Overcoming Your Fear of Failure
October 14, 2021
Image: Overcoming Your Fear of Failure
As human beings, most of us have a huge amount of potential to succeed in our chosen field. Unfortunately, fear of failure is holding many of us back from reaching our potential and achieving success. Understanding and overcoming our fear of failure is key if we want to be the best version of ourselves. In her inspiring new talk on this topic, Fahsai – Jennifer Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin, the co-founder of CI Talks and Miss Universe Thailand 2019, shares insights from her own journey with overcoming fear of failure.
In her first video talk for CI Talks, Fahsai shares her inspiring story of personal and professional growth. In the video, the versatile businesswoman bravely shares her own real-life experiences with fear of failure, and offers a helpful 5-step guide that can help others understand and resolve their own fears.
As Fahsai says, “After constantly trying over and over only to end in failure repeatedly, I told myself, ‘This is enough. There’s more to life than being a beauty queen. I should just try something new, a different career.’ But there was always this fear inside of me – I’ve given it my all before but I wasn’t good enough to succeed. So what’s going to be different this time? I’m afraid to have high expectations and set high hopes for myself just to end up with failure again. So how do I overcome this fear of failure?”
With Fahsai’s sage advice, you can overcome any hindrance to your spiritual wellbeing and professional success, and become the best version of yourself.
Your 5-step guide to overcoming fear of failure
Let’s take a closer look at Fahsai’s advice. She has set out a 5-step path towards accomplishing your goals without fear holding you back.
- Self-talk is the first step
- Ask those closest to you for their opinion
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Do not fear failure, but be afraid of regrets
- Evaluate your experience
If you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough, this is for you. Fahsai’s 5 simple steps will help you to break through self-imposed barriers and ignite personal growth to create the career path you’re dreaming of.
1. The importance of self-talk
Self-talk is the first step in your journey towards overcoming fear and being the best version of yourself. Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like - it’s the internal dialogue you have with yourself. A lot of people who use self-talk see it as an opportunity to check in with themselves and try to create a healthy and balanced way of communicating with yourself. Self-talk can be negative or positive depending on your state of mind, and your goal should be to only use positive, encouraging self-talk with yourself. Negative self-talk brings you down and reinforces your conscious and subconscious fears, whereas positive self-talk can help you build your self-esteem and develop a stronger sense of self and purpose.
“You have a session where you talk to yourself,” Fahsai says. “And you know, after talking to myself, there were many times when I realized that because I didn’t accomplish my goals, because I failed before – it made me feel that I was inadequate, it made feel inferior, it made me feel like I didn’t believe in myself anymore and it made it hard to see my value and what my strengths were.”
Fahsai’s realization leads us to step 2, which is talking to those close to you.
2. Asking other people
Introspection and an awareness of our own self-talk can lead us to realizing what our strengths and weaknesses are, but it can be difficult to understand how to utilize this knowledge in the best way possible.
While being aware of and working on improving our self-talk is a great first step, it can often bring our own fears and insecurities to the fore. “I found out that we are actually our own worst critics”, Fahsai notes in her talk – and this is a key issue. In order to resolve this, the important next step is to ask those close to you for their opinion on you, your work and your past failures. Sometimes, a loved one’s perception of us and our past can be so different to our own – and they can really help us see the truth.
Fahsai turned to her loved ones and asked them some deep, probing questions about herself. As she says, “Sometimes with failure, you end up not knowing anymore what you are good at or what your strong points are – so I found that asking other people helped me to rediscover who I was and what my strengths were.”
Fahsai had a major realization after practicing her self-talk, opening up, and taking in her loved ones’ thoughts and impressions - which leads us to step 3 in her process.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
Fahsai realized that she needed to stop comparing herself to other people. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. When you compare yourself to others, you’re feeding into your fear and insecurities by looking at other people’s achievements, rather than focusing on your own growth.
In her talk, Fahsai shared her issues with comparing herself to other people, especially in the context of the Miss Universe Thailand competition in 2017. She felt that other people might be better than her in some ways, such as having a higher education or a larger fan base. But Fahsai’s realization taught her that comparing yourself to other people is pointless.
“You have to stop comparing yourself to those people who you think are better than you because in turn, it makes you feel inferior and doubtful of yourself,” Fahsai says. “There’s only one Fahsai Paweensuda Drouin in this world, and there’s only one you in this world, so stop comparing yourself to others and stop trying to change yourself to fit into the mold – because the courage to be your imperfect self is what makes you unique and inspiring.”
Everyone’s path to self-fulfillment and success is different. There’s space for everyone to coexist – and the fact that your journey might not look the same as another person’s doesn’t mean that your worth is any less. We all grow, develop and reach our potential in different ways and at different stages in life, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Be patient and stay true to your course – and trust that everything will be okay in the end.
4. Don’t be afraid of failure, but be afraid of regrets
A key lesson Fahsai offers us is to be afraid of regrets rather than fearing failure. In her talk, she shares one of her favorite quotes: “Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love.” Taking on a new venture and going after what you want is scary – but you should be more worried about not even trying due to your fear of failure, than trying and possibly failing. Because if you try, you could succeed – but not trying at all would be the true failure.
