Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Earlier today, I asked on my Facebook Page what holds people back from setting goals. By and large, the overwhelming response was that a fear of failure is what is keeping most back from attempting to set goals.

Failure is Inevitable

Here’s the thing, you are going to fail in life. Failure is evidence that you’re trying.

If you’re jumping out and trying new things, taking some risks, and living life to your fullest potential, failing at some things is unavoidable. We aren’t always going to be able to do everything well nor will every idea we have turn into a golden idea.

But failing at something doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you human.

Failure Doesn’t Have to Define You

Failure doesn’t define you — unless you let it. You can choose to wallow in despair over the fact that you failed at something, or you can choose to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and move forward.

3 Things To Do When You Fail

1. Ask Yourself Why?

When you find that you are failing at something, or you’re at the bottom and have already miserably failed, one of the best things you can do is to step back and ask yourself “Why?” You can’t come up with a solution until you first isolate the problem.

Are you going about something the wrong way? Did you set unrealistic goals in the first place? Are there specific hindrances and roadblocks keeping you from success?

At the beginning of this year, I was all gung-ho about switching to a paperless planning system. I was so sure it was going to make my life and business run smoother.

But a few months into the year, I realized that I was feeling scatter-brained and disorganized as a result of trying so hard to make a paperless planning system work. As I began analyzing why it wasn’t working well for me, I realized that I remember things better when I write them down rather than type them in.

Since I was typing in my projects and responsibilities, I was having trouble remembering them. And while I could also check my phone or my computer, I just wanted to also be able to be able to recall them mentally, too.

2. Make Sure You’re Not Trying to Be Someone Else

As I talked about yesterday, it’s easy for us to feel like failures when we compare ourselves to someone we’re not. And honestly, I think much of our feelings of failure are not truly failure at all — they are actually just feelings of inadequacy that are a result of comparing ourselves to other people.

One of the big reasons I wanted a paperless planning system to work for me was because I saw how it was working so well for my husband. I also had read articles online describing its brilliancy.

But what works well for one person doesn’t always work for others — as I quickly found out. So instead of beating myself up for “failing” at a paperless planning system, I instead decided to accept the fact that it might be a fantastic idea for others, but it just wasn’t the best thing for me.

3. Consider What You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Failure is not fun. It’s not glamorous. And it won’t usually win you any accolades.

Despite this, I have come to believe that failure is my friend. Through failure, I’ve discovered weaknesses and shortcomings in my life, I’ve pinpointed character that I need to work on, and I’ve uncovered many, many ways to do things that don’t work.

I wouldn’t have chosen all of the failures I’ve experienced in life, but in retrospect, I’m realizing that learning invaluable lessons the hard way has helped me develop as a person, shaped the way I approach things in life, and made me a better wife, mother, friend, and business owner.

Instead of running from failure, take time to really examine what you can learn from it so that you don’t make the same mistakes again. By doing so, you’ll probably agree with me that failure can become your greatest teacher to propel you onward and upward!

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Comments

  1. Jen says

    Thanks, I REALLY need this post right now. I was just laying in bed comparing myself to other moms and feeling like I don’t fit in or measure up. Im starting to homeschool my 3 and 5 year old this year. I feel completely unprepared and overwhelmed. My church has a homeschool group, but Im too shy to join- I feel like the new kid. I have no friends, no one to talk to and I guess I just feeling sorry for myself. Comparing myself to others is one of my worst traits, thank you for shedding some light on it.

    • says

      Ohhh, I’ve so done that whole comparing thing! I read somewhere recently this saying-”I may not be the BEST mom, but I’m the best mom for MY kids.” We women are so bad at trying to measure up. Who says that a certain way or a certain mom is the standard? God has a plan for each of us and it looks differently for each of us.

      Check out the homeschool group! It might be just right. If not, you can try somewhere else. Blessings to you.

    • says

      {Hugs!} to you! I think all of us moms have many times when we feel like we’re just not good enough.

      Can I encourage you to try to reach out to a few moms in your church and/or the homeschool group? It’s hard to reach out, but I promise that you’ll be so blessed by developing some friendships with other women.

