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Scared to Fail

Have you ever wanted to make an important change in your life but you were afraid you might fail?

Have you ever hidden what you were doing so that, in case you failed, no one would even know about it and you could avoid feeling ashamed or embarrassed?

The uncertainty of life can make you want to stay inside your safe cocoon of predictability in order to avoid the pain of possible failure.

It can be about as darn scary as the idea of falling off a steep rock face!!! (hence the photo for this article…)

Defining Failure

It is natural to want to avoid unpleasant things, especially when it comes to a sense of failure because this can be a threat to a person’s sense of self.

Who wants to sign up to be a failure?

NOBODY! That’s who!

Success and failure are polarizing words that can make you feel anxious and stressed. They are high stakes words that do not allow for anything other than complete success or complete failure.

Remove the anxiety from your attitude and become more resilient in your mindset. Be prepared to keep bouncing back from challenges and disappointments.

Create a more open sense of what success means to you. Learn to see that there can be many possibilities that show up along your pathway of success.

Redefine “failure” to become more of an informative learning process rather than a demoralizing experience.

Use your values to define what success means to you.  For example, if money or status are the only ways that you define success, then that only leaves you the option of being a failure if you run short on money or lose a notch of your status.

If you use your values, such as being an honest person, having a strong work ethic, always making an effort, then you will find a lot more peace of mind knowing that, no matter the outcome, you have continued to do the best you can.

Success can come to mean that you lived according to your values and, because of this, there are many rewarding, satisfying outcomes.

Stay Open to the Process

Your mind is your most powerful asset. Learn to use a more open, dynamic, responsive mindset to interpret what happens in your life. If something doesn’t work out the way you had expected, take the information from that experience and learn from it. Open your eyes to the other possibilities in your life. Don’t treat the experience as a failure. Think of it the same way that you would have to turn your car around at the end of a dead end street. Just turn around and head down another street that is taking you in the same general direction that you originally desired. We all have to modify our plans, respond to changes in our environment, and deal with things that are outside our control.

Follow your values and stay open to all the possibilities of life!

by Diana Zilly, MS, MA, LCPC, NBCFCH. Diana is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Fellow in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and former Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Joliet Junior College.