from alone in worrying about it. And, like fear of embarrassment, putting things in perspective and remaining positive will help.
Don’t miss out
If no one ever tried anything for fear they might be rejected, the world would grind to a halt. Don’t sell yourself short or deny yourself opportunities just because you think it probably won’t work out. Ask for feedback and understand the reasons why you might have been rejected for something. Take a positive approach and you’ll soon find the confidence to keep moving forward.
Think about the bigger picture
‘There are plenty more fish in the sea.’ ‘When one door closes, another door opens.’ These are well worn clichés, but there's a lot of truth in them. And, like failure, rejection gives us a chance to come back stronger.
Why not make a list of the things you fear and the things they’ve stopped you doing? Naming and shaming your fears (not yourself) will help you deal with them when they try to get the better of you and can help you identify ways to focus on the positives. Get the fear around interviews? Check out lots more advice here.