      And can I just encourage you that all of those moms who you feel like you don’t measure up to? They have plenty of shortcomings, too! :)

      Finally, I’m pretty positive that you’re doing wonderfully as a mom. Give yourself some grace!

      I wish you lived closer so that I could have you over for a playdate! I’ll pray that you are able to find some close local friends in the next few months. Keep taking small little steps to reach out and it will slowly begin to pay off… I promise!

  2. says

    I said this earlier today, but I have to say it again. You are a great encourager and motivator, Crystal! :) I think you have been blessed with a gift.

  3. says

    First things first, I really enjoy the longer articles written by you (not the guest posts, although they’re good too) better than anything else on your blog. I follow all the deals and freebies and giveaways and other stuff, but my favorite thing here is your writing. It keeps me coming back for more!

    Second, I’m not the world’s greatest blogger by the numbers. After more than a year of blogging, I’ve got 34 e-mail subscribers, and 50 Facebook followers. Sometimes I feel like a failure and want to give up on the whole thing and try something else. But lately I’ve been mentoring another first-time blogger, and encouraging a few others. I’m realizing that I’ve learned quite a bit over the last 16 months of blogging, through trial and error, success and failure. As I’m helping them, I’m realizing that I’ve found peace in just being myself, writing on my schedule, and not trying to be just like other bloggers. I am happier when I write when it works best for me, and about what excites me.

    Thanks again for the reminder!

    • says

      My numbers are nothing to boast about either… but I will tell you that I was recently very pleasantly surprised to see that I had almost 100 more subscribers through other sites. Look yourself up via google reader and bloglovin.com and see how many followers you have through there too! =]

        • says

          Great question. I found it simply by typing in my blog name and once I found it, I favorited it and just click on it now. Now that I’m trying this again though, I can’t seem to find it unless I go back through my link. One thing I can tell you though is that it does say “You are not subscribed to this…” which might be part of why I’m able to see it? If you’re subscribed to yourself, perhaps that’s part of the problem?

    • says

      Thanks for your kind encouragement — I hope to have more longer articles this Fall as I’m bursting with ideas and inspiration after taking a writing “breather” this summer!

      I love your outlook on blogging and how you’re so willingly passing on your knowledge to others. And by the way, I think you’re doing a great job as a blogger!

      • says

        Thanks for your encouragement too! I keep telling myself (and my husband and parents), “Crystal had a lot of failures too, before Money Saving Mom really succeeded for her. I just have to keep trying, and figure out what works best for me.” Thanks for inspiring me to keep trying. :)

  4. says

    Once again, some inspiring advice that can be applied to any situation, especially one I’m currently in!
    Oh Crystal, what would I do without you?! =]

  5. says

    Thanks. I needed to hear this right now since a venture of mine isn’t going well right now and I am right at that point where you have to get up and decide whether you climb that ladder again or if its time to try a new one.

  6. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says

    WOW…THANK YOU!

    This post brought me to tears…I was informed that my job was being eliminated a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I am the breadwinner in my house along with the insurance carrier. My career has been the most consistent thing in my life. While it’s not my fault and I did not fail, it certainly feels that way.

    I had to make a major decision about this yesterday and it was really difficult to do…coming in to work at 6:30am and reading this REALLY helped me get a good start to my day…thank you for all that you do. I agree with a PP that these types of articles and segments are the main reason I visit your blog several times a day!

    • says

      {Hugs!} to you. I am so sorry you’re going through such difficult circumstances! I’ll pray that you find some encouragement and hope today!

    • lizajane says

      “While it’s not my fault and I did not fail, it certainly feels that way”…..that could have been ME writing that 3+ years ago! I’m sorry you have to go through that. It was a devastating blow to me, and I’m sure it is to you. Keep your head held high and remember that someone else will be LUCKY to have you!

  7. says

    I like how you said failure is evidence that you’re trying. I heard somewhere that you should do one thing each week that scares you. Otherwise, you’re not moving forward in life. Failure is an inevitable step in this process and it shouldn’t get you down. It just proves that you’re trying to move your life forward. Great post!

