‘The only person stopping you is you’ is an old saying, but definitely true for lots of women in the workplace (or running their own business) who think they are not good enough, or clever enough, to be where they are, not realising that hard work and ability has got them this far, and all they need is a little self-confidence and they can get to the very top. If this sounds like you, read on for our 10 great tips for overcoming your fear of failure and become the best you can be today!
1. Acknowledge Your Fear: Start by acknowledging what you are feeling is fear, and tell yourself it's OK to feel like this, as everyone does sometimes. It’s the next steps you take in overcoming the problem that truly matters.
2. Stop Ruminating Over What Could Go Wrong And What Has Gone Wrong: Mindfulness is a great psychological technique that has become popular in recent years. It simply means enjoying and being in the present, rather than worrying or fretting about the past or future. Yes, it’s useful to have a plan and go over past mistakes to see what you could have done better, but when this turns into berating yourself for all your past mistakes, it becomes a hindrance. When you need to get something done, the present is the time period you should be most concerned about. Employ some deep breathing to clear your head and focus on the work ahead.
3. Think Of Your Worst Failure And The Steps You Took To Get Over That: What was the worst mistake you ever made? It may seem detrimental to think of this when trying to build self-confidence, but once you recognise the steps you took to overcome this issue, you will realise that you were far more capable than you thought.
4. Have A Detailed Plan Of Your Future Career Path: A clearly laid out career plan can help you focus and stop you feeling you are going to fail. It is helpful to have on paper exactly what you want to do in the next few years, (for example - start a business or move up the career ladder) how you are going to do this and what resources you will need. Break everything down into smaller steps. If you only have small tasks to complete, it will seem less of a challenge getting to where you want to be.
5. Get A Mentor: A mentor, who could be a manager that’s further ahead in their career or someone you know that has started and grown their own business is a great tool for any woman looking to get ahead. Someone who has trodden the same path and come through the other side can guide you towards what your next career move will be, but can also help you get over your fears, as it’s likely they will have been in the same position. They can point out the areas you need to improve in, but can also crucially point out the areas you are doing well in. Positive comments from someone you respect and admire can do a lot for your self-confidence.
6. Find Out The Main Cause Of The Fear: Do you know exactly what's causing your fear? If you don’t, it may be helpful to meditate for a while so you can find out exactly what’s causing the problem. It could be down to past failure, upbringing, self-confidence issues or many other things. Whatever it is, you will never get rid of your fear until you realise exactly why you are scared. If you feel like it, seek professional advice or even just talk to a trusted friend who knows you well and can help you get to the root of the problem.
7. Treat Yourself!: If you are scared of something specific, like picking up the phone to call a potential new client that could bring you a lot of business, or speaking to your manager about a promotion or pay rise one way to get over your fear of failure is to give yourself something incredible to look forward to after you’ve done whatever is scaring you. What if you book yourself a massage or even a full spa day? Or set up an expensive dinner at a restaurant you have always wanted to visit? Choose something that’s enough of an incentive to get you to make that call or meet your boss. Not only will you feel amazing afterwards for conquering your fear, but you’ll also have that brilliant reward to look forward to.
8. Change Your Methods: Do you always use the same techniques? Failing to get results? Think about completely changing your working methods and you might see a difference in your output. Write down what you want to achieve and if you are currently reaching that target. If not, what methods are you using to get there? Is there anything you could do differently from last time?
9. Focus On The Tasks You Have Done Or Performed Well In: If you are afraid of failure and not confident, it can be all too easy to focus on your past errors, rather than looking to the future. Get a pen and piece of paper and try to write down three things you can think of that you have done well in during your career. As soon as these three items are on paper, you will feel better knowing that you can perform well and have done in the past. This should give you a boost and more things you have done well should pop into your head.
10. Regretting Not Doing Something Is Usually Worse Than Trying And Failing: In life, we tend to look back on the things we haven’t done as our biggest regrets, rather than the things we have done and failed at. There will always be a little voice in the back of our heads that remind us of the chances we haven’t taken and the opportunities we haven’t seized, but the embarrassment and pain of making a mistake will fade over time from our memories and our colleagues and bosses. Most of the time, our mistakes aren’t life-threatening, so can be fixed in the end. Take whatever opportunities and experiences you can get in your career and don’t let the fear get the better of you.
Disclaimer: We are very happy for you to reproduce this article for your own personal use, blog, newsletter or website. All we ask is that you do not modify the content and that you add the following message and link to the bottom of the article. This article is reproduced with the permission of Jane Lowe, Founder and Creator of The Great Women's Academy. To find out more please visit www.thegreatwomensacademy.co.uk