Coping When You’re Scared Of Failure

By Rogan Smith |
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I hate the F-word.

No, not that word. The other word – failure.

I’m petrified at failing. Failing in my career, failing at my relationships and friendships, just failing at life, in general.

I know a lot of people are quick to say that you shouldn’t fear failure. I don’t agree. I think we should fear failure. What we shouldn’t fear is taking all of the necessary steps to avoid it.

I have been scared to do many things. Scared to speak in public, scared to host a show, scared to write a column that would be dissected by a brutal public, scared to meet new people. That last one is particularly hard, especially considering I am an introvert. While I knew that my future depended on me facing my fears and moving forward, I sometimes backed out of obligations and declined opportunities to meet with someone because I got scared.

Sometime ago, a gentleman asked me to host his event. I immediately said yes. I always look at opportunities like blessings from God and I don’t like disappointing people. However, insecurity started setting in. What if I wasn’t good enough. What if the audience didn’t like me. What if I sucked. The voices of condemnation were coming from a dark place. I allowed my mind to conceive all sorts of negative outcomes. Not once did I think that I was good enough or that the audience would love me or that I’d be a hit. This man was a respected businessman. He clearly saw something in me he liked. But, I couldn’t see it in myself because I was so afraid to fail. I eventually backed out. I gave him a few months’ notice and offered to get him a replacement. He was grateful.

I don’t regret what I did, but I know that if I want to come into the fullness of all that God has in store for me, I cannot turn down opportunities. Months later when offered the opportunity to sit on a creative writer’s panel, I immediately said yes and plan to follow through despite my fear.

One of the worst things in the world would be for me to reach the end of my life, lying on the bed of my affliction and looking back with regret wondering why I didn’t pursue my dreams.

Time moves so quickly. We age every day. Every day we should make it a priority to do the things that scare the living daylights out of us.

Here’s what I know. Every time I face my fear and come out on the other side, I always question what I was so afraid of in the first place. It dissipates every time and I’m always happy to have gone through it.

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