01/20/2016 12:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why it's Time to Let Go of Fear of Failure


There's something about doing new things and breaking out of a rut that opens you up to scrutiny and threatens to derail your confidence. So many people are deathly afraid of one word: failure. It can be paralyzing to even think about it. Who wants to put themselves out there only to fail?

But I have a couple of questions. Who promised you that every idea or outcome would be a slam-dunk? Where is it written that you get to knock it out of the park every single time? If you find that in a contract, forward it to me so I can collect.

One thing you can believe is that if you never try, you will definitely fail. And you can take that to the bank.

Here are some examples that I hear the most often centered around failure:

  • I want to move to another city but I'm afraid that I'll fail and have to move back home.
  • I'm afraid to start a business because people will think I'm a loser if it doesn't succeed.
  • I don't want to go back to school because I don't know if I have what it takes.

My response to you... So what?

This life isn't a dress rehearsal folks. It's the "Real Deal Holyfield". You don't get to leave this earth and come back and do it all over again the way you had hoped.

Truth moment: My former business consisted of producing beautiful journals and stationery which is something I've always been completely obsessed with. People loved them and I even got them into a local store. Score, right? Wrong. After spending thousands of dollars on the production of them, they tanked. I still to this day have them sitting in boxes in my garage. They're a daily reminder of that failure. Journal, anyone?

Maybe my journals were ahead of the curve because now they are all the rage and everyone is selling them. Que Sera, Sera. I tell this story because it took me years to get back on the proverbial bus of starting another business.

My confidence and bank account went down the toilet and into the sewer. I had to find them both (it was funky) but I made a plan and now I'm back at it. But I count that failure as a win.

Why would I count failure as a win? It taught me that starting up lean and focusing on providing services, such as freelance writing and social media management, instead of making products is best for me right now. It's wise to test the market and scale a business slowly. I'm also 10 times smarter about the way I spend money this time around and I know where to focus my energy.

There's always a lesson if you're willing to pay attention.

Is failure a possibility when you step outside of your comfort zone? Of course, but success is also an option. If you're not attempting something that makes you nervous and a tad bit scared, you're not really living. The feelings of anxiousness and doubt don't last always. Once you get in there and start making things happen, those feelings will begin to subside and your confidence will rise.

If it makes you feel any better, no one is really paying attention to what you're doing. We're all too caught up in our own "stuff" to keep up with your wins vs. losses. Humans are selfish that way and that works for me.

Start today by making small steps toward your goal. Make a plan, take action and watch your confidence soar to new levels.

I'm ready to stop focusing on failure and channel that energy into being a success. Are you ready?