Over the years I have noticed that one of the biggest challenges presented to people on their way to achieving success is the fear of failure.

So what are the tell-tale signs of fearing failure? Why do I want to discuss it? Because some people don’t even recognize that this is what’s holding them back! OK the sometimes the signs are very subtle, and some will beam you in the face!

  1. Negative Self Talk

Even if you don’t say it out loud, do you ever think thoughts that begin with “I could never …?”  Maybe you know someone who’s achieved something you aspire to and you say, “I wish I could…” This sort of self-talk quietly tells you that you can’t do that something you finish the sentence with.

Quite subtle…

And then there is the self-talk that says ‘You idiot’… and it goes into a rant about something that you didn’t do right. Negative self-talk can be relentless. We are our worse critics after all. If you look at how well that is working for you so far you may consider to switch the language you talk to yourself about you…

So when you become aware of your negative self-talk, it’s time you try something different. Whenever you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative, firstly acknowledge the thought and then switch it to “I wonder what a person needs to do to achieve that?” It really is only a matter of belief.  As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.”

  1. Low Esteem 

This can show up on many levels. In your presentation, in the way you put others first, in the way you never take credit for your good work, not being able to take compliments and that is just what you show to others. Then come things like emotional eating, not turning up to the gym if you have to go alone, calling yourself names if you didn’t get something right… You get the picture, right?

The biggest way to show lack of self-esteem is by not standing up and taking action toward your dreams! You’ll be hiding in a large crowd.  It’s far safer to complain or make fun of people who are successful than stand out. In the crowd you’ll always be sure of a large peer group. None of whom are going to make it. Here is something reassuring for you! You’ll still have plenty of friends at the top, and some of the naysayers you know now will also follow you, so you’ll be doing a lot of favors breaking out of that particular negative thought cycle.

  1. Procrastination

“What if it goes wrong?” is the cry of the procrastinator.  The logic is that by never trying anything you stay relatively safe because you’ve risked nothing. The flaw in that logic is that nothing stays the same.  Your real risk is stagnation, followed by a kind of living death as friends, business associates and even family leave you behind.   All that will happen to you is that you’ll get older.  And very lonely. The truth is that far more things work out than go wrong in many areas of life, and of course some things are riskier than others.  So if something doesn’t work as you’d hoped, you’ll discover how resourceful you are. Nothing lost there, would you agree?

  1. Seeking reassurance

Getting a mentor that can help you is great for your success. That doesn’t mean that you ask them to confirm every single step you need to make to get there. Their journey is not your journey, so you may have different challenges to break through. You have everything you need right now to make things happen for you. You have to be able to believe in you and your outcome. If you don’t why should anyone else?

  1. Saying You’ll Try

Heed the words of Yoda (from Star Wars).  “There is no try.  There is only do or don’t do.”

Saying I’ll try is basically saying that ‘I already know that I am not going to give it 100% effort as I don’t believe that the outcome is achievable’. You may have doubts, that is normal! Let’s not allow doubt to get you before you even give things a go! So instead of I’ll try, say – I’ll find a way to make this happen!’ This is a completely different mindset to face a problem or challenge with. And you may find that you’ll succeed for a change in an area where you never realized that you could!