Those voices still echo as an adult.
And something tells me that I might not be the only one. We live in ‘fear of living’. Fear of the past’s mistakes. Fear of the future. Fear of failure.
We live in fear.
Fear can alter our perception of reality! Agree? Anxiety is lowering our awareness and narrowing our perception. The more we fear, the smaller our life becomes.
When we’re young, we don’t always get enough brave directions. They teach us what not to do, how not to act. We are not given the autonomy to make our own decisions. If we’re not empowered to follow our guts as kids, how will we be able to do it as adults? When limitations start at an early age, constant fear becomes a way of life.
With this in mind, let’s think about what happens when we are expected to never make a mistake at work. Doesn’t this enhance anxiety about performing that task? Worrying about the possibility of failure can make failing seem like the only expected outcome. On the other hand, the obsession with the possibility of creating something that isn’t good enough can turn into the unrealistic expectation of perfectionism. Now, of course, setting high goals will motivate us into becoming a better version of ourselves but unattainable standards can seriously affect our mental health.
When I started working in digital marketing at first, I struggled quite a lot with an inner voice called the imposter syndrome. I was ‘balancing’ (haha) two mindsets: “I’m not good enough so I should just stop altogether” and “I don’t deserve to reach as far as I want”. (click here to read more about this)
Years passed by and even if sometimes fear still finds a way of curling up in my soul, it doesn’t hang around for more than 5 minutes.
As an entrepreneur and marketing agency founder, I learnt to stop worrying about failure. It’s always gonna happen. So what I’m doing now, is actually embracing it. Failure is just a part of the learning process. It’s a gift of experience!
How can you help yourself overcome the fear of failure?
1. Identify your anxiety and become aware of it.
Anxiety is like a snowball. Once it starts rolling downhill, it will become bigger and faster. Don’t let it grow! Recognize when and how you started to head down into the rabbit hole. Now choose the right tools that will help you get out of it. Accept, analyze, and process. Master what you think.
2. Take everything as a learning process.
Whenever you’re struck by the fear of failure reevaluate the outcome of past experiences that you found to be non-desirable. What did you learn from that? Now, remember the reasons you’re following your chosen path. And know that commitment is a choice, not a personality trait. Every day you choose to persist, choose to overcome exhaustion, and choose to not let unfortunate circumstances bring you down.
3. Always follow your gut.
There might be a loud voice inside your head that wants you to play it safe and stick to your comfort zone. That’s the voice of fear. Prove it wrong! Playing it safe means watching from the sidelines. Give yourself the gift of imagination.
4. Start small, build big.
Take action. Schedule all your steps. Celebrate your victories. The hardest part of every good habit is starting. Let the imagination of your future inspire you!
Of course, creating an upbeat, productive atmosphere is no easy task. As if the self-imposing limitations we put on ourselves every day are not enough, a toxic client or collaborator can also easily spread the fear of failure in the individual’s mind. How? Through lack of motivation, impossible demands, or even constant bullying.
You can limit the effects of fear by actively choosing not to let your surroundings influence you. Impose yourself, express your limits and stay the fuck away from negative forces.
Remember that you will not be able to make everybody happy. Someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries and is never satisfied with your work will only drown you. Sometimes you win more when losing a negative customer.
Don’t give up on yourself. If you stumble, pick yourself up and persevere.
OANA CORINA JELEA
The Big Cheese know-it-all
Find her on LinkedIn, Instagram and oanacorina.com