The fear of failure is a universal fear, it’s human nature.  It can be overwhelming at best and debilitating at worst for many athletes and non-athletes.  The inability to master or overcome it is often the difference between being successful or not.  All people fail and it’s the true champion who makes peace with it, learns from it, and goes on.

There are very few things in life which can’t be fixed or corrected.  “Messing up” isn’t where failure happens, not learning from it and doing better the next time is where the actual failure occurs.  To persevere in spite of it is the way to success, it’s the learned behavior or habit of a winner.  The reason most people fail is because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which are unsuccessful.

To fail is normal, it’s the way nature intended for us to learn.  You try something, it doesn’t work, you figure out why it didn’t work, change your approach, try it again – repeat.  It takes practice, practice and more practice.  Of course it’s easier said than done, but so is developing the perfect drop shot.  But, competitors look for the best way to do something, not the easiest way.

There are many ways to overcome your fear of failure.  It’s important to find the strategy which works for you.  Here are 4 questions you can use to turn perceived failure to your advantage, rather than letting it defeat you.  Use them, practice them and if they don’t work for you, try something else.  It often helps, particularly when you’re in the learning phase, to write out your answers.

  1. What did I learn from this experience?
  2. How can I grow as a person and an athlete from this experience?
  3. What are 3 positive things I can take away from this experience?
  4. Where do I go from here, what’s my plan and how do I implement it?

Many people struggle to come up with the 3 positives.  They’re resistant to seeing anything positive about “crashing and burning”.  However, if you train your mind to view failure as a non-emotional learning opportunity, a “bump in the road”, you’re well on your way to controlling the fear rather than it controlling you.

Most people waste the gift of failure, but winners don’t squander it.  When you learn to move through your fear you develop persistence, mental and emotional power and resiliency, true characteristics of a champion.  The Vince Lombardi quote – It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up – may be old, but it’s still true.

Author: Nicole Abbott – writer, educator and psycho-therapist

About The Author

Ron has started several businesses around technology and communications. He founded the WorldWide Tennis Association to use his technical skills to improve tennis players ability globally to compete, get ranking and have fun without unnecessary barriers.