The challenge of taking charge of our failure fears cuts across groups--from children to adults, and across industries and cultures. In addition, though we've learned a lot, the fear of failure continues to delay both societal and interpersonal progress, stopping many from "going for it" in life.
Here are a few recent hints to be gleaned from children, college students, and entrepreneurs/small business owners on overcoming your failure fears:
Hint 1: Increase your positive self-statements when the task looks too hard. Practice statements that encourage persistence in the face of setbacks. These might include statements like, "If I persist, I can figure it out," or, "I can do it," or, "It's okay that I made a mistake. I'm proud of myself for trying."
Hint 2: Adopt a Silicon Valley mindset to failing.
Hint 3. Shame attacking. It's been known for sometime that you'll be more likely to fear failure if you associate failure with shame. Dr. Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, created the technique called "shame attacking" to contradict ego-anxiety, or the anxiety that arises from the belief that personal worth is ratable and at risk when behavior doesn't create socially valued outcomes.
Hint 4. Stop pretending it's permanent. Remember that your fear level can change like the weather, and therefore both fear and failure are impermanent.
Hint 5: Re-evaluate the consequences of failing and imperfection. While some believe perfectionism is at the root of a fear of failure, it doesn't seem to be the case. Conroy and others (2007) suggest that specific beliefs about the consequences of failure are key factors in your failure fears.
If you cannot get past these fears yourself, consider getting the help of a psychologist who uses modalities which help you to question your assumptions.
Atkinson, J. W. (1957). Motivational determinants of risk-taking behavior. Psychological Review, 64, 359–372.
Cacciotti, G., Hayton, J. C., Mitchell, J. R., & Giazitzoglu, A. (2016). A reconceptualization of fear of failure in entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 31(3), 302. Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.lib...
Conroy, D. E., Kaye, M. P., & Fifer, A. M. (2007). Cognitive links between fear of failure and perfectionism. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 25(4), 237-253. Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.lib...
Lehr, D. (2015). Overcoming the fear of failure: Boosting small business in china.
McGregor, H. A., & Elliot, A. J. (2005). The shame of failure: Examining the link between fear of failure and shame. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(2), 218-231. Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.lib...
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University - OIST. (2016, September 23). Ouch! Avoiding failure leads to missed opportunities for children with ADHD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 7, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160923083557.htm