Fahsai gives us some insight into her situation and how she pushed past her fears at a difficult time. “In 2017, I was a runner-up in the pageant and I thought that that was it for me because I tried my absolute hardest, I gave it my all – but I was just in 3rd place. I decided to stop because I’d joined so many pageants, and was always just a runner up,” she says.
In the Miss Universe Thailand competition there were a total of 873 contestants and only 20 winners from the years 2000-2019. Fahsai is one of those winners – and the reason for that is that she re-joined the competition in 2019 and won.
“Sometimes, you might just be a step or two away from the finish line but if you decide to give up now, then you’ll never know,” Fahsai says. “If I gave up when I was just a runner-up in 2017, then I wouldn’t have known how close I was to the finish line. You could be ‘that close’ to achieving your dreams, to succeeding – but if you decide to give up now, you’ll never know and you’ll continue to live with regrets.”
5. Evaluate your experience
The final step of Fahsai’s 5-step plan for overcoming your fear of failure is to evaluate your experience. This is an opportunity for you to really look at the work you’ve been doing and doing an honest appraisal of yourself.
For Fahsai, this is a key stage in bettering yourself. “I always ask myself, last time – did I give it my all? If the answer was no, then I would ask myself, what do I think I could have done better? What could I have improved? And what can I do so that next time, I can succeed,” she says.
Though taking the time to look back on your failures can be painful and upsetting, it’s an important step in improving yourself and preparing for success in the future. When you’ve failed once, you’ll take big lessons from that experience and you won’t make the same mistakes again.
Studies show that people who achieve success usually encounter failure first. A lot of the famous and inspiring men and women in the business world have had big failures in their lives before they achieved success – it’s a natural part of the journey towards self-fulfillment and actualization.
If you’re questioning whether you’re good enough and whether you’re on the right path, Fahsai has sage words of advice for you. “I want you to ask yourself – ‘why did I start in the first place? Is this what I really want to do? Do I still want to continue?’ If the answer is yes, then I want you to encourage yourself: ‘I believe in my dreams! I can do it! Let's keep going!’ Change your view of impossible to I’m possible and I know that one day, you will succeed,” she says.
Understanding the fear of failure
With Fahsai’s wise insight fresh in our minds, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions people have related to fear of failure and gain a better understanding of it.
What is the root cause of fear of failure?
There could be a number of reasons why we fear failure, and each person will have their own specific fears and insecurities. It’s up to each individual to get in touch with the issues that are holding them back, and Fahsai’s 5 steps can be a helpful tool in achieving this.
Is fear of failure a phobia?
Yes, for some people, fear of failure is a phobia. It’s called atychiphobia, and people who have this condition are often paralyzed with fear when it comes to attempting to achieve goals or ambitions that aren’t guaranteed to work out well.
How can we avoid failure?
It’s difficult to avoid failure entirely in life, because we can’t control everything. Actually, failure can be a very important learning experience that can propel you towards greater success in the future – because you’ve learned from past mistakes.
Why is not trying worse than failing?
Failing is better than not trying to achieve something at all. That’s because being too afraid to try to succeed at something is holding you back in life. If you try and fail, you’ve bravely tried to do something no one else has done. If you fail, at least you gave it your best try – and maybe that experience of failure will help you achieve greatness later.
Why are we scared of failing?
Most people are scared of failure to a certain extent, because no one wants a personal or business venture to fail. We’re often afraid of losing money and investments, damage to our reputation, feeling embarrassed...the list of reasons to be afraid of failure is long. But the true failure would be if we gave up trying out of fear, and didn’t reach our potential in life because we weren’t brave enough to try and possibly fail.
Why shouldn’t we fear failure?
While most of us are afraid of or worried about failing, this is a fear that is holding us back from reaching new heights. We shouldn’t be afraid of failure, because failing can teach us so much – and it can be an important stepping stone towards achieving success later on. We need to take chances and strive to achieve even when the possibility of failure scares us, because that’s how we grow. As the old adage goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
How do I overcome my fear of failure?
Using the 5 simple steps outlined in Fahsai’s talk, you too can overcome your fear of failure once and for all. Through self-reflection, getting the opinion of others and learning from your past mistakes, you’ll emerge stronger than ever and ready to take on the world.
What can failure teach us?
Failure can be an important step in achieving success later on, because failing can teach you what doesn’t work so that you can find out what does work. It can also offer us valuable lessons on what our strengths and weaknesses are, and with a greater understanding of that, you’ll be able to play to your strengths and improve on your weaknesses – meaning you’re more likely to succeed with your next venture.
With the important insights and advice offered by Fahsai, you too can improve your self-awareness, reach your potential and break free from the fear of failure that’s holding you back. Break through the fears that are holding you back, find empowerment, and become the best version of yourself.
Co-founder & Host
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