Have you ever had a time when you felt fantastic, open to the possibilities of life and love, ready to take on the world?

And then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, you felt a tiny twinge of fear arise in your belly?

Instead of feeling the unadulterated joy of the moment, you began to wonder, “What’s coming next?” Your mind started telling you, “Watch out. You could get hurt!” You started expecting the worst. While it feels perplexing when this is happening to us, the fact is that this kind of internal happiness-sabotage is quite common.

The fear of failure strikes all of us at one time or another, and it strikes some of us more than others.

Let’s say you’re about to step into a new role at work—you’re thrilled because you’ve put in the effort, and you’re excited to lead from a place of courage and empathy. But there’s persistent little voice of worry: “What if I’m not up for the responsibility? What if my colleagues stop liking me? What if I…fail?”

Fear of failure is often most present at the moments in our life when growth is imminent. Whether we’ve craved the new opportunity or not, change can be scary because it invites in the unknown.

Luckily, overcoming the fear of failure is a skill you can learn.

Below are a few suggestions that will move you from expecting the worst to enjoying the journey of life, even when the road feels bumpy.

Accept that challenge is inevitable.

I’ll begin with the honest truth. You will have joyful moments, dull moments, heartbreaking moments. The present moment is fleeting, and ultimately, challenges do await you. You can’t change that. What you can choose is how you view the uncertainty. You can resist the challenges that lie ahead, or you can accept life’s obstacles as opportunities for learning. When you do the latter, you can begin to stop expecting the worst and start living in the present.

Look at challenges as adventures.

Optimism is not about blindly expecting the positive to occur. Optimism is about viewing life as a journey with many gates, each of which presents us with the opportunity to learn more about who we are. I am not suggesting that you become a passive bystander to the heartaches of life. Part of overcoming the fear of failure is embracing the fact that the future is unknown. When you view life as an adventure, you begin to gain the courage you need to take on whatever life hands you.

Recognize how much you have grown through tough times.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “But really, do I need to experience more heartache? Why can’t it be easy for once?” Believe me; I get it. I’ve been through a lot, and sometimes I wish that the rest of my life could just be smooth sailing. But since we’ve established that there is no avoiding the adventures that lie ahead, I take solace in the fact that I would not be the person I am today without everything I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t even be writing this for you if it hadn’t been for lots of heartache and pain. Call me crazy, but I think that’s a good thing.

So when the future looks scary, ask yourself this, “What is one little thing I took away from a past challenge? What is one itty bitty thing that I’m grateful for having learned?” And know that, no matter what happens, if you are open to the lessons, there are plenty in store for you.

Experience the present moment fully.

The best way to experience delight is to practice living each moment fully. Knowing that challenges may await you does not make the beauty of this moment any less real. When you learn to experience the present moment fully, you gain the ability to overcome your fears and start basking in the moments when you are overjoyed or simply at peace with life.

One practice that can help you to embrace delight is to try experiencing the present moment as a magical child. The magical child is a bit like that awestruck child watching fireworks for the first time; everything is exciting and new. Just like an innocent child doesn’t want the rug pulled out from under her, neither does the magical child within. She wants to soak up every last bit of excitement and anticipation and enjoyment she can. When your mind wanders away from the glory of the moment, imagine yourself as that magical child and bring your mind back to what is happening now. And now. And now.

Overcoming the fear of failure is a dance between accepting the inevitable and embracing how you feel right now.

When you embrace the fact that life is an adventurous ride, giving thanks for your lessons, and experiencing the delight of the present moment, you will eventually gain the strength to stop expecting the worst and start engaging the rough spots with courage and curiosity.

Do you have a penchant for expecting the worst? Does the prospect of overcoming your fear of failure to live your calling and love your life sound enticing but out of reach? Click here to learn more about confidence coaching—together we can clarify your next steps in making your goals a reality.


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