Have you ever noticed that success in business, life, and leadership has so much to do with overcoming fear of failure?
Perhaps you know people or maybe you are someone who grew up in a “suck it up” or “failure isn’t an option” home.
Or you’ve experienced failures in the past, and family or friends responded in a way that left you feeling not good enough.
Failure isn’t the problem though. Failure is a part of life.
It’s the fear of failure that jacks a person up, and it’s a lack of perspective on WHY it’s jacking you up and where it came from in your life that holds you back.
One place it can come from is a parent who always gave you a reason to not do something.
“Don’t do that, Paul, or you’ll get hurt.”
Another place it comes from is how people responded to you when you failed.
“Paul, you’re such an idiot! Don’t you know better than to do that!”
Or maybe failure just wasn’t an option for you. Excellence was expected, and if you didn’t perform, disappointment instantly set in.
Either of these scenarios can train you to fear failure.
The thing is, failure is one of the greatest teachers. Without it, we have to trust that we know everything to be successful in every situation. The truth is, we don’t!
When I see leaders who carry the same broken belief system of “no failure allowed”, I usually find it’s because they have been held to the same impossible standard by someone in their past as well.
Experiences like these leave a giant deposit in what I call your Root System.
Your Root System
What’s Root System?
We are all the sum of what’s happened in our past, and the influence we’ve allowed in. That makes up the Root System, and that’s from where we make every decision.
We go super deep into discovering your Root System in our 1-on-1 Next-Level Life event.
And that includes decisions like fearing failure. Yep, fear is a choice.
The tough truth to face is that all influence is allowed in.
It doesn’t get locked into our brain unless we let it. Until we choose to believe it, it’s just a suggestion.
For me, knowing I have a say about the influence I allow in, who I spend time with, and that we can learn how to be less fearful is freeing!
Every decision we make either moves us closer to success in life or further away from it.
This means success is rooted in the quality of our decisions, and great decisions are made with great perspective.
A key to battling fear is gaining perspective. The more perspective you have, the less fear you live with.
Here are 9 questions to ask yourself to gain perspective and overcome fear of failure.
1. DO I HAVE CLEAR, QUALITY PERSPECTIVE?
You have to ask why. Why this, why that, why? Dig, dig, dig. Get as much information as you can. Talk to as many people as you can. Talk to your leaders, talk to your team.
Get great, clear perspective. How much time do I have to gain perspective? Go ballistic. Gather as much information as you can.
2. WHAT AM I AFRAID OF?
What am I afraid of in making this decision? Where’s my fear here? What is causing me to worry? What is causing me concern?
Do I have enough perspective on that? Do I have enough information on what it looks like when it does work out, and when it doesn’t work out?
Look at everything that’s causing you to be afraid of making the decision.
3. IS THIS A FEAR-BASED DECISION?
Is somebody pushing me? Is somebody pressuring me? Is a situation pressuring me? Am I making the decision because of fear?
4. WHAT OPTIONS NEED TO BE REMOVED?
Start removing things from the table.
Those would be elements that you can say, “if this is going to be the outcome, then ‘no’ is the answer. I’m not going to do this.” Start removing those pieces.
Start removing excuses. For example:
Excuse: “I don’t know if we can get this done in this time frame.”
Challenge it: Why not? Are there things holding you up, or is this more important than other things?
5. WHAT IS THE IMPACT?
Questions to ask to determine the impact: How is this going to impact my team? How is this going to impact our revenues? Is this going to have a negative effect? If it failed miserably, could put a huge dent in our finances?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these, yank it off the table, period. If the answer is no, the outcome can be controlled. This is a variable situation.
6. IS THIS A LONG-TERM, SHORT-TERM, OR PERMANENT DECISION?
How long will I, or my team, have to live with this decision? What’s the impact of that? Is that acceptable?
7. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE DON’T MAKE A DECISION?
What happens if we don’t? Is everything going to be okay? Is everything going to be copacetic, same as always? Or is that going to impact us in a negative way?
What if we don’t pull the trigger on this bad boy? Does that, all of a sudden, cut opportunities out from underneath us? Look at that possibility.
8. WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?
What’s the likelihood of it? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “it’s unlikely” 10 being “yeah, it will abso-stinkin-lutely happen”, determine the possibility of worst case scenario.
9. HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT THE DECISION?
How do I feel about this process? What is your gut saying? If you have done all of these things and if you still feel weird in your stomach about making this decision, then pull back.
Do not make the decision. Hold off.
I believe it’s one of a couple of things. It could be God, very possibly.
It could be that you are questioning whether or not you did get all the great information, or it could be that you’re questioning whether or not you trust the information.
Usually, it’s either a spiritual gut check, or it’s a “I don’t think I did my due diligence.”
As long as you go back and make sure you do your due diligence, and it’s still there, it is my belief, the world according to Chris, that its going to be a spiritual issue. Pull back, don’t do it.
Do this yourself, and what you’ll find is every big decision that you make going forward, whether it be business or life, you will have a new force-of-habit thinking.
Ask these questions to make sure you get to absolute clarity, so you make the strongest decisions possible, not fear-based decisions.
Question: Is fear of failure holding you back from making strong decisions?