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The Fear of Failure: An Undisclosed Truth

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“One day I’m sure I’ll look back and think I was crazy for having this fear, but everything is easier in hindsight. It’s easy to write about crushing fears and following your dreams, but deep down our own unique fears don’t completely go away…”

What if I come to the end of my life and I judge myself as a failure?

That is the most haunting question that I wrestle with.

In last week’s post – Exposing and Crushing Your Fear of Failure, I covered the common fear of failure, the one everybody talks about, which is – not wanting to try in case you fail.

On the flip side, is the undisclosed fear of failure; the fear I have that nobody ever addresses – what if I never reach my dreams despite doing everything I can?

What if I’m ninety, on my death bed, or speaking to my grandchildren, and I feel like a failure? What if I never fulfil my ambitions?

What if every business I ever start fails – like all these failures I’ve had so far…?

What if everything I do and all my hard work and sacrifice is for nothing?

What if I never give myself and my family a ‘rich life’?

This is something I think about all the time. A fear of not being successful, not a fear of starting. A fear of running out of time.

Am I the only person who thinks like this? Why, whenever I read an article or people’s opinions on the subject of the fear of failure is this never addressed?

Because I’m part of the minority. It’s something that only practitioners can relate to. 

While so many are struggling to get started, I’m doing. If I had procrastinated on starting this blog, I would have spent the last year telling myself why I shouldn’t, rather than just doing and improving on the job. I wouldn’t have a readership from over eighty countries, or thousands of social media followers. I would be a thinker and a dreamer, not a doer.

Related — Tired of Going Nowhere? Put a Gun to Your Head

I’ve written a million times that doing wins every time. Long term though, I do worry that the level of success I want might not materialise.

One day I’m sure I’ll look back and think I was crazy for having this fear, but everything is easier in hindsight.

It’s easy to write about crushing fears and following your dreams, but deep down our own unique fears don’t completely go away. We just need to learn how to manage them, and then change small things about our behaviour, to make sure they have no impact on our success, or happiness in the long run.

It’s OK to have a level of uncertainty. That means you’re pushing your boundaries and moving towards your full potential, whatever that is. You’re not relying on someone else to define you for the rest of your career, you’re making things happen for you.

No matter which fear of failure you suffer from, I’ve got some great news. There is one hugely important trait that these opposite fears of failure share:

You are in full control of your destiny.

Congratulations if you’re trying to push yourself to get started – you still have all the excitement of your first venture ahead of you.

And if you’re already doing — you know you’re getting ever closer to the life that you want.

Be patient, ride out all the storms, of which there will be many, and understand that you are exactly where you should be right now. Always be improving, and one day you’ll be ready for everything that you want — it’ll be there waiting for you at the finish line.

Stay the course.

-Matt

Related — How to Become a World Class Version of Yourself

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What wisdom can you share on this topic? Leave a comment or let me know on Instagram or Twitter!

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