How do you deal with fear of failure?

By Canadian Management Centre

Reframe the concept of failure
A helpful first step is to change how you’re thinking about ‘failure’. Failure is a loaded word that evokes heavy emotion. The reality is that many things that don’t work out as we planned are excellent opportunities for learning. And that’s not just sugar-coating the issue. Several great inventions and successful businesses were built on a background of ‘failures’ that later lead to success. So, take a moment to consider how you might reframe the term ‘failure’. Even saying something like “I’m afraid that my presentation might not be as effective as I’m hoping” is a lot less scary than saying, “I’m afraid my presentation will be a complete failure”.

Accept that fear is normal
Next, recognize that fear is normal and it’s not going away any time soon. We are neurologically wired for safety – both emotional and physical. Taking risks or taking on a stretch goal feels risky to the human brain that prefers the comfort of the status quo. Remember, the fact that you’re experiencing a fear failure is a great sign of your commitment to growth. And, it’s equally important to recognize that you can ‘feel’ and experience the fear and take action despite it.

Recognize where you’ve overcome fear
Next, write a list of things you can now do easily that you once feared. For example, maybe you were extremely fearful the first time you were promoted into a management role and now you feel quite competent and enjoy leading a team of people. Reminding yourself of how far you’ve come and how many previously ‘scary’ things you’ve grown through is a great way to build confidence.

Use visualization
Finally, visualize yourself overcoming any obstacles you think you might encounter. See yourself succeeding. Visualization is a powerful tool to calm your anxiety and create positive, forward momentum.



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