Defeat Fear – How to Overcome It – Part 2

Fear ignites our anxieties.

Part 2

Main points:

  • Defeating the fear of failure
  • Conquering the fear of rejection
  • Beating the fear of success
  • Tim Ferriss’ “Fear-Setting”

In my last post, Defeat Fear: What Fear is and How to Overcome it, I defined fear, how it affects us physically, how pervasive it is in our society, and some tactics in defeating it. In this session, I’d like to focus on some popular fears; fear of failure, fear of rejection, and fear of success. Then I’ll share a quick method you can use to defeat both the fear of failure and rejection, as suggested by author and investor Tim Ferriss.

3 Fears to Overcome if You Want to Be Successful

Fear of Failure –

Fear of failure
I’m the failure.

Fear. It cuts like a knife. We learn from infancy how to generalize and compartmentalize to get our way and feel good about ourselves. We are taught that winners succeed, and losers fail. Years of programming . . . that failure brings disappointment, shame, embarrassment or humiliation while success brings honor, praise, pride, and dignity. How can we not have an aversion to failure?

The fear of failure causes us to put ourselves on the bench in the game of life.  People will do the following:

  • Turn down personal and professional opportunities.
  • Stop trying new or different things.
  • Live or die on the opinions of others.
  • Resist moving forward because of anticipated disappointment.

Tactics to defeat the fear of failure – 

  • Redefine failure – failing does not mean you are a failure. It’s just another way you learn to adjust moving forward. Look at failure as a means of figuring out your next move. Quit defining failure as the opposite of success.
  • Define it as the opposite of trying.
  • Set “approach goals” (not avoidance goals) – Whether a goal is an approach goal or an avoidance goal depends upon whether you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome or avoid an adverse one.
  • Focus on what is wanted to achieve.

Fear of Rejection – 

I’m not worth it.

This fear stops you cold. In my prior post, I mentioned that the ‘mile-long’ list of fears boils down to one of two things, 1) losing something or 2) being concerned too much about what others think of you. We can’t risk being judged or ridiculed. Is our pride really that great to eclipse our drive for success; for many people, the answer is YES.

Those who fear rejection do the following:

  • Live in avoidance mode.
  • Become “people pleasers.”
  • Wait on others to make offers.
  • Appear weak and insecure.
  • Find it difficult to answer the phone or even make a call.
  • Unable to chat with strangers or even friends.
  • Develop ‘phoniness.’

Tactics to defeat the fear of rejection –

  • Expect to be rejected – by expecting it, you limit its power.
  • Accept yourself rather than worrying whether other people accept you – of course, this doesn’t come easily, but you will improve significantly with practice.
  • Stay away from small-minded people – you need positive people in your life.
  • Create a support system – do what you can to bring people into your life that you know unconditionally love you.

The fear of success – 

Can I handle success?

People with a fear of success do the following things:

  • Unwelcome the spotlight of attention – not wanting lots of attention overshadows their drive for success.
  • Fear new standards and expectations – much more will be expected of them if they succeed.
  • Fear pressure – unwanted pressure will come with their success.
  • Resist accountability – before such success, they were accountable mainly to themselves.
  • Sabotage their efforts – they will set low standards and expectations that will oppose their success.
  • Worry you will lose it all.
  • Expect no more leisure time.
  • Feeling guilty that you don’t deserve it.

Tactics to defeat the fear of success –

  • If you have redefined failure, then you’ve redefined success.
  • Try journaling – this is a great way to get your feelings out, encourage yourself, and overcome this fear. Check out Julia Cameron’s ideas on journaling. (Julia Cameron on “Morning Pages”).
  • Work hard on the right thing, not just hard.
  • Build the system to support your success, and you won’t work as hard as you think.
  • Read Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek.
  • Understand that success comes one step at a time.
  • Prepare for the work, and you won’t be afraid if things go wrong. “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” – Les Brown.
  • Choose to think about the rewards.

Wrapping up – 

Create a “fear list.” Listen to author and investor Tim Ferriss’ TED talk about “smashing fear.”

Tim recommends “fear-setting” rather than goal-setting. By doing so, he found his biggest successes.

I love his quotes, “You suffer more in imagination than in reality” and “Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life“.

Focus on learning and wring the most value out of the experience, no matter the outcome—plan for the next opportunity.

Remember: Feeling afraid may be more valuable to you than feeling comfortable. Comfort is a sign that you are not pushing your comfort zone enough. You must step far enough out of your comfort zone to rise and thrive. By rethinking your fears, you can see apprehension more as a teacher and guide than in fear. If you do, you stand a good chance of achieving your most important goals.