One of the most common things holding people back from achieving their potential in business is the fear of failure.

 

It is human nature to fear the unknown. When we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, whether in business or in our personal lives, it is pretty normal to feel some degree of stress and anxiety.

In business, many of us consider our work to be representative of who we are as a person. As such, we can often view a failure in the workplace as a personal failure. This fear can often manifest itself in such a way that we avoid reaching for new targets or striving towards new goals in case we fail. We fear that such a failure in such a public way could change the way others view us and indeed how we view ourselves. This can result in us holding ourselves back because we fear failure.

It can be helpful to refocus and see “failures” as “learning opportunities”. Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, including the likes of Richard Branson, have failed several times in business. However they view these failures as learning opportunities.

Each time you fall over, you must learn how to get back up and apply that learning next time around.

Change the way you think about your goals and objectives. Don’t frame each business objective in order to avoid a potential failure. This is setting the objective in a negative context. Instead, set your objectives in a positive context. For example, set an objective to explore a new potential business case in order to learn about that opportunity. The goal is to learn, rather than to create, a new part of the business.

Finally, it can be helpful to visualise obstacles. Think of a situation in which you are afraid of failure.  Visualise yourself hitting an obstacle, allow yourself to feel the fear, and then see yourself moving forward.

Next, spend a few minutes planning how to overcome whatever obstacles may stand in your way. Then see yourself succeeding despite these obstacles. You need to train your brain to focus on the solution rather than the fact that there is an obstacle in your way.