‘Do you suffer from Atychiphobia?’
‘Hmm, don’t think so. Is that a sort of rash? What are the symptoms?’
‘Sweats, gnawing sense of panic, inability to move and, eventually, complete paralysis.’
‘Oh that, yeah. All the time.’
We all have haven’t we. Atychiphobia. The Fear.
The fear of failure.
We’re going to face it here and now. And we’re going to beat it.
Succeed or Learn
We’ve said it before and we’ll boringly say it again. You succeed or you learn. You only learn from failure. Success goes to our heads and we think we’re great. I know, I have done precisely that. Only the subsequent failures taught me the lessons I needed to learn. Because failure makes us really take a look, see where we went wrong. Because we don’t want to feel that again.
So something ‘bad’ – failure – leads to something ‘good’ – learning.
Which is good, because we all fail. Usually all the time. Every day. We fail to get up and not hit the snooze button. We fail to do that workout we promised ourselves. We fail to avoid eating that sweet sugary health-destroying sticky munchy thing. And we fail in our work. We try and we fail. Rinse and repeat. Good isn’t it?
What Do We Really Fear?
A lot of people think they fear the failure. But actually, as we’ve seen, it’s not the actual failure that makes us sweat. It’s the idea of public failure. You failed. Loser. Jeering laughter. Sense of shame and humiliation. But, hey, we’re not in the playground now and we don’t have to endure most of that any more.
‘It is not the failure itself that holds you back; it is the fear of failure that paralyses you.’
Bryan Tracy had it right there didn’t he?
Failures happen to everyone. Failure? How long have you got? You want to work with me? Here’s the fate of three people who worked with me:
One business partner had a heart attack and died about a month after we’d started a business together.
One co-director disappeared, literally overnight. He turned up only some years later as a yacht skipper in the Bahamas.
And one director, who was forced to leave the company, was last heard of as the Official Witch at a tourist attraction.
At its worst, as we said at the beginning, FoF can paralyse you. As John Maxwell says in his book Failing Forward:
‘90% of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.’
So how can we deal with this? We can use an idea created by the brilliant marketer Tim Ferriss. He calls it ‘fear setting’.
It means sitting down and looking at your fear head-on. Then take three steps:
- What is this thing exactly? What is the worst possible outcome that could realistically happen? Sit with that. Would you die? No. Would the world ridicule you? No. How likely is this worst thing on a scale of 1-10? Often just looking at it diminishes it.
- Even if this happened, what could you do to fix the wreckage, get back on track? What specific things could you do? Bet you can find a surprising number.
- Now you’ve looked at worst-case, and that was survivable, look at more likely outcomes, which will be less extreme. How could you come out of those scenarios level-pegging or ahead?
Now of course you have one more thing to do. Take action. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t make excuses. Take action. And now your fear is fading away behind you and you’re powering forward. FoF can F off.
What is your No 1 fear, the thing that stops you moving? Let us know, contact us. Fear setting can help you overcome this fear and move forward. And we can help.