Every creature on the planet understands fear. Dogs are afraid of fireworks whilst cats shy away from dogs. As human beings, fear comes in many forms, from running away from danger to taking flight from new challenges that life brings. However, whilst some fears are accurate (running from a fire), others are often clouded by self-limiting beliefs such as the fear of failure.
So how can we accept fear, use it to our advantage and shift a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?
Each of us has a failure policy that lives in the back of our subconscious mind. A failure policy represents our attitudes and approach to failure – often showing up as a critical voice. Our failure policy keeps us trapped in a fixed mindset as we are not allowing ourselves to learn and to grow from the experience.
Instead, we must learn to embrace fear and fail with courage. Each time you fail in any area of your life, see it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, to find a better way, to ask for help or to commit more. When you begin to do this, you will begin to see failure as a natural part of life and a process that you can grow and develop from.
Today, we would like you to think about your failure policy. Often, the first step in building a new relationship with fear is to accept it. In a journal answer the following questions:
- What does failure mean to you?
- What is your current failure policy?
- What is your most valuable failure and what did you learn from it?
- Rewrite your failure policy
Here’s an example of failure policy
“I fear transmitting stress at work because if I do then I have failed.”
Most valuable failure
“I started to understand when I became stressed, it wasn’t because I was a failure but because I took pride in my work and wanted to express my opinion.”
Rewrite your failure policy
“If I get stressed, it doesn’t mean I have failed, rather I’m showing emotion for something I feel strongly about, and it helps me speak openly”.
You can revisit this task at any stage, especially when managing a hurdle in life.
The important take away about fear is to challenge the fear in your mind. We often confuse failure with stunted growth, whereas it does the opposite. Next time you feel you’ve “failed”, or might “fail”, challenge yourself and see how you can turn it into a positive.