Someone recently asked me to share a bit more detail about what my fear of failure looked like, and if I knew where it originated from. For her, her fear of failure came from losing her job, and it was stopping her from actively looking for a new and engaging job as she felt that the same thing might happen again. Over time, this fear accumulated with an almost snowball-like effect, and became debilitating.
My fear of failure went back to some of my very first memories. I don't know how it came about, who planted that seed in me, or if it has been in me from the very start. I just know that I always doubted myself, my gut feeling, and my own capabilities. Over the years, and in particular with a business I started with a partner, this fear of failure became an almost self-fulfilling prophecy:
1. I always thought that the other person knew much better and much more than me.
2. Due to 1. I felt compelled to almost always hand over the reigns to the other person.
3. Due to 2. I felt I had no room to move, action or respond as I always felt like a spectator and not an actor.
4. At some point I would set myself up for failure - make mistakes on purpose, focus on the little things and not the important things, so that the situation could not result in anything else but failure.
What I have learned since is that which ruled me most was fear - fear of getting criticized, fear of what others would think, fear of simply making a decision that I felt was right. The moment I set those fears aside things started to flow; and since that moment I have stayed close my core and making decisions from there. And I no longer think of myself as failing; instead, I am out there doing my best, out there making things happen.