The Fear of Failure Beast. It’s a nasty creature, isn’t it? It lurks in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to pounce.
And when is the right moment? Just when you are getting the courage to step out of your comfort zone.
There it is, appearing in front of you. As if by magic. Large. Scary. Reminding us of the times we tried, and failed.
You know those times, don’t you? When things didn’t go as you hoped. When mistakes happened. When it all went wrong.
And so, you let the Fear of Failure beast impact on your motivation. You let it bully you into staying in your comfort zone. You give up before you even start. After all, who are you to think you could be more than you are now?
How the Fear of Failure Beast can Motivate You
Firstly, create a ridiculous image of your Fear of Failure Beast. For me, it’s short, tubby, decrepit old woman. She is based on someone who was part of a writing support group I belonged to in my early 30s. However, she was extremely unsupportive. She heavily criticised me for wanting to step out of my comfort zone. And her criticism motivated me into taking action. After all, I did not want to become her! Sure, I made lots of mistakes along the way. But if I had listened to her and stayed in my comfort zone, I would be in a very dull place.
Secondly, give your Fear of Failure Beast a name. Think of the negative or toxic thought or feeling that occurs when the beast appears. For me, it’s Fearful Freda, the Crazy Old Cat Lady. Add some humour to the name. This helps to diminish the power of that which sabotages you.
Thirdly, interrupt, or starve the beast. Come up with a way to stop the beast in it’s tracks. It could be something like jumping up and down on the spot, or breathing deeply in and out five times. Or you could yell out something silly, like “No, no! It’s behind you!” Thinking back to when the real Fearful Freda criticised me, I wonder how she would have reacted if I’d interrupted her.
Does the Beast Enhance Your Life or Empower You?
Next, analyse the beast. Ask lots of questions to de-construct what you are thinking, feeling, doing, and saying when you let your fear of failure sabotage you. Essentially you are either slaying the beast, or taming it. This helps you to challenge the beast, and gather high quality data about it. Analysing questions are when, where, what, how, with whom, etc. Be curious about your Fear of Failure beast, and get specific about the impact it is having on you.
Then frame the beast. This is where access and apply positive and powerful resources to transform the beast into a supportive friend. For example, Fearful Freda, the Crazy Old Cat Lady, helps me to do my due diligence. She gives me a reality check. Look at the meanings positive intentions behind the beasts initial attack.
Finally, embrace the beast. More often than not, the beast is trying to protect you from making mistakes, embarrassing yourself, getting hurt, etc. Find what is valuable and important in the thought, feeling, communication or behaviour. Use this as powerful feedback as you develop on plan or strategy on how to prove the beast wrong. And thank the beast for caring enough about you, that it wants to keep you safe. Give it a big old hug. Then give yourself permission to feel the fear and do it anyway!
Learn to Love Dancing with the Beast
Comfort zones are horrible places to live in. They may seem nice and cosy, but they make you lazy and dull. Getting out of them is scary. That is why the Fear of Failure Beast lurks close by. It wants to protect you from the discomfit of personal development. In addition, it doesn’t want you to risk pursuing your dreams, in case you get hurt making a mistake, or suffer through failure. However, by learning to understand and dance with the beast, you will diminish its control over you. And this gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone, and transform through feedback and success.
Dancing with the Fear of Failure beast is based on L. Michael Hall, Ph. D’s Dragon Dancing pattern. I am a Meta-Masters NLP Master Practitioner. If you would like help slaying or taming mental or emotional beasts that are stopping you from getting out of your comfort zone, please contact me.