You polished your resume and sent it to the right person, along with a stellar cover letter. You got a call. You aced the interview. You were brought back in—twice! You sent thank you notes after each interview, to each interviewer. Your follow-up was polite and appropriate. You were told you were a finalist. The HR person thought it was looking good for you…yet, they gave the job to someone else.
Beginning with the first "F" on the school report card, we are trained to fear failure.
That fear only grows larger as we become adults because the stakes become higher. While fear of failure is only natural, it's important to make sure that fear doesn't become debilitating. In fact, if you approach failure differently, it can be an asset.
Everyone fears failure, especially as adults. Think about it: As a kid, you made mistakes and you had some failures. So, naturally, as an adult, you don’t want to experience those negative feelings associated with failing again. Related: How Do I Respond To Being Called A ‘Failure’? According to J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of CAREEREALISM.com, that’s the number one thing that limits your career growth – being afraid of failure. So, what can you do to change your mindset? Here are four steps you can take to beat your fear of failure:
All too often, I go through cycles of what I call the 'blah,' a funk, a rut or simply a time where things just don’t go right - or go at all. During these times, I have to fight off depression, complacency, laziness, and the desire to stop working towards my goals. But the optimist in me tells me that I am going through this because I am about to have a life-changing breakthrough, as long as I keep pushing! Related: Career Failure: Take The Hit And Keep Playing I am a fan of Sir Winston Churchill’s leadership and tenacity. One of his famous quotes is “When you are going through hell, keep going." I use that quote a lot because it is true. The difference between a success and a failure is the ability to push back against adversity. Adversity comes for all of us, no exception. No matter where you begin, your journey with adversity is coming. Even Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Carlos Slim deal with adversity. Granted, their adversity is rarely, if ever financial, but they do face challenges. But back to you and I. These ruts come to teach us something; they help prove our inner (and sometimes outer) critic wrong. The 'blahs' help force you out of your comfort zone; they help you realize that you have to make a change somewhere in order to change your circumstances. The 'blahs' are the basis of the breakthrough. Anyone can create in the perfect space when everything is right, and resources are in place and support is high. However, it takes a special person to create, build, design, or implement when you have to search for funding, ideas, or partners. The 'blahs' pull your passion and purpose out of you. When we are flying high, it's easy to do everything we talk about, but in those quiet moments of doubt, your passion and purpose come to remind you of why you set out to achieve this particular goal. Renewed vigor is born in the 'blahs,' that spark of innovation comes in the 'blahs'. As bad as the 'blahs' can be, they come to an end with small inspirations - a simple random idea that just clicks. The 'blahs' are where Oprah Winfrey “ah ha!” moments happen. My most recent 'blah' became a breakthrough when a reader reached out through social media to ask me a question. All of the frustration, writer’s block, and unanswered requests were now worth the struggle because my 'blah' was this reader’s answer. I just went through what the question was about! Had I not gone through my rut, I may have had a totally different answer. The conversation we had has given me renewed energy and focus on my mentoring and coaching that will definitely affect my speaking. My 'blah' was where my breakthrough found me. It is a necessary part of the cycle; we will have to slow down, we will have to make adjustments and we have to start each new idea at the beginning. We won’t be successful if we start working solutions from the middle; the beginning is where the 'blah' ends and the breakthrough starts.