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Conquering the Fear of Failure: 10 Proven Strategies

Photo of Tsvetelina Hinova Tsvetelina Hinova 26 October 2023
Woman making a victory pose in a sunflower field

We’ve all had moments of trying something new only to find it didn’t go as planned. Remember when you enthusiastically followed a cake recipe, dreaming of a masterpiece worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake, only to produce something more akin to a pancake?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But here’s a secret – while that pancake-cake may not have earned you the title of Master Baker, you qualified for the “Tried Something New” badge – which is even better!

The fear of failure pops up like those annoying browser ads. The good news is that Thankbox is here to help. Join us as we unveil 10 proven strategies to conquer the fear of failure, whether you’re aiming to develop strong professional bonds, the perfect cake, or any adventure in between.

What causes fear of failure?

The fear of failure doesn’t just magically appear, it’s usually grounded in several common experiences and beliefs. Let’s uncover its roots:

  • Past experiences: There’s no denying it, our past plays a significant role. If we’ve tried something before and faced criticism, we might be wary of trying again. Remember that time you sang aloud and someone referenced a “dying cat?” Ouch!

  • Perfectionism: Many of us have this burning desire to get everything right. But perfectionism can also hinder us from even trying. If we feel we can’t perform a task perfectly, we might not want to attempt it at all. After all, if it’s not perfect, is it even worth doing? (Spoiler: Yes, it is.)

Group of people watching a laptop screen
  • Unrealistic Expectations: Society, family, or even our inner voice sometimes sets the bar unrealistically high. You don’t have to be the next Einstein or Taylor Swift. Just be the best version of yourself.

  • Worries about judgement: Ever hesitated to ask engaging icebreaker questions at a party for fear of sounding silly? Newsflash! Most people are too busy with their own lives (or pondering their own icebreakers) to dwell on yours.

Recognising where your fear stems from is the first step in addressing and overcoming it. So, give yourself a little pat on the back – understanding is half the battle!

10 tips to overcome the fear of failure

If you’re grappling with the fear of failure, these 10 strategies might be just what you need:

1. Engage in conversations

We’ve all been there, staring at a problem, unable to see a way around it. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as getting a fresh perspective. Sharing fears and discussing challenges with friends, mentors, or colleagues offers solutions you hadn’t even considered. 

And while it might be tempting (and sometimes therapeutic) to vent to your houseplants, human interaction usually offers better feedback. And after those insightful conversations, why not show your appreciation by sending a Thankbox?

Thankbox Thank You Card Sample

Thankbox is a unique way to keep the lines of communication open and strengthen those essential relationships. Whether it’s filled with kind words, memorable moments, or even a gift card, Thankbox has the power to create a lasting impression.

2. Visualise success

Have you ever stopped to consider the transformative power of positive thinking? When you consistently picture your victories before they happen, you tap into a source of motivation and direction. It’s all about visualising your success and crafting a mental blueprint that can help you reach it. 

3. Redefine “failure”

When you hear the word “failure,” what comes to mind? A giant red “F” on a test? It’s time to switch up the narrative. In life, most setbacks are just stepping stones or lessons to help you along the road to success.

To truly tackle the fear of failure, you must shift how you perceive it. Imagine you’re trying to climb a mountain, and you slip. Instead of focusing on the fall, focus on the new view you’ve discovered. It’s all teachable moments.

4. Slice big projects into digestible chunks

Group of people doing high five

Facing a massive project can be overwhelming, especially when you’re rallying a whole team. The secret is to divide tasks into smaller, more achievable segments. This approach makes it feel more attainable and offers regular milestones that can motivate your team. Celebrating the mini-victories will help keep spirits high and ensure everyone stays on track.

Handshake icon Say thank you to your fellow colleagues

Be the first to show gratitude to those who constantly support you in your work. It only takes a few clicks and a couple of seconds to start the gratitude wave.

5. Adjust on the fly

Life’s unpredictability means plans won’t always go as expected. Embrace the ability to adjust on the fly. Recognise when shifts are needed, whether it’s a minor tweak or a major pivot. This adaptability puts you in the driver’s seat when challenges arise.

6. Stop aiming for perfection

Chasing after perfection is a bit like trying to catch a cloud – it might look solid from a distance, but it’s always out of reach. While striving for it is admirable, holding yourself to an impossible standard can hinder progress and lead you to avoid situations where you might fail. Instead, aim for excellence because it motivates you to stretch your skills and learn from your mistakes.

7. Flip the script on failure

When things don’t go to plan, it’s easy to feel like you’re the starring act of the “Oops, I Did It Again” saga. But here’s the twist – every blunder, every “why did I do that?” moment, holds a wealth of insight.

Woman climbing a wall in the gym

Think back to your school days. Remember that strict but well-meaning teacher? The one who, for all their nagging, genuinely wanted you to succeed? That’s what failure is. It may sting at the moment, but it offers a treasure trove of lessons later on.

8. Consider the cost of staying still

While it’s natural to fear failure, inaction can cost you success, learning experiences, and personal growth. It’s worth remembering that every missed opportunity can be as important as a failure, if not more so. Sometimes, the biggest risk is not taking one at all. As they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

9. Boost your self-esteem

Self-esteem and personal development go hand-in-hand. By setting and achieving personal development goals, you reinforce your unique strengths and capabilities. A morning affirmation can work wonders for your confidence. Remember, true confidence is believing in your ability to grow and adapt.

10. Accept that fear is part of the process

Woman surrounded by sunflowers and bubbles

Whether it’s stepping onto a stage, launching your blog, or kickstarting a business, you have the power to push past the apprehension. Don’t hold back waiting for fear to fade. Embrace it, confront it, and discover the remarkable rewards waiting for you as you step out of your comfort zone.

Tackle fear head-on with Thankbox

In life, facing setbacks is natural, but it’s our response that matters. The fear of failure can be daunting, but with the right mindset and strategies, we can turn it into a spark for growth.

Whether it’s redefining failure, seeking advice, or simply taking that first step, we all have the power to rise above our fears. And as we begin, let’s not forget to appreciate those who support us with Thankbox. Celebrate those beside you and create a Thankbox today!

Handshake icon Say thank you to your fellow colleagues

Be the first to show gratitude to those who constantly support you in your work. It only takes a few clicks and a couple of seconds to start the gratitude wave.

Images: Cover | Group of people watching a laptop screen | Group of people doing high five | Woman climbing a wall in the gym | Woman surrounded by sunflowers and bubbles