I know how it feels when your fears get the best of you. As a seventeen year old, I can recall myself wasting the entire weekend away sitting in the hostel room because I was scared to go out to explore the new city. My family used to encourage me to step out and see what the city holds. But I would always brush it off with the reason that I was tired and needed rest. In reality, it was my fear of getting lost in an unknown city that would stop me from stepping out of my comfort zone. Yes, it took me years to acknowledge my fear of failure as the reason why I always procrastinated.
I was on my own for the first time. And as much as I wished to go out of that hostel room, I wanted someone to be there with me all the time. It was only when I went out with my roommates that I gained the confidence to explore the city alone. My family would often call me lazy for not stepping out more often. Little did they know that my fears were the main reason I would skip going out.
We often mistake our fear of failure as laziness because it helps us ignore the reality. In other words, it’s just easy to put things off than failing at them. We’d rather change our goals than having to face our fears. I have seen people let go of amazing career opportunities because they didn’t want to leave their comfort zone. Many people don’t give love a second chance because of the fear of getting their hearts broken again. The fear of not being good enough often stops people from taking the leap of faith. And the fear of stepping into an unknown territory often holds them back from taking that very first step.
Laziness is never the sole reason why you always procrastinate. There may be some underlying fears to stop you from being your best self. And the fear of failure is the most prominent one of them.
I remember how fearful I was before leaving for my first solo trip. For a while, I wasn’t even sure I would come back home. I was scared to even board the bus or check in to the hotel.
But you know what they say?
“The only way out is through.”
When you finally expose yourself to your fears, you will realize that they were actually an illusion that took years to build in some hidden corner of your mind. And if you wish to stop procrastinating because of this fear of failure, read on to know how to beat it:
1. Acknowledge Your Fears
Once you take time to acknowledge the fears building up in your mind, you will also gather the courage to accept them. If you have been skipping those office parties and family gatherings because of social anxiety (and not because you are busy), now is the time to acknowledge it. If the fear of being rejected is stopping you from applying to a job, now is the time to accept it. Acknowledging how you feel is the first step to overcoming your fears.
2. Analyze The Potential Outcomes
More often than not, it’s the end results that end up holding people back from facing their fears. In order to get rid of this fear, analyze all the possible outcomes and prepare your mind to face them.
For instance, consider the fear of stepping into the unknown that might have been stopping you from taking the job opportunity in a new city. The best possible outcome if you grab the opportunity is that you’ll build yourself a great life there – financially and socially. On the other hand, you may realize that you loved your life back there in the old city and you’d want to have it back. Either way, you won’t have any regrets because in the end, you’ll know that you at least tried.
3. Put Your Fears To Test
Again, you won’t know if you won’t try. The most effective way to shed your fears away is to put them to test. If the fear of being alone holds you back from living your best life, imagine yourself being single for life. It might sound scary, but it will help you think about different ways to make your life happy and interesting without needing someone else’s support.
Similarly, if meeting new people scares you, put yourself out there in a situation where you will have no other option but to talk to strangers. Go out on a solo trip, step out to dine alone or get involved in an activity club. When you put your fears to test, you will realize that your fears are nothing but the limitations created by your own mind. Here is an amazing list of inspiring quotes that can help you in facing your fears. I promise you’ll love it!
4. Shed Away The No-Failure Approach
Perfection is a myth. And anyone who is trying to chase perfectionism is living in an illusion of something that does not even exist. Your fears are mostly fuelled by your desire for perfection. So if you think that you aren’t good enough to try your hands at something that needs perfection, remind yourself about the failures you must have faced while learning to walk as an infant.
5. Arm Yourself With Information
Lack of information is one of the most common reasons why we procrastinate. You may have everything that it takes to drive a car. But the lack of knowledge about its functioning is enough to hold you back from hitting the road. When you arm yourself with information, the fear will lessen and you will be willing to try out things that have always scared you because you didn’t have enough knowledge about them.
6. Failing Is Better Than Not Trying At All
Failure might leave you disheartened. But it’s still better than the regret that comes with knowing that you didn’t try at all. Besides, as important as it is to put in the effort, self-sabotage is something that you must never engage in no matter how many times you fail. Learn to find comfort in the good and resort to positive thinking as a tool to prepare yourself for the possible outcomes. Recognize that life won’t be as bad as you think even if you fail.
7. Have A Plan B
Have a plan B if you feel scared to see yourself failing at plan A. Besides, you will be more confident while facing your fears when you know that you have another option to fall back on.
Combating your fears isn’t a one day thing. It’s rather a never ending process, the one that needs you to be self-aware. You might have not realized it yet, but you do know what has been stopping you from achieving what you have always wanted to achieve. And if your fear of failure is one of them, now is the time to act against it.