How to overcome the fear of failure

How often have you avoided tackling a job because you were afraid of not doing it well, or backed off a new initiative because you feared it might not succeed, or not accepted a speaking engagement because you were afraid of embarrassing yourself? Fear of failure is surprisingly common. But it is a fear that can be conquered, especially when you realise that it isn't failure that counts in life: it's what you can learn from the experience that matters. Heed this advice to help overcome your fear of failure...

1. Try not to be hard on yourself.

If your company's aim was to make an annual profit of $100,000 and you managed a profit of only $78,000 - is that really failure? Failure is a relative term, depending on who is doing the measuring.

2. Set your own standards of success or failure.

Success, or failure, is in many instances only a matter of opinion. If your spouse has always wanted you to become managing director of the company, just remember that you don't have to be if you don't want to. In the long run, it's your choice. Don't allow your life's goals to be set by others. It's better to succeed in doing your best than to fail by doing nothing.

3. Don't confuse 'success' with 'excellence'.

Why do we always think we have to win or achieve excellence in everything we do to be successful? There's nothing wrong with a par round of golf, just as there's nothing wrong with an ordinary game of tennis - provided we have fun doing it and do it as well as we can.

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