how to overcome fear of failure

How to overcome fear of failure

The best way to overcome failure is to stop avoiding failure. It’s as simple as that.

Everyone becomes a little afraid of failing from time to time. That’s perfectly normal. But a fear of failure becomes a problem when it stops you from taking on new challenges which ultimately stops you from growing. In other words, a fear of failure becomes a problem when it stops you from living.

Must Read: What Is the Fear of Failure?

We live in a society where people spend so much time avoiding failures in life that they never actually succeed at anything meaningful. Or on the flip side, people avoid their failures in life so much that they never actually improve.

Failure avoidance is an epidemic in society that we must fix or we risk human evolution coming to a standstill. I know you probably think I’m exaggerating but yes, it is that bad. We are only where we are in society because of a series of trials and errors. A long history of failure-riddled successes.

We must understand that life is a series of problems to solve. A series of challenges. And failures are simply lessons to be learned.

Fear of failure, how to overcome failure
Image Source: verywellmind.com

Why do we fear failure?

Let me be clear: this article is in no way meant to trivialize the very real effects of the fear of failure. Instead, it is meant to encourage you to rise above them so you can live the life you desire.

So why do we fear failure? Well, simply put, failing doesn’t feel good. The human brain is wired to avoid negative experiences.

The brain often recognizes failure as a negative experience due to the negative emotions associated with it: confusion, anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, guilt, and regret.

However, as Dr. Guy Winch, Ph.D. cited in his article on Psychology Today, 10 Signs That You Might Have Fear Of Failure, “People who have a fear of failure are motivated to avoid failing not because they cannot manage the basic emotions of disappointment, anger, and frustration that accompany such experiences but because failing also makes them feel deep shame“.

He goes on to explain that “Shame gets to the core of our egos, our identities, our self-esteem, and our feelings of emotional well-being.

In layman’s terms, it is essentially shame that we avoid when we avoid failure.

So how do you overcome failure? Or better yet, how to overcome fear of failure? Keep reading to find out.

1. Change your mindset

The personal development industry is riddled with so-called gurus giving all kinds of advice on how to avoid the pain of failure. Advice on how to be happy all the time and advice on how to “overcome” failure.

First of all, understand that failure is not something you need to overcome. Failure is a natural part of your growth and success journey. Too many people try to avoid failure and as a result, they never actually make any real progress in life.

You must change the way you view failure. I love this famous quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that count.

You must adopt the mindset that you have not failed if you continue to improve. If you continue to grow and continue to try again, you have not failed. 

You don’t fail because you hit the ground. You fail because you hit the ground and stayed there. You also fail if you remain standing still so as to avoid hitting the ground.

Related: How to upgrade your mindset for a better life

2. Stop avoiding failures

“Mi nuh like fail!”

Translation: I don’t like to fail.

Well, guess what goodie? If you have not failed, you have not tried. 

The road to success is not a straight line. Contrary to popular belief. The road to success is filled with failures along the way.

The problem with most people today is that they want success without the bruises, scrapes, and scratches. They want the glory without the late nights, the constant doubts, and the rejections.

They want success without failure. They want to teleport their way to the finish line so they can avoid all the ups and downs, the hills, the valleys, and all the hiccups in between. 

Well, hush. That’s just not the way life works. Understand this honey, success, and failure are like yin and yang. They are light and darkness. One cannot exist without the other.

Life nuh work so.

Don’t let social media influencers and mainstream celebrities who are faking the “best” parts of their lives for attention and likes fool you into thinking otherwise.

Every truly successful person will tell you the same thing: success comes from having the courage to fail.

To avoid failure is to avoid success.

I think you might find this talk by Jordan Peterson quite interesting.

3. Embrace your failures

This does not by any means mean that you should stop growing and improving your efforts. Embracing your failures simply means accepting that they are a part of your journey, learning the lessons from the experiences, and implementing better strategies for the future.

Understand too, that success and failure have different meanings for everyone. What you need to do is to define what success is to you. That way, you can stop being led like a lamb to the slaughter by other people’s definitions of success.

Read my article on How do you tell apart what you want from what society expects you to want?

What is success to you? Is it money? Fame? Fortune? Popularity? Family? Friendships? Relationships? Good health? Happiness? Wellness? A combination of the aforementioned? 

What is it to you? 

What does a successful life truly look like to you?

You must dig deep and be truly honest with yourself.

Once you have defined what success really means for you, only then can you truly begin to purposefully embark on that journey.  But there will be many pitfalls. Many failures.

You must embrace those failures.

Understand that your failures do not define you. They are only meant to guide you to where you are truly meant to get to.

Sometimes in life, the things that didn’t work out for you, really worked out for you.

Read that again.

4. Learn the lessons

As I’ve mentioned before, failures are meant to be life’s teachers. In the previous point, I mentioned embracing your failures. But this does not mean that you are to be making the same mistakes over and over again.

