Fear of failure? It's a myth!

What if I fail?At every step of your journey to getting paid to do what you love, you will be taking a risk - daring to do something new that is a stretch, that you haven't done before.

You'll be striding up to an important contact, perhaps even someone famous, and asking them to help you, or to agree to be interviewed, or to hire you. You'll be volunteering to speak in front of an audience or do a piece of work you've never done before.

Sometimes it's scary stuff.

But don't let that stop you. People get stuck for years paralysed by what they describe as "fear of failure".

Fear of failure doesn't really exist.

Most steps you'll be taking are really not that risky. Nothing in Screw Work Let's Play advocates putting your house on the line or quitting your job without a plan. So if any one step fails, it shouldn't ruin you and there'll be a way to recover. The fear is not really of failure. It's not even fear of what others will say, do or think.

What's frightening is what you will tell yourself when things don't work out.

It's the nasty stuff our own mind taunts us with when things go wrong. Even if the most critical person in your life comes up and tells you you've made a complete and utter fool of yourself - it's what you tell yourself that matters. Because if you know they're wrong, it will barely concern you.

People occasionally email me angrily to tell me I left a typo in my email sent to 1000 people or in my book sold to 1000s of people. At the beginning of my business, that might have hurt. It might have felt like a failure. But now I just make a note and carry on. Because I know it's more important to get on with doing what matters in my business than get hung up on a single word out of 72,000 in my book.

If something has turned out badly for you and you hate yourself for it, ask "What am I telling myself about this?". Write it down. Then gently ask "What might be a kinder thing to tell myself?". Write that down. If you're holding off on doing something because you're afraid it might fail, ask yourself the same questions.

When you finally realise that what you tell yourself is not the truth, it's just a thought, you can breathe again. Go get someone supportive to back you up, see if you can modify your next step to be more agreeable and know that if it doesn't work out, you don't need to torture yourself.

Most important of all, remember that when you make a habit of taking the scary but manageable steps that other people opt out of, you will create a life that others only dream of.

There is much more about this in "Secret 4: How to guarantee your success" in Screw Work Let's Play (How to do what you love & get paid for it)

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  • Hi John,

    this is a GREAT post! I've just been reading a book about how what we often believe about ourselves is just an illusion, NOT the truth! And you've summed it up so well : "When you finally realise that what you tell yourself is not the truth, it’s just a thought, you can breathe again."

    Looking forward to reading more 🙂
    Tracey

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