  8. Helena says

    Wonderful post and great timing, as I’ve been dealing with some of these issues at work lately. THank you for starting my day off right! So glad I read this before going to work today!

  9. says

    I love this post! It is so true and this is something I struggle with as well. It’s amazing that when you are feeling like a falure or inadequte and you share your fears often others are feeling the same. I think a lot of times we are afraid to voice our fears but it is such a blessing to be able to encourage others and to be encouraged as well.

  10. ANGELA says

    This is something I really emphasize with my daughter, last year she took her driver’s test and failed twice she was so disappointed in this but we are back at and she is improving much better. I keep talking to her because I want to make sure she feels confident and if not what is her fears so we can work on it even it takes a long time.

  11. KimH says

    Its so refreshing to see someone young saying these things. I have always been very introspective so I never really much compared myself to others, I only compared myself to myself. I did look up to some people & emulate the qualities that I admired.
    However, I’ve always been very honest with myself about my abilities. I stink at some things, Im good at others, & Im AWESOME at others.. If its something I dont need to do, then if I stink at it.. why do it? Its ridiculous! If its something I need to do, say cleaning my house, I do it to the best of my ability and dont fash over the small stuff.
    I dont play sports and I dont join competitive leagues because Im usually not good at those sorts of things, even though I enjoy some of them. I find a way to enjoy them that doesnt put me in a stressful situation such as going bowling with my non-bowling friends and family or something like that.

    You can only be the BEST you when you are REALLY BEING YOU!!!

  12. J.B. says

    I really really really needed the quote in the first picture and this entire article. When i was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people and because I had a few minor health issues I saw doctors as a kind of superheroes. I kept that dream forsaking the idea that i may even need a different career choice. I was making great grades and I LOVED science.
    Then I began college and school wasn’t as easy as it once was and adulthood took it cracks at me. Each semester I thought about changing majors. I became a double major just so that I wasn’t giving up my childhood dreams. Because I feared it would make me a failure. A B.A. in Spanish Literature isn’t as exciting or prestigious as a BS in Biology. I wasn’t able to make the grades in the FIRST pre-med biology prereq. That I needed to apply. So before I went on I tried again and failed.
    When I let go of my dream of practicing medicine over a year ago along with the dream that i would finish college in 3.5 years. I fell into a deep depression. I felt like a failure. I thought if i had stayed at home and hadn’t needed to work as much to support myself that I could have studied the many hours it needed to succeed. I played the what if game like my life depended on it. I have spent the last two semesters feeling completely lost and not making ANY progress (despite having enrolled and then dropping classes) because I was and am afraid of failing again. The what ifs that used to be about what if i had done something differently are now about what if I can’t get any further in this path either?
    So all of that was to say that I needed to be reminded that I can do this. Thank you, for your encouraging words.

  13. says

    So true! Sometimes no matter how hard you try at something, it’s just not meant to be. I think it’s really important to remember that everything happens for a reason. You may not know what it is right now, or even next week, but eventually you will look back and say “ok, THAT’S why that happened…”

  14. WilliamB says

    My most instructive episode in life, hands down and without question, was a failure. The lesson I learned was that if I didn’t fail sometimes, I wasn’t pushing my boundaries enough.

  15. flutemom says

    i so needed this today (and nearly every day, it seems!). i’m in the 50+ club of life, and i still struggle with trying to get over the fear of failure. on top of that, just last week a friend pointed out to me that she thinks i am somewhat of a people-pleaser, and i had to examine my life and realize i do have some of those tendencies. thanks for posting and encouraging so many others, crystal. and like someone else mentioned, i really enjoy your long ‘conversational’ posts the best of all your blog.

  16. Becky says

    I just failed and caused someone to be upset/ruin a perfect record as a consequence of my failure to keep my act together. Literally, 20 minutes ago.

    Frustrated, I prayed. Then opened my (long overdue) google reader feed and right at the top was this picture.

    Thank you God, and thank you Crystal.