When we talk about fearlessness, the main obstacle is the fear of failure. If we can get over our fear of failure, I believe anything is possible.
And you can get over your fear of failure by building a game plan for resilience! Here are seven ways that work.
1. Chase percentages, not perfection. People at the top use their energy to keep moving through and around failure. In major league baseball, where even the best hitters are succeeding 3 of 10 times at the plate, MLB Hall of Famer Chipper Jones is a great example of how to build mental strength. “There’s a ton of failure in the game and the mentally weak do not last,” he says. “It really is an exercise in perseverance… if you don’t have a good mindset, it will beat you up.”
2. Set an intention. For Chipper, getting out of a slump meant looking forward, not back. In the rare times that he had consecutive games without getting on base, he told himself, “Today is the day.”
3. Embrace the flaws in your story. This advice comes from Sarah Robb O’Hagan, one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in Sports and author of “Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat”: “We all have these perfect pictures on our Instagram and everything looks amazing. Even if you Googled me a few years ago, all it said was these great accolades of achievement. It didn’t mention that I got fired twice, and I screwed up so many things along the way. I felt it was so important to change that narrative and have everyone understand that failure is such a necessary part of growth. It’s not something to be stigmatized or to be scared of.”
4. Define success and failure by your own metrics. Set your own standard of success with a margin of imperfection. The father of professional golf, Walter Hagen had a simple, powerful mindset based on numbers specific to his game. “I expect to make at least seven mistakes a round,” he said. “Therefore, when I make a bad shot, it’s just one of the seven.” When you compete against your own potential, you don’t let others set the bar.
5. Value losing as learning. Growth always comes from trial and error—if you don’t try and push yourself, you stagnate. By continuing to try—and failing—you are growing. It’s only really failure if you don’t learn from it.
6. Lean into your purpose. A personal mission statement that challenges you is going to position you for the possibility of failure, because it pushes yourself beyond where you have been. By leaning into your struggles and challenges—by digging into your why—you will suffocate your fear of failure and breathe new life into your purpose.
7. Choose to keep going. The main difference for those who succeed despite failure is that they refuse to quit. Their fear of failure is not as strong as their will to finish, to not walk away.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Getting over fear of failure requires strengthening your mindset through new habits. By practicing these ways of thinking, you can replace the fear of failing and quickly rebound. Use these steps to refocus, try again with curiosity and repeat whenever you fall short. When you increase your tolerance of failure, you no longer fear it. That’s resilience, and every winner has it.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.