Fear is unpleasant. The racing heart, the dizziness and the unbearable need to pee are miserable. Failure sucks, too. The nausea, the sweat and that loud ringing in your ears are agonizing. Put fear and failure together and you get psychological paralysis. The fear of failure is debilitating, even for the strongest and most capable among us.
Read on for Mother Wilson’s Wise Words on overcoming your fear of failure and finding your personal path to success. This blog is aimed at writers in all genres and at every stage in their careers. However, these techniques can be used in any area of life.
To look closely at your fear of failure, first define, ‘success.’ Rather than spout off a simplistic response like ‘achieving a goal,’ or ‘getting what you want,’ apply this idea to something specific. Make it small, achievable and set a reasonable deadline. You could say something like, “By 5 p.m. today, I will have written three paragraphs.”
Step number two is to accept that those three paragraphs do not have to be perfect. If you have written three paragraphs, whether they’re good or bad, you will have met your goal and succeeded. Most writers I know end up writing a lot more than three paragraphs. The key is to get started.
Next, you’ll need positive reinforcement. You didn’t fail. You succeeded. Reward yourself. It’s easy to use food, but honestly, I don’t recommend that. We authors are a sedentary bunch and it will go right to your hips. (Trust me, I know.) Find something else you like to do. Call a friend, watch a movie, play with your dog.
Thinking positive always helps. However, studies from the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology show that positive thinking needs to be balanced. For it to work, you’ll need to visualize the obstacles between where you are and where you want to be. Then, see yourself moving forward. Plan a step-by-step method of overcoming the obstacles. Visualize yourself succeeding one step at a time. Don’t get snarled up in how far you have to go.
As you move forward, don’t run from your fear. Embrace it as part of being human. Hug your fear and say, “Fear I see you. I know you are there. I can and will live with you through acceptance.”
Write on everybody!
Barbara (Mother) Wilson is a writing coach for aspiring authors. She'll keep you and your book moving toward publication. Don't ever quit!