Overcoming your fear of failure at work


Sarawak-Yes-LogoWHETHER you are starting a new job, have just received a promotion, or are simply trying to stay on top of your regular workload, there is one thing that commonly strikes people: Fear of failure.

Worrying about not being able to perform at the level expected by either your manager, or even to the level you have set yourself, is pretty natural. However, if you make mistakes along the way, or struggle to complete a particular task or project, you need to consider the best way to deal with it so that it becomes a learning experience.

While you may not be able to eliminate your fear of failure completely, it’s important to keep these things in mind to help you face those fears and, hopefully, overcome them.

1. Learn from your mistakes

Remember that nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. So even if you don’t present your best work for a particular project, don’t let it get you down, because you’re not alone. What’s important, however, is to learn from your mistakes. Embrace your mistakes as a way to improve and make it part of a stepping-stone to your success. Don’t let your mind become cluttered with negative thoughts. Instead, identify where things went wrong and then think about how you can ensure that next time you will know how to overcome that challenge.

2. Learn to say no

While you may have been hired to manage certain tasks, sometimes your workload can become overwhelming. Some people are inclined to automatically agree to every new piece of work their manager dumps on their desk. But is that the right thing to do? By saying yes every time, you are creating an expectation that no matter how heavy your workload, you are always willing to take on additional work. What that does is simply add to your stress levels, which can lead to your fears of failure resurfacing amid concerns you won’t be able to successfully complete certain tasks. Taking on an acceptable level of work, and saying no occasionally, can help you feel more confident in being able to finish projects to your high standards.

3. Think positively

When you are consumed by concerns about failing and letting down your colleagues, it can be difficult to turn those negative thoughts around. We often tend to convince ourselves that the outcome will be the worst. But will they really? So this is where you need to take a deep breath, pause and teach yourself to think positively. This may not be easy, but through concerted effort you can. Why not think about the possible outcomes, and then consider how likely it is that any of them will happen. Once you begin to think more rationally, you will hopefully see that the outlook is not necessarily that bleak.

3. Ask for help

One thing many people are often bad at is asking others for help. Some consider such a request to be a sign of failure or think that people will look at them and think they are not competent or capable. What’s important to remember is that no one knows everything and no one can do everything. The other thing about asking for help is that it makes the person you asked feel valued because their input can help resolve an issue or problem. So it’s a win-win for both parties.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.