It’s another manic Monday and once again, you’re kicking yourself for still being at your current 9-5. You know you need to make a change, but you’re not taking action.
While there are many reasons why we hesitate to move forward with what we know we need to do, fear of failure is arguably the biggest dream killer. The part of our brain that senses danger (sometimes called “Lizard Brain”) prevents us from stepping out into the unknown or sometimes even contemplating taking a step into the unknown.
Although it might be impossible to eradicate all fear (after all, we are mere mortals), here are some practical ways to overcome your fear of failure and move forward into your dream career.
- Unpack Your Fears.While this sounds counter-intuitive, taking the time to identify and analyze your fear is the first step. Write down the things that scare you about making the transition. What would happen if you had a failed attempt? How would this affect your career, finances, relationships, and lifestyle? What would be the worst-case scenario? Sometimes simply doing this type of mind dump helps to relieve some of the pressure and confusion that overtakes our minds when we wrestle with fear. If necessary, engage a trusted family member or friend to help you articulate these fears.
- Forget About Them.Now that you’ve identified and clarified your fears, simply forget about them. Recognize that it’s normal to have these fears and that anyone who has done anything significant has had to overcome these same ones. Also, acknowledge that the best things in life are often the riskiest. Whether it’s getting married, having children, or starting a new business, where there is no risk, there is no reward!
- Gain Clarity.A clear vision of the desired outcome also helps us to overcome the fear of failure. Take the time to write down what achieving that career transition entails. What type of work will you be doing? Will you be working for yourself or for someone else? Will you have a set schedule or a flexible one? Will you be working remotely or at an office? What kind of co-workers would suit you? What are your financial goals tied to this work? Take the time to write down the vision as plainly as possible. If you need more clarity, enlist a friend or two and ask them for feedback. You may also take assessments, find resources online or hire a coach to help you gain clarity. Don’t worry about what you don’t know yet; just write down what you DO know and let the other details unfold.
- Create A Transition Strategy. Once you have a clear vision, it’s time to create the transition strategy. While quitting immediately can sometimes sound tempting, creating a transition strategy is typically the better route. Depending on your situation, you may be able to execute this transition strategy within a few months or it might take a couple of years. Variables to consider include your current financial situation, necessary training, potential relocation, as well as family considerations like spouses and children. There will likely be a season of needing to moonlight as you gain traction in your new direction.
- Take Action. Once you’ve created a strategy, it’s time to take action (the step that many fail to take). Break down your strategy into weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. Commit a certain amount of hours weekly to accomplish them (a minimum of 5 hours, but ideally 10-15), and then tell a few trusted people about your goals. Ask these allies for permission to keep them informed of your progress, and grant them permission to challenge you when you’re not doing what you said you would do! You might even create a Facebook group or some other easy way to communicate with these individuals.
It’s normal for dreamers and career changers to have a fear of failure. The key to your success will be to overcome your fear by unpacking it and then quickly releasing it. Then, take the time to gain clarity on the dream, create a plan, and of course, take action. You won’t regret it!
Do you have any other suggestions on overcoming fear of failure?
Gabriel Aviles is a Business & Career Strategist, Author, Speaker and Coach. He is passionate about helpingtransitioning Creatives & Entrepreneurs launch into purposeful and profitable work, ultimately fulfilling their God-given dreams. He lives with his wife of 11 years and three small children in Franklin, TN, where he also consults in the Entertainment and Media industry. For more information on his Career Strategy & Coaching resources and services, please log on to www.fullblastcareer.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org