A while back I wrote an article with reasons why people fear new ideas. I recently shared the article with a new audience and a couple people asked me how I dealt with those fears myself and how I was able to overcome them with prospects who might be hesitating in moving forward with a project because of those fears. I thought those were great questions and figured I’d feature each one of those fears in its own article, along with my tips for dealing with them. Today’s topic is Failure.
How to deal with fear of Failure
The hard part of dealing with fear of Failure is that it’s not the failure that is the problem — it is the fear of it that causes the anxiety and stress.
People fail all. the. time.
Think about it, I’ll bet you you failed at least a half-dozen times today. Here are a few that might sound familiar to you…
- Failed to get up when the alarm went off (without hitting the Snooze button)
- Failed to get as much done at work as you wanted to
- Failed to make better choices in your meal options
- Failed to get as much housekeeping done as you wished
- Failed to squeeze in that workout you scheduled
- Failed to speak-up in the meeting at work
- Failed to stay off social media and away from all the Facebook political experts
So, it’s not the failure that creates all the worry, it’s the fact that no one wants to fail because they think it makes them a failure.
Failing Doesn’t Make You A Failure
Want to reduce the fear of failure? Help people understand that humans fail all the time and that they survived. Perhaps even gained unbelievable fame and notoriety.
How about Christopher Columbus?
The guy basically got famous for failing to find a direct ocean passage from Europe to Asia. He made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain and failed the mission each time.
One of the questions I ask in my client discovery sessions is:
What have you tried before that didn’t work?
Asking a question like this early in the process (before I even pitch them an idea or try to get them to hire me to implement a project) causes the prospect to think about a past failure — one that they survived and gained some knowledge through the experience. It’s a subtle reminder that failure isn’t fatal and actually helps them make better choices in the future based on the lessons they learned.
Reframe failure in the minds of your clients and you can win new business.