Have you ever talked yourself out of doing something? Maybe it was something small like calling a friend, but your were afraid she wouldn’t have time for you.
Maybe it was something big like starting a blog or selling decorated cakes as a side business.
The fear of failing stops us from doing amazing things that we could and often should do.
There is a song about fear that my husband and I always crank up on the radio because we love it so much! It’s “Fear is a Liar” by Zack Williams.
The chorus says, “Fear is a liar. He will take your breath. Stop you in your steps….He will rob your rest. Steal your happiness.”
Isn’t that the truth?
Fear of the unknown causes us to lose sleep and get anxious about things that are out of our control.
Fear plays such a huge role in our lives, yet we don’t always acknowledge that the fear of failing is actually what is holding us back from our potential.
I used to think of fear as only relating to things that seem scary or icky. For instance being afraid of the dark or snakes or spiders.
But in the past few years, I’ve learned that…
- fear of the future
- fear of the unknown
- fear of other people’s reactions
- fear of acceptance
… were holding me back from speaking my truth and from living a full life.
All of those fears were really a fear of failing in my eyes or someone else’s.
I would even lie or not say something just so I wouldn’t hurt someone else’s feelings. I thought I was being a good Christian, but that was far from the truth.
Overcome the Fear of Failing
What is the worst case scenario of your fear?
When fear tries to talk me out of doing something, I ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” That way I’m ready for the worst but hope for the best!
What are you afraid of failing? Get specific.
Maybe you are afraid if you ask for something that person will tell you no.
Maybe you are afraid that you’ll mess up dinner and no one will eat it.
Maybe you are afraid to invite someone to your home because you are afraid they’ll think it’s not nice enough.
Then envision that fear playing out. Go to the worst case scenario in your head and get through it.
When I’m facing something really scary, I allow my mind to think about the worst case scenario. This prepares me but also proves that I can survive even the worst outcomes.
Silence the fearful lies.
Sometimes you are afraid you will fail because you have been told over and over again that you aren’t ……
- fill in the blank with just about anything!
You start to believe what you are told. And you play those ideas over and over in your head telling yourself those lies.
But I want you to understand something that I only understood myself in the past few years. Just because someone said it, that doesn’t make it true!
You don’t have to replay what was said to you. You get to choose what you meditate on.
I was told my entire life that I wasn’t assertive. I was too quiet. I was a snob. I was too shy.
And I believed it because that’s what I heard over and over again. I paid attention to those lies and played them on repeat in my head.
But I finally decided that I wasn’t limited to those labels that other people put on me. Instead I’ve learned to face my fears and break free from those lies. I silenced the lies that played in my mind, and replaced them with the truth of who I am and who I choose to be.
What lies do you tell yourself? Silence them. Speak truth to your soul and face your fears.
Take the first step through your fear.
Once you get over the mental hurdles mentioned above, it’s time to take action!
Whatever it is that you are afraid to do, think through the first step you need to take. Get basic.
- Maybe it’s as simple as getting up from the couch or taking a shower.
- Maybe it’s writing out talking points for a difficult conversation you need to have.
- Maybe it’s sharing a Facebook post that you are selling cakes because you want to start a buisness.
Once you start moving forward, you’ll gain momentum and confidence.
As I mentioned earlier, I used to think I was shy and quiet. Turns out I’m neither.
I’m just serious and an introvert which means I’m not the life of the party and Iike my space. But I’m not quiet and shy.
I’ve learned how to introduce myself and start small talk with anyone. I had to start with just one person, and eventually it become so much easier.
Think about the first step you need to take and do it!
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The verse that comes to mind is Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The opposite of being afraid is being strong and courageous. It means that despite our fears, we press forward and take steps that are scary.
When we take those scary steps, we become stronger.
Put your blinders on and move forward.
As you move forward through your fear, focus on the end goal. Don’t Compare yourself to those around you. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
Let’s say you put that post on Facebook to sell your cakes, and you find out a “friend” made fun of you for it, and now you feel like a failure. Think through the situation. First of all, that person is not a friend if they are talking about you behind your back and not cheering you on.
Second, that person doesn’t get to decide what you do with your life. If you want to sell cakes, you get to do that no matter what that person thinks!
Put your blinders on and don’t waste your time or energy on that person’s comments.
Let’s also say that someone else you know started selling cakes on Facebook and her business became super successful. If you start comparing yourself to that person and try to be like them, it will only discourage you.
Instead, look to them as inspiration and proof that you can do it too. Then – PUT YOUR BLINDERS ON. Do what works for you not what others are doing.
What if you do fail?
Let me be super honest here. You might fail. Not everything is going to work out.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned supper. Yelled at my kids. Taken my husband for granted. Ate too many brownies. Not made my blogging goals.
I’ve had moments where I’ve failed as a cook, mother, wife, healthy person, and blogger.
But those failures don’t make ME a failure.
Failure is not a person. Failure is something that occurs.
You are a person. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If your attempts to do something fail, that doesn’t define you.
That’s why it’s so important to view the failure as a learning process. What can you learn from this mess up? How can you improve next time? What could you do differently?
And then move on. Shake off the past, and move forward. One of my favorite things to do when I’m having a bad day is to hit the restart button. Of course, it’s just a concept, but it really helps to simply say, “Let’s start over.”
You never have to stay stuck in the failure and pay penance. You get to move forward.
I used to think as a Christian that if I failed, I had to “do my time” and feel bad for so long before I was right before God again. But that’s just not true. That’s conditional love, and God’s love is unconditional.
That’s why I love Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.”
You will get through the failure. You will figure a way out.
If you are afraid to take that next step because you are afraid of failing, hope for the best, but prepare yourself for the worst, silence the lies, and take the next step forward.