Personal question: Is it possible that you already know everything you need to know to be successful online – but something other than knowledge is holding you back?
If it’s as simple as the mechanics of online marketing – setting up websites and so forth – you can always hire someone to do that part for you.
But if it’s a lack of confidence, or fear of failing that’s holding you back – then it’s up to you to squash that particular bug, or at least quarantine it to the furthest corner of your house.
And if the thought of failing is enough to keep you from starting your online empire, then welcome to the club. Fear of failure is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to success. Fear of failing is so oppressive and destructive, it can cause you to willingly set aside your dreams – forever.
So why do we fear failure so much? It goes back to life experiences that inadvertently taught us it’s better not to risk, than to risk and lose. When you fail at something, it’s natural to worry what other people will think about you and if they will lose interest in you. You worry about how smart and capable you are, and whether you can effectively pursue future endeavors. In fact, when you fear failure you’re actually worried about an entire host of possible outcomes, most of which will never come to pass no matter how many times you fail.
But the mind isn’t rational, and simply talking yourself out of being afraid doesn’t work any better than trying to manifest an iron will.
The secret to overcoming fear of failure? There are several, but I’ll give you one here that you can use right away.
Experiments in the 1970s showed that there are two distinct groups of children when it comes to learning new skills. There are the “ego-oriented” children whose main concern is to not lose face in front of their friends. Some of these children fear failure so much they invent ways to get out of the activity, do the activity in such a way that they cannot fail, or make it impossible to succeed so that failing doesn’t hold a stigma.
The second group of children is what they term “mastery-oriented.” These kids don’t care as much about losing face as they do about acquiring a new skill. In fact, they realize that initially failing is simply a part of the process of learning and take it in stride. These kids are happier and succeed much faster than those who fear failing.
Thus, if you can change your focus to acquiring a new skill and deciding that no matter what happens along the way, you’re going to enjoy the process – you are on the way to overcoming your fear of failure.
Gradually Overcoming Your Fear of Failure
You might start small with something that doesn’t hold a great deal of significance, such as learning a new game. Let’s say you’re going to take up billiards for the first time in your life. Your focus would be on learning how to hold and shoot the cue, the angles to use, the rules of the game and so forth. When you miss a shot or scratch, it’s no big deal because you know that’s part of the process and you’re just learning.
You might be astonished at the difference it makes. You’ll be happier, you’ll have less stress, and you’ll learn your new skill much faster.
From here you might stretch yourself further by doing things that scare you. For example, if you’re a shy person you might ask 15 strangers a simple question (“Do you have the time?”) in the space of 30 minutes. Note how you feel after the exercise. Odds are you’ll not only have conquered a fear of talking to strangers, you’ll also get a boost of confidence, which leads us to our next point…
Are You Lacking in Confidence?
You’ve got a great idea for a new business, but frankly, you just don’t have the guts to go for it. Or maybe you do decide to go ahead with your idea, but then someone says it’ll never work and you chuck the whole thing. Why? Low self-confidence. This goes hand in hand with the fear of failure.
So why doesn’t someone have enough confidence in themselves? Usually, it’s because they judge themselves unworthy, or they see major disconnects between what they think they’re capable of and what they’re actually doing.
Growing Unshakable Self-Confidence, Step by Step
The good news is, self-confidence can be raised with every new challenge met, no matter how small. Remember the exercise to talk to 15 strangers? I can almost guarantee your self-confidence to talk with strangers will be significantly raised after you do this.
In fact, if you will make it a habit to do one thing every single day that is out of your current comfort zone, you will find that your confidence improves immensely within just a few short weeks.
Make yourself a list of all things you’d like to do that you’re not doing. Maybe you’ve wanted to join a group, take up a new hobby, try a different sport or go to a fancy nightclub. Maybe you want to get better at talking with the opposite sex, or at making friends, or get better at making online contacts. Maybe you’ve wished you could get 5 minutes with the big guns in your niche, or regularly post to forums and blogs.
Whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t, put it on the list. Even small stuff like taking a walk around your neighborhood and ringing doorbells of neighbors you haven’t yet met can go on the list, as well as chatting up that stud or beautiful woman who works in the supermarket. Write down everything you can think of that you’ve been holding back on. Add in skydiving if you’re inspired to do that kind of thing, and keep adding to this list daily as you think of new things.
Now that you’ve got your list, pick one thing and do it right now. That’s right – do it now, or at least before you go to bed tonight.
Notice a difference in how you feel about yourself? You should.
When we don’t do the things we wish we would do – for whatever reason – we lose self-esteem. But when we finally do those things, not only do we become more self-confident, we also find we’re happier, more fulfilled and more ready to take on even bigger challenges.
You’ll notice that most of the examples I’ve given haven’t been IM related. That’s because raising your confidence in any one area can help you in all other areas as well. When you have success learning tennis, you can use that boost in confidence to tackle website building or product creation. And when you overcome your fear of talking to strangers, it gets easier to network on Facebook with people you don’t know.
One last thing – it’s far better to take multiple baby steps than try to overcome the world in a day. Making slow, steady progress anchors your triumphs and makes it that much easier to achieve a little bit more tomorrow.