72% of the women who took my Women & Confidence Survey last spring chose 'failure' as a fear for them followed by 'other people's expectations' (33%) and 'change' (24%). The funny thing about a fear of failure is that it wouldn't exist without our enabling it. Failure is the trompe l'oeil image in the oil painting of our life; it seems real but it's not.Fear means false evidence appearing real -- neither real nor absolute.
Seldom do the consequences of our actions catapult us toward a place where we are not able backtrack and choose an alternate path. Indeed, as humans responsible for our own happiness, we must exercise our right to choose our own path and to make choices which empower us. If a decision doesn't work out the way we had hoped it might, we needn't interpret the action as 'failure' but as a 'detour' instead. We can then switch gears with less angst and choose differently.Here are four ways that you can transform a fear of failure:.1.
Change your perspective. Just as there are no right or wrong choices (simply decisions which detract us from where we want to be, usually adjustable), failure is a perspective. Instead of imaging the wall of woe that will crumble if you 'fail' in some endeavor, consider instead how much more knowledge you will have gained from the experience. Self-knowledge is one of the most powerful tools that we can use to ensure the thriving of our Authentic Self. Too few of us discover new and wonderful things about our Authentic Self. Become an exception to that rule!.
2.Remind yourself of past successes. Too often we allowed ourselves to be carried away by our feelings. This can be a good thing (crying without abandon at a good film for example) but it can also be detrimental to our self-esteem.
Instead of allowing negative feelings of anticipated misery to take over, check in with your brilliant noggin and remind yourself of your past successes (bar exam passed on 1st attempt; birth of your daughter; signed contracts for your services). When we recall decisions that turned out well or actions that were personally courageous, we build self-esteem. Past successes lead to future success.3.Eliminate perfect as your modus operandi. Whenever we shoot for perfection, the result will always be failure because perfection is unattainable.
Failure is the direct cause of an inclination for perfection. Adopt the Authentic-Self-valuing attitude of 'do your best' instead of the misery-inducing 'shooting for perfection'. The difference between these two attitudes is compassion. The essence of self-esteem is compassion for the self. When we shoot for perfect, we are acting cruelly toward our Authentic Self and in so doing, we lower our self-esteem.4.
Triple the care of Your Authentic Self. As you ready yourself to make a decision where the outcome is uncertain, cocoon your Authentic Self by keeping other positives constant in your life. Devote more attention to your faithful support team (add a daily check-in call or email); maintain heartening familiar routines (daily gym; monthly massage) and create relaxed landscapes (afternoon breaks with a cup of green tea; spontaneous mid-week naps). Do a better job than usual of caring for your Authentic Self. You will feel more inclined to risk an uncertain outcome when your self-esteem is boosted by other positive constants in your life.
When we permit our fear of failure to become real, we relinquish control of our Authentic Self. Doing this diminishes our self-esteem. With self-esteem depleted, we find ourselves less able to deal effectively with the challenges that life throws our way.
We are more inclined to tolerate situations that don't honor our Authentic Self. We are less likely to advocate for our own wants and needs. We grow lethargic as apathy replaces passion in our lives.
Reign that fear of failure in! Take hold of your Authentic Self, build self-esteem and call that fear what it really is: a hoax (remember: false evidence appearing real) which defeats your Authentic Self and lowers your self-esteem..Elizabeth Johnson is a Confidence Coach who works with women exclusively on Authentic Living. To learn more, visit her website: http://www.ejohnsonandcompany.
com. Or, check out her blog at http://www.ejohnsonandcompany.com/blog.
By: Elizabeth Johnson