7 effective tips for overcoming your fear of failure

“Have pity on those who are fearful of taking up a pen, or a paintbrush, or an instrument, or a tool because they are afraid that someone has already done so better than they could…” ― Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

The human fear of failure didn’t start with you and it certainly won’t end with you. Even Hollywood starlets and famous entrepreneurs feel this very real anxiety. There’s not much you can do about fearing failure, but there is a lot you can do to make sure it doesn’t keep you from attaining your goals. The following are 7 effective tips for overcoming fear of failure.


1. Use the power of your imagination

Visualize yourself accomplishing your goals before you take them on. Mentally prepare yourself to do well and imagine yourself succeeding. If you spend some time thinking about your success, instead of your failure, scientists have proven that it actually will improve your performance on whatever task you’re taking on.


2. Frame your goals wisely

Shift your definition of success from concrete, measurable achievements to accomplishing broader goals. Aim for success at improving a skill, learning about something new or understanding a new aspect of your work, for example. If you can only see success externally, like “I want to gain three new clients this year,” you’re missing out on the larger picture. Did you improve, did you learn and did you grow?


3. Stay true to your passions

Our enthusiasm and passion can get us through a lot – including the fear of failure. If you’re trying to find success at something you love, you’re going to genuinely enjoy the pursuit of your goals and work past anxiety because you’re doing something you enjoy, no matter what.


“There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen


overcoming fear of failure


4. Assemble a team

Overcoming fear of failure is always easier with a support system in place. Having a mentor, for example, can help you to get past anxiety and focus on how to tackle the challenges at hand. Parents, friends and colleagues can also help motivate you to push past your fear of failure and shoot for your goals.


5. List how you want to achieve your goals

Lay to rest some of the doubts you have by making a concrete plan that includes different easy-to-do steps. Breaking down one big goal into a list of small “to-do’s” makes giant feats a lot less scary to take on.


“Because of self-doubt, the fear of failure, or laziness, most people usually bite off way less than they can chew.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana


overcoming fear of failure


6. Invite the possibility of failure

It’s always important to accept the fact that everyone has times when they don’t reach their goals and that’s OK. Letting yourself fail is an important part of learning and growing (professionally and personally). Not letting yourself fail, or being too afraid to fail, will keep you from an important aspect of what it means to be a human being.


7. Don’t aim for perfection

Never define success as perfection. That’s a surefire way to guarantee failure. Nobody is going to do all of their work perfectly – it’s impossible. Pay attention to detail, but also keep in mind that focusing on flaws will ultimately hold you back from achieving your potential and from being happy.



Use these tips for overcoming fear of failure and apply now for an international internship to boost your career.


Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2014/10/30/how-to-move-beyond-the-fear-of-failure-5-proven-strategies/#83b9b1a7cc08, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/fear-of-failure, http://www.wakeupcloud.com/overcome-the-fear-of-failure/, http://lifehacker.com/taking-the-plunge-how-to-get-over-your-fear-of-failure-1723699531


1. based on 289/365 Summer Blues, by martinak15, CC-by-2.0

2. based on Jitters, by Corey Balazowich, CC-by-ND 2.0

3. based on nervous eyes, by joke chien, CC-by-2.0


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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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