Three Ways to Kick Fear of Failure to the Curb

My husband has a very different style of music that I do. He got the kids addicted to this song called “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots. I sort of rolled with the break dancing and silliness until one day I actually heard them singing the lyrics.

“I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink But now I’m insecure and I care what p eople think”

I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was in a vacuum. That lyric defined my business in 2016.

I cared what everyone thought and it made me insecure. This insecure voice would whisper things and I would act on them against my best intentions.

“My friends can’t afford me anymore and they’ll never recommend me.” So I created a budget package, and I was stressed out when I only booked budget packages.

“I’m super a super awkward introvert who is terrible at small talk .” So I didn’t go to networking events or approach other businesses for collaborations because my insecurity stressed me out.

“I’m never going to make the income we need to pay for my son’s preschool, let alone what we’ll need next year for our two big projects.” I scrambled around doing projects for clients who I knew wouldn’t love my style or way of doing things just to make the money, and, of course, those clients stressed me out.

Do you see the pattern here? Do you see this in your own life and business?

It’s the eve of 2017 and I’m making a business resolution, will you join me?

In 2017, I refuse to let my insecurities dictate my actions.

So what’s our game plan for sucker punching fear of failure to the curb?

Analyze the Things you are Scared to Try
Write your business goals down. No, not the nebulous “book more clients”. Now, write down the really scary ones. The ones that you want to pursue but never do because of your insecurities. Let me give you some examples.

Now go back over your list and write down three things under each item. First, write what is your underlying fear. Then, write what’s the worst thing that could realistically happen if you failed. Finally, write two possible positive outcomes.

So each item on your list will look like this:

Go to networking events

  • What I’m scared of: That my awkward social skills/inherent introversion will make me feel like a complete fool
  • Worst thing that will realistically happen: I’ll crack a joke and no one will laugh. I’ll say something that no one understands. I’ll have to start a conversation with a stranger.
  • 2 Good things that could happen: I could meet another business owner who wants to collaborate. I could help problem solve for another business owner.

Make SMART Goals to Conquer your Tasks

A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

Take the things you’re scared of and make them SMART goals. Let’s take my example:

Go to networking events

  • I will message the local business owner with my target client whose posts I have been enjoying on Facebook and volunteer to take her out to coffee to get to know one another.

Some goals may need to be broken into lots of little steps over the course of months, but write them down and then add them to your calendar!

Grab an Accountability Buddy to Keep you on Task

Of my three suggestions, I know this one will be the most important for those of us fighting the fear of failure. Having someone checking in on us and getting us out of our insecurities is necessary.

Fortunately, I have a entrepreneur friend that I already message back and forth all day. We keep each other’s feet to the fire on daily tasks. But this year, I’m rising above my fear of what she thinks of me and being truly vulnerable with why I’m avoiding tasks. I’ll intentionally open myself up to her encouragement.

Instead of saying, “Hey, I need to call an inquiry back by 10.” I’ll confess, “I’m scared of calling back my inquiry because I’m afraid I’ll be awkward on the phone.” I’ll let my friend supply the balm of truth when I’m tempted to lick the wounds of insecurity. And then I’ll do the thing that makes me afraid.

Who do you know who can hold you accountable in this way? If you don’t comment below and see if someone wants to partner with you! Or better yet, ask someone at the next TuesdaysTogether Meeting!

I’d love for you to share one of your business tasks that you fear and why makes you feel insecure below. We’ll try to help you see the realistic worst case scenario as well as some potential good things!

Melissa Aldrich

Melissa Aldrich is a newborn and baby photographer in Greenville, SC. She believes that "Comparison is the thief of joy" (Theodore Roosevelt) and gratitude is the creator of joy. She home schools three children while running her business. Her home is always a mess, but she'll push school books off the table, kick all the kids outside, make a cup of coffee, and listen to your heart in an instant.

4 comments

  1. I looove this article! You and I could be twins, ironically, I am an identical twin. I find the most difficult part of my business is interaction with others. I am an introvert and avoid all attention. I have committed this year to attend my Tuesday Together meetings plus join my cities Chamber of Commerce(still getting the nerve up). Thank you for this, I think I will save it and re-read it before I have a challenging interaction opportunity. The key for me is to see the opportunity. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Melissa Aldrich

      Thank you, Andree! I actually have identical daughter’s and found myself crying about a bunch of these little things today. Thank you for helping me see the opportunity in the things stressing me out this week! And please let me know how joining Chamber goes. That is on my bonus goals list for 2017!

      Reply
  2. Thanks for writing that article, as an introvert and a creative it is hard to break out of your comfort zone.

    Reply
  3. Thank you! I hate even admitting fears about my social awkwardness and fear of networking, and it really helps to hear from someone who is successful despite similar fears. And I appreciate you spelling out a strategy to deal with them.
    (I also love that song, haha. The lyrics are quite good.)

    Reply

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