A Fear of Failing

How often have you avoided doing something because you were afraid to fail? For many of us, failure is like a trusted friend- our sidekick that often leaves us scared to death and paralyzed with fear and anxiety. In many cases our minds have been conditioned to fear failure which results in taking less risk in our lives. We actually may be missing out on some amazing opportunities because of panic and doubt.

fear of failing

I remember my first time taking a yoga class. Gathering the courage to go to begin with was a huge ordeal because I was convinced everyone would be looking at me. When I arrived, all of the spots in the back were taken and the only ones left were those in the row in front of the teacher. All I could think about through the entire class was how awful I must look and was convinced everyone else was watching me. I was waiting for the teacher to criticize me but that never happened. And it wasn’t because my practice was perfect- it wasn’t. It wasn’t because I was perfectly synced with my breath- I wasn’t. All I wanted to do was get through that class.

My moment of fear and failure didn’t come that day because after class I noticed how I felt. I felt like I had just created more space, became more free in the way I moved and more connected. I came to understand that facing my fear and pushing the boundary of what I believed my limitation was actually freeing and liberating. It wasn’t about how the pose looked but how I was aligned inside and out.

So what would you do if you could not fail? Ask yourself that question and make a list of 12 things (one for the next 12 months) and see how many you can check off by the end of the year.

Here are 5 things to consider when moving beyond your fear of failure:

  1. Seek help- ask your coach or another competent professional who may be able to guide you. It’s often what we don’t know that holds us back.
  2. Change your mind- change the way you actually look at failure. Shift your perspective. Many times we have preconceived ideas about failure based on how we were raised and our life experiences. Sometime all it takes a quick mindset change. The most successful people don’t look at failure as life threatening but as a starting point to raise the bar.
  3. Consider all outcomes- ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen? Sometimes we get fixated on the worst case scenario but when we look at all the possibilities it helps to guide us in making a logical decision.
  4. Pause and listen- sit down and take a few deep breaths. Learning to pause and quiet the mind is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to facing our fear of failure. We often become a slave to our mind so using tools like breath work and meditation helps to clear our head.
  5. Stay present- and be in the now. Many of us live in the past or in our stories. And think about how stories change over time. When you learn to be present the “failures” of the past become obsolete and you are able to create strategies of success.


“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I loved through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ Eleanor Roosevelt


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