Do you feel stuck in life because you don’t know how to get over fear of failure?
Do you worry about failing, so you don’t even try?
Are your dreams sitting on a back shelf collecting dust because, deep down, you’re afraid you’ll fail?
That was me for most of my adult life. It took me a very long time to finally launch myself out into the unknown and start my company, Lillian & Co. Even though I had worked hard to overcome my fear of failing, it was still simmering under the surface.
I don’t think fear ever goes away. I think you get better at managing it.
Change Your Definition of Failure
“Failure is not trying”
When Sara Blakey, the founder of Spanx, was a child, her father encouraged her to fail. At the dinner table, he would ask her, “What did you fail at this week?”
She said if she didn’t have anything to share, he would be disappointed. He said that if she failed, it meant she was trying something new. She said, without even realizing it, her father redefined failure for her. Failure is not about the outcome. Failure is about not trying.
Sara says, “That is truly the only failure — not to try.”
In 2012, Forbes named Sara the youngest self-made female billionaire. It all started because she was willing to try.
“It’s only failure if you quit”
Several years ago, I experienced one of the most challenging setbacks in my personal life. It felt like a failure with a capital “F”. I wanted to give up on my dreams, crawl into a hole, and never return.
During that challenging time, I read a quote on Pinterest: “It’s only failure if you quit.”
One night, Matt found me lying under the covers in my bed and asked what I was doing. My muffled reply was, “Trying not to quit.”
I didn’t quit, even though most days I felt like lying around feeling sorry for myself. I’m so glad I didn’t quit, because that meant I got over my fear of failing.
Instead, I learned.
“It’s not Failure. It’s learning”
Going through that experience taught me more lessons than any book could’ve ever taught me. Now, I don’t even give the word failure a spot in my vocabulary. Instead, the pains and the setbacks are simply lessons learned in real time.
Walt Disney said it best, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
If anyone has shown us how to overcome setbacks in life and find success, it’s Walt Disney. He showed us that we must keep going, even when things are not going as planned. He showed us that if we stay the course and never give up, we can accomplish anything.
Don’t be afraid to try your dreams, because you’ve already succeeded as long as you try.
You’ve got this.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are some pieces to inspire you to overcome your fear of failure and go after your dreams: