3 Steps to Overcome The Fear of Failure & Set Accelerator Goals

One day I asked myself if I was more afraid of the changes I wanted to make in my life, or the work and discipline it took to get there.

I believe for most of us, we are anxious about the amount of energy we have to put into something. The day in and out discipline over the actual change or end result itself.

In this overthinking spectrum we tend to label this as a fear of failure. Why? Because we are afraid that with all that energy, potentially financial input, and (the most valuable) input of time, we are going to lose it all.

In our own error or consistent neglect, we feel as if we throw it away and can never get it back. As creatures that like to see gain, via money, tangible objects, etc, it’s hard to throw things away. It’s hard to live with the idea of wasted time. 

Moreso, in our modern culture, that’s eased into the toxicity of hustling and that our value comes from work, it stings even more.

However, this is easily remedied with a bit of a mindset shift, and defining in more detail what these fears are.

Let’s jump in.

Step One: Identifying What You Actually Fear

If we don’t get specific with our fears, then the ambiguity of them will drive us to remain fearful.

One of the biggest steps you can take is giving yourself the time and mental space to figure out the elements of a process you’ve developed a fear of or about.

In reality, fears are manifestations of uncertainties. Outcomes we can’t predict or be certain of occurring or not occurring.

When we put effort into a project, a creative piece, an idea, a person, an event, and so on, we are operating at risk. We are betting on our skills, resources and those around us to meet the finish line. 

However, the more detail we give a fear, the less space we give to irrationalities and intrusive thoughts. 

As someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I’ve learned that the art form of breaking my anxiety cycle is applicable to everyone’s minds, not just that of an OCD person. 

Your Homework:

Do a two pass approach. Write down things you are afraid of in the process. Make this list as long or as short as you want. 

Then go back through the list and give more detail and edges to each thought. Here’s an example:

First Pass: I am afraid I won’t have time on Monday’s to record the podcast I want to start.

Second Pass: I am afraid that I can’t be disciplined to go to bed earlier Sunday night, to get the sleep I need, to then wake up earlier to make space for an hour recording. I am nervous to talk to my significant other about this new “bed time” and that it would help if he/she does dinner on Sunday’s so I can prepare for this early morning.

As you can see, I’ve broken my fears down to actually identify things I am anxious about. It’s not just about time, it’s how I am going to handle the time, make sacrifices and have hard conversations.

If you have a goal, you’re going to have to make space for it. Sometimes that requires sacrificing something, or asking someone else too. This is not easy, but necessary.

Which is a great seg-way into goal setting!

Two: Setting The Accelerator Goals, Not Sabotaging Goals

Using the step from above, you now have a great set of insights on how to set actionable, reasonable goals that serve you and not work against you.

Oftentimes we view goals as this big monster enemy. Something that is both daunting and stress-inducing. While these emotions are valid, you have the opportunity to see your goals differently, and this is the game changer.

Goals should drive you because they excite you, not because they scare you. 

In our fear we can create goals that hold us back, or get in our way. Sometimes this is in the form of setting unrealistic goals, or goals that don’t take into consideration your full potential or circumstances.

Your Homework:

Review your insights from the previous step. Are there any new goals you can set based off of those insights that can help remove the hurdles and walls in the way of overcoming your fears?

Remember that goals can be very short, even a single step, or long term. For example, a single conversation that needs to happen or a multi-month schedule shift.

Don’t forget to set a time-related piece to this goal. This gives us the opportunity to remove decision fatigue. You are expending energy every time you need to think about the order of doing something, or planning your day. So eliminate that in the setup. 

Three: Choosing To Be More Afraid of Not Trying

Perhaps you’ve done the above steps and you’re still feeling uneasy. I get it. We can’t remove all our stress, worry, or doubt, because we are human beings. 

But there’s one more thing you can do to really set yourself up for success, and it’s not completely dominating your worries and doubts. Because it’s not reasonable, or human.

Your Homework:

Every time you sit down to work, ask yourself:

Would I rather try, and see the outcome, or not try, and know the outcome.

Look, life is messy and huge. Sometimes you’re going to want to take a backseat and just know today that you need rest, peace or no stress. THIS IS OKAY. Give yourself space to rest.

But on those work days, the days where you want to hit the pavement. The days when you are yearning for change…

All you have to do is repeat that question, decide, then go after your accelerator, personalized, goals.

Now, what are you afraid of? 

Written by Sarah Edwards. Want to get to know me? Say hi! https://liinks.co/setapartcompany

This article was originally posted for Set Apart Magazine at www.setapartcompany.com

Disclaimer: Sarah Edwards is not a certified or licensed mental health professional. Rather someone sharing real life experience and findings for others to find commonality and seek actionable steps needed for them.

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