Fear of making mistakes keeps many people from taking action on their goals and dreams. In order to have a growth mindset, you must adopt a new attitude toward making mistakes. You have to allow yourself to fail because it’s a key part of the learning process. In fact, you learn more from messing up than from doing things right.

However, this attitude is not second nature for most of us. Here are some ideas on how to overcome the fear of making mistakes so that you can grow and take action.

This is the third article in a series of 5 articles on How to Develop a Success Mindset. Here are the articles in the Series:
  1. How to Embrace Change and Make it Work Towards Your Success
  2. Why Charting Your Progress is Key as You Develop a Growth Mindset
  3. 6 Tips to Help You Overcome the Fear of Making Mistakes

6 Tips to Help You Overcome the Fear of Making Mistakes

1. Give yourself permission to make mistakes

Perceived pressure from other people is a key reason that keeps many people from getting over the fear of making mistakes. You may think this is such a big deal, but you worry that others will ridicule and judge you should you fail.

If external pressure makes you unable to take risks, it might help to realize that it doesn’t matter whether people judge you or not. While there may be critics, there are also some people around you who will be impressed to see you taking risks, even if you don’t succeed.

But what’s most important is what you think about yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes so that you learn and grow. Even better, look at your failures as learning experiences. Embrace and learn from the failures you’ve made in the past so that you don’t repeat them in the future.

2. Envision the worst that could happen

When you see someone who recovers fast from failure, chances are that they are also good at thinking about the worst that could happen if they try something and fail. Doing this helps to dispel the fear because you realize the worst-case scenario is not so bad after all.

  • Will you wreck your business?
  • How much money will you lose?
  • Will there be permanent damage that can’t be undone?
  • What if you lose your job?

Once you consider the worst that could happen, turn around and visualize the best that could happen. Often, when you compare these two scenarios, you’ll see that the potential reward far outweighs the risk.

3. Shut down the inner judge and critic

All of us have an inner judge. In his highly acclaimed book Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS, Stanford Lecturer Shirzad Chamine notes that this judge is the cause of most of our misery. He also goes on to say that the judge criticizes:

  • You
  • Other people
  • Circumstances (past and present)

Your inner critic is that voice inside your head that shoots you down before you even get started. It also shoots down ideas from other people, sometimes without giving themselves a chance to evaluate these ideas.

For example, when setting goals, we all want to be realistic. Unfortunately, your inner critic goes far beyond “realistic” and prevents you from taking action. When you’re about to take a risk or try something new, this voice stops you by focusing on mistakes you could make.

You can quiet your inner critic by identifying it and calling it out. Learn to recognize when you’re not being realistic but self-defeating. Identify the feelings that arise when you get into this mood.

Once you know this is happening, you can ignore the voice. Remind yourself that it doesn’t matter whether you succeed or fail. What matters is that you’ll have tried and learned something valuable from this experience.

4. Reframe your mistakes using positive language

The language you use when you’re talking to yourself silently or out loud is very important in forming how you think about what you do. Start framing things using positive phrases rather than negative ones. This will also change your attitude as well.

For example, say you just launched a product that didn’t sell because you didn’t do your targeting well. Instead of saying you didn’t do it right, reframe it to say, “I need to work more on my targeting next time.” You’re focused on how you can improve rather than how you failed.

With this mindset, you can evaluate what went well and what went wrong. Then you can make changes to the next launch and possibly get better results. Using this process, you can keep recalibrating and getting better even if you fail more than once.

5. Appreciate the mistakes you’ve made

It may be helpful to realize that you are definitely going to make mistakes and welcome them. This is an essential part of the growth process.

No one was born brave. Even the experts you admire were once novices. People who seem brave don’t have more courage than the rest of us. They are afraid and take action anyway. You can too by making this a habit.

The inner critic also takes advantage of other times you have tried new things and failed. You can keep reliving the negative experiences and beat yourself up over and over again. If you don’t take charge, these reminders and judgments take a toll and keep you playing small! They also stop you in your tracks even when you’ve considered all avenues and know exactly what you need to do.

6. Visualize success

Visualization is a very powerful tool. Whatever you visualize with a lot of emotion eventually happens in your life in one way or another. There is a lot of research that’s been shared online which proves this, especially from a sports perspective.

Take some time after a failure to evaluate exactly what happened. Get clear about what you want and the new way forward. Spend some time each day visualizing achieving it. Let go of your attachment to the outcome and take action each day, knowing that you are moving and growing.

Over to you…

Cultivating a growth mindset doesn’t come easy. It’s also negatively impacted by your fears and doubts. Use these 6 tips to start shifting your mindset as you overcome the fear of making mistakes.

Do you want to learn more about adopting the growth mindset?

Check out my program Break Free, Live Your Life, which teaches you the A to Z of using the growth mindset effectively. Click here to find out more about the Break Free coaching program so that you overcome the fear of making mistakes and achieve your personal, professional, or business goals faster and easier than before.

(Image by A3DigitalStudio at Pixabay)

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Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

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