You’re not supposed to keep making the same shitty choices over and over. You’re not supposed to keep walking into the same wall over and over again.

You are supposed to learn the lesson at some point. You are supposed to apply the learned lessons and navigate life differently.

Realize though that I’m not talking about when you fail as a result of putting in some half-assed effort and sh*t doesn’t work out for you. 

Though, that in itself is a lesson. 

A lesson that you should quit half-assing your way through life and expect to be successful at anything. Whether it’s relationships, weight loss, business, school, you name it.

When you experience failure in life, you need to do a thorough evaluation: what lessons are you meant to learn from the failure? What areas of yourself are you supposed to improve? What toxic habits are blocking you from stepping into the next phase of your life? What crappy mindsets are keeping you anchored to your comfort zone?

There are lessons to be learned. Pay attention, learn them, and apply them to your next steps.

There are no real failures in life. There are only lessons to be learned.

Watch this video on how to overcome failure and learn from your mistakes:

5. Face the next challenge head-on

I’ve been guilty of backing down when I’ve faced failure in my life before. I mean, come on. We all have. What I can say though, is that my mindset then was completely different from my mindset now.

Read my article on how to upgrade your mindset for success.

Back then, I believed that failure was a bad thing. That if I failed at something it meant that I was a failure. I believed that if I failed at something it was because I was clearly not good enough. Worst of all, I let my failures define me.

I had this mindset: if yuh nah go do it good, nuh bada do it none a tall. Translation: if you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all.

And while there is some truth to that. In the sense that you should always be putting your best foot forward and you should always make an effort to do your best. It is not as absolute as I used to think.

If my best foot is perfect, or as perfect as it needs to be, that should never have stopped me from putting that damn foot forward nonetheless and improving that foot with time.

For years I held myself back from starting this blog because I’m not the most tech-savvy person and I’m most certainly not the greatest writer that ever lived. I convinced myself that no one would read my blog and that no one was interested in my advice on life. I successfully “protected” myself from failing at building a writing business.

But in reality, that… was the failure.

How many times have you held yourself back instead of facing the next challenge head-on? How many times have you let the sting of failure cripple your dream? How many times have you let a failed relationship kill your future relationships?

It’s not something to throw a pity party about and invite depression and self-loathing. It’s just something for you to be aware of. Self-awareness is key.

Other great articles I think you’d love to read:

Why It’s So Hard To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone And What To Do About It

10 Reasons Why You’re Still Hurting And What To Do About It

Upgrade Your Lifestyle: How to Upgrade Your Environment

How to stop comparing yourself to others

I hope this article has changed your way of thinking even just a little bit. I hope this article has inspired you to rise above your fear of failure so you can begin to step into your true potential and become the best version of yourself possible.

I’d love to hear from you. What advice do you have for someone reading this article? What advice do you have for someone who wants to overcome their failures?

Like my content? Join my private Facebook group of women inspiring women. The group is a safe space where like-minded women can grow and glow together. You can find support and offer your own advice to help other women win at life.

Remember sharing is caring so don’t be stingy.

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Thanks for reading and as always, stay sweet. Stay Feminine, Sexy, Classy and Unapologetically WOMAN!


-Lis xoxo


  1. If we let it, the fear of failure will absolutely stop us from moving forward! Love your tips! Reflecting on what we learn from failure is hard at first, but a mindset shift that will propel us forward to getter things.

    1. This is exactly true. It can be really hard at first but as with everything else, it’s a habit that can be fostered and honed!

  2. You are so right, fear of failure does hold us back in a lot of ways from achieving our dreams… because we don’t do anything to chase them. I read somewhere that the difference between successful entrepreneures and those that aren’t, is that the successful ones keep going after the first failure. It took Thomas Edison a bunch of times to invent the lightbulb. If we want to do something equally great, we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. You are right when you say that failure is a learning opportunity. No one gets things right on the first try. So it is important to keep trying. Thank you for sharing these tips.

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I love how you mention that the difference between successful and unuseful entrepreneurs is that the successful ones keep going after the first failure.

  3. Great post. It is important we are willing to take chances and learn from any mistakes along the way. You do not want to regret what you don’t try.

    Pastor Natalie

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for reading

  4. Thanks for sharing this. So needed it.

    I relate because I spent years listening to the negative voice in my head and lacking in confidence. It’s only now I’ve changed my mindset that I’m manifesting and grabbing all opportunities coming my way.

    It’s still scary though. Getting over this in built fear is hardwork, but worth it.

    1. You are right. Getting over fear that has been programmed into your very being is extremely scary. But guess what? The fact that you tackle it every day and are now grabbing opportunities regardless of how scary they are, is exactly what makes you so much braver and stronger than you even give yourself credit for. I’m proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone

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