I’ve Overcome My Fear of Failure…Here’s How I Did It

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For a long time, my biggest fear used to be failure. Which is ironic, considering the line of work that I am in. One of the key principles of Continuous Improvement is that you need to test things regularly. By design, this line of work is littered with the failures of ideas, concepts, and initiatives.

However, the thing that can never be engineered out of processes, no matter how advanced AI gets, is people. And, as humans, we will always have this idea of wanting to be successful and having pride in the work we do. 

This goes back to when survival depended on us being a contributor to the tribes we found ourselves in. If we weren’t contributing favorably to the tribe, we would have been risking being kicked out. In that scenario, survival would be much more difficult if you were depending on yourself for everything.

Even though life has changed significantly since the days of living in tribes, we are still a part of them. We still have the desire to feel appreciated and wanted by those we associate with. I know that I want to feel like I matter and that those I work with appreciate and value my contribution.

I haven’t met anyone who would disagree with the idea that we are all under a lot of pressure to perform in our workplaces and jobs. The current environment we find ourselves in globally can put even more pressure on you. Whether we are talking about supply chain shortages, staffing shortages, or any other shortage you might be experiencing, the pressure is real.

In the past, in situations like this, I would find myself taking less risk, and being more cautious about my decision-making. What I have found though is that kind of thinking is based on fear. 

So, what are we to do then?

Pulling back when you are realizing that fear is starting to take control is the last thing to do. Facing my fear and building my courage have shown me that I don’t have anything to fear at all. So, I have been leaning toward learning more about Acceptance and Resilience. 

Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash


Acceptance of a situation and circumstance for what it is has been a valuable skill for me to learn. When I realized that I had the choice to assign a positive or negative label to those events, it fundamentally changed how I moved through the world. 

No longer was I crippled by the thought of “What if this idea flops?”, because the outcome just is what it is. I now have the power to decide what to do with the information that I have learned. The key word there is learned. When I shifted my thinking to this, my inclination is now all about learning.

Whatever outcome I get, I now ask myself, “What have I learned from this?” Approaching situations and circumstances with a learning mindset sets me up for not attaching positive or negative labels to events before they happen. I can take the learning and decide, “Do I want to continue doing this because the outcome is favorable?”, or “Do I want to stop because it isn’t moving me in the direction I want to go?” 

Check out this article I wrote on having a beginner’s mind, which is tangentially related.

Acceptance has also opened the door for me to be easier on myself. I no longer have the desire to strive for perfection, I am focused on making things better. 50% improvement today is better than delayed perfection tomorrow. Having this type of approach allows me to build more resilience in the face of adversity as well.

Photo by Pedro Sanz on Unsplash


As I learn to accept situations for what they are, my ability to meet adversity head-on has increased tenfold. 

When I reflect on this truth, it suggests to me that to build resilience I needed to come to terms with the reality of what was in front of me. In the past, whenever I haven’t been able to accept the truth of a situation, my go-to response is a victim mindset. “Why is this happening to me?” type of questioning. 

When I learned that things don’t happen to me, they just happen, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. No longer do I get bogged down in circumstances. Have you ever caught yourself or someone else responding to how they are doing with: “Well, under the circumstances, I’m doing okay.” 

What I’ve decided is that I no longer want to be under a circumstance because then I am giving it too much power. Circumstances and situations just are what they are. Don’t let them stop you from living your day today to the fullest.

This is still a journey for me

I still stumble with this occasionally. I still get it wrong, but when I do it comes without the fear that used to be attached to it. I can accept the failure and move on.

This is a daily practice that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I am glad I learned this and can tell others about it. My genuine hope is that you can practice this and teach others about it as well. It is what the world needs.

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