Ever been so afraid of failing at something that it paralyzed you from making decisions? Unfortunately, the fear of failure can be so real that it can cause us to do nothing and keep us from moving forward.
Billionaire Warren Buffett knows this well. He was once terrified of public speaking but eventually overcame his fear. Now Buffett gives his followers a priceless lesson, stated in four powerful words: face down your fears.
Fear of failure can be so debilitating, it even results in low self-esteem or self-confidence, giving you the false belief that you're not good enough or smart enough. Another thing fear does to our psyche is keeping us from making mistakes -- the kind we need to keep growing.
'You're going to make mistakes in life'
Buffett has learned to not let fear grab a hold of him and now advises leaders to not let mistakes stop them from achieving their goals. Buffett said, "You're going to make mistakes in life, there's no question about it. You don't want to make them on the big decisions, who you marry and things like that. So there's no way I'm going to make a lot of business and investment decisions without making some mistakes. I may try to minimize them. I don't dwell on them at all. I don't look back...."
The great thing about failure is that it teaches us perspective when facing our greatest fears. We can choose to see failure as a devastating "meet thy doom" scenario or as an invaluable learning experience that keeps us from making the same mistake again.
Buffett's advice to face down our fears and even embrace it is pretty courageous. But if you're not quite prepared to make that leap, try these four quick strategies to reduce your fear of failing.
1. Assess all possible outcomes.
Many people experience fear of failure because they fear the unknown. Remove that fear by considering all of the potential outcomes of your decision.
2. Think in the positive.
Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and stop self-sabotage.
3. Re-evaluate your worst-case scenario.
It's human of us to look at the worst-case scenario as a disaster in the making. But, is it? Your worst-case may actually not be that bad so perspective -- yours and of other people -- really matter to reframe your situation.
4. Make your goals smaller.
Take one small step at a time to help build your confidence, keep you moving forward, and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with the "what if's." In other words, don't focus on the top of the mountain. Just focus on the first molehill. So what's your first step? That's it.