A common fear that everyone experiences at some time or another is the fear of failure. If you have encountered this fear, or battle it from time to time, you can have some comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Be assured that when that concern does arise, you can beat it.

The Drive for Perfection

If you have encountered the fear of failure then it must be the result of a constant drive for perfection. Do you expect perfection from other people? Do you require perfection from the people that work with you? Have you experienced perfection from family or friends? Do you hold yourself to higher standards than you expect from everyone else? The harder that you work, the more that you increase your potential for success. However, no amount of hard work is going to assure perfection. Maybe you should be a little more forgiving of yourself if you come a little short of perfection but still manage to do a great job. You would probably give other people this same consideration, wouldn't you?

Drive for perfection and accept exceptional results from yourself.

Measure Up to Your Dreams

It is not reasonable to expect perfection from yourself. Despite your best efforts, you may make mistakes from time to time. So what is really holding you back from chasing your dreams? No, I am not talking about the little ones. I am talking about what is really important to you. What really matter most to you?

This is about your dreams and aspirations. This is not about the expectations of someone else or the assigned goals imposed by society, job or other people. Your personal goals may be measured by who you want to be or how you want to live your life. Your most important aspirations may be to spend more time with your family. Your dreams may include a vacation and travel to experience another culture. Your goals may be to become more successful, in whatever manner that you personally measure success. However you measure your success, and whatever your goals, only you can really feel what is more important to you.

Envision yourself living as the person that you want to be, achieving your dreams. What do your surroundings look like? Who is with you? Create a clear and precise image in your mind of the person that you will become when you achieve your goals.

What are you doing to achieve your goals? Maybe there is something that you can do daily, weekly or monthly to keep moving in the direction of your dreams. Unless your dreams have an expiration date, you can keep moving in the direction of your aspirations by the little decisions that you make every day.

Measure Your Fear

Fear of failure is really nothing more than the risk that you may not succeed. So what?

The effort and the attempt to achieve something greater can be a reward in itself. In many cases, the underlying fear is really based on being honest with other people about the things that matter the most to you. Many individuals are afraid to pursue their dreams because aspirations are personal and private. Many people do not share personal goals because they are embarrassed or afraid of being hurt. In reality, by sharing your dreams and personal goals you create more opportunity for success because you give other people a chance to support your efforts. The more that you can openly express your aspirations with others, the more chances you will give to other people who want to help you succeed. Is this so hard to accept? Would you want to help your friends and coworkers succeed?

You are far more likely to succeed with the support of others than if you never even try to succeed at all. Talk about your goals.

So what are the real dangers? Take the time to write down your personal goals. Then write down the steps that you need to take to achieve them. Write down important milestones that you will cross on the road to your success. Write down the obstacles and challenges that could keep you from achieving your goals. These obstacles are the only things that should concern you. The obstacles are your only real challenges. Failure is not an obstacle, it is merely a measurement that results in temporary delay on the way to success.

Take On the Obstacles

Once you have your roadmap to success, and once you have identified the obstacles, consider how you will overcome the challenges. Perhaps the obstacles are related to budget or money. Perhaps the obstacles are related to time or competition. In most cases, once the obstacles are clearly defined, the path to overcome them is equally apparent. You know what you need to do.

By defining the obstacles you have clearly targeted those limited issues that come between you and your goals. Make plans to overcome the obstacles. Make decisions every day that reflect a commitment to achieving your aspirations. Make your goals known so other people can understand and support your decisions. Sometimes other people may help you overcome obstacles.

Sometimes the result of effort does not turn out exactly as planned. Quite often, on the path to achieving our dreams we discover something new and precious within ourselves. This can alter the goals and create new ones. Whatever the result of the endeavor, you are much better for the journey.

Take a pause from your busy schedule. Write down one important goal that is meaningful for you. Put it someplace that you can see it every day. Take the first step today, right now, and let your goals influence the steps that you take tomorrow.


Words of Wisdom

"You always pass failure on the way to success."
- Andy Rooney

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
- Thomas Edison

"A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions, as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all."
- Friedrich Nietzsche


Author's Bio: 

John Mehrmann is a freelance writer and President of Executive Blueprints Inc., an organization devoted to improving business practices and developing human capital. www.ExecutiveBlueprints.com.
provides resource materials for trainers, sample Case Studies, educational articles and references to local affiliates for consulting and executive coaching. www.InstituteforAdvancedLeadership.com.
provides self-paced tutorials for personal development and tools for trainers. Presentation materials, reference guides and exercises are available for continuous development.