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FearBusters: Fear of Failure

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See Previous parts: FearBusters: Conquering our Fears, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Part 7: Fear of Failure

I want to start off this article by asking you a very important question:

What would you do differently in your life if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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If your answer to that question is many things, then you are definitely suffering from a fear of failure. Like every other fear that has been mentioned in this series of articles, this fear is also a self-created one. It is a fear that has no basis in reality and should be fought against tooth and nail.

The real failure in life in my opinion is to not get the most out of it. To never truly become the best version of yourself and live out your life’s greater purpose is failure on the grandest scale. To prevent that from happening, we have to take risks and live with courage. Taking risks and being courageous are two qualities that destroy the fear of failure.

Let me not get ahead of myself. Let’s first take a look at the concept of ‘failure’ more closely. Think about the times that you’ve failed in your life. I’m going to ask you a strange question but just sit tight because I’ll explain what I mean. Now that you have recalled the times that you’ve failed I want you to ask yourself this question which requires a certain level of depth of thought; were your ‘failures’ real or perceived? Meaning, did you truly ‘fail’ in all sense of the word or is it just seen as a ‘failure’ based on your own or societies perception of a ‘failure’. Let me give you an example to help you understand this point.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I am like many of you reading this column, divorced. However, when I look back at my marriage I don’t view it as others or even society views it. I don’t see it as a ‘failed’ marriage. It wasn’t a failure at all in my opinion even though it didn’t last forever. There were times of great joy and great sadness and it was the experience itself that has taught me a great number of invaluable lessons about myself and life in general that I would have never learned had I not gone through that experience. So was it a ‘failure’? I don’t think it was at all.

Now let’s go back to your ‘failures’. After sharing my own example, do you now understand what I mean when I ask the question of whether or not your ‘failures’ were real or perceived? Now that’s not to say that there is no such thing as ‘failing’ but it is very much up to the thought process and discretion of the individual that is placing the judgment.

Now let’s go back to the original topic itself, which is the fear of failure. This fear really holds people back from certain career changes that they want to make; it holds them back from starting the company or business that they wanted to launch; it keeps them back from committing to a marriage out of fear that it won’t work out (this is especially true for divorcees); it keeps from taking risks in general which as previously stated are incredibly important in seeking to live out your best life and becoming your best self. So how do we get over this fear of failure and learn to take risks and live with courage?

Principle to Overcome this Fear: Understanding and accepting failure as a critical element for success

Walt Disney once famously said that, “Success is going from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.” What an absolutely fantastic understanding of what true success really is. As I have stated in previous articles, as a personal and professional coach I interact with highly successful people on a daily basis, and I can tell you wholeheartedly that each and every one of them have failed one more than one occasion. That is actually one of the keys to their success; the fact that they know how to fail and get right back up and keep going. No failure is permanent and with every failure comes a great lesson and another step towards success for those who are reflective and learn from their failures.

There’s no sense in fearing something that will for a surety happen to you. We will all fail from time to time, but the truly successful people are the ones that aren’t afraid to fall and get back up faster than they fell.

Up NextPart 8: Fear of Death

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Adnan Jalali is a former School Teacher and Principal/Head Master turned Leadership Trainer, Executive Coach and International Keynote Speaker. Adnan is the founder of The Jalali Group (jalaligroup.com), a Consulting firm focused on Leadership & Personal Development. The mission of the Jalali Group is to develop inspirational leaders across the globe. Adnan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Texas State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston. He holds a Teacher’s and School Director’s License in Texas and is a certified Leadership Trainer, Coach and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team. He is currently working on a project to develop inspirational leaders in Colombia, South America.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Alhamdulilai

    June 17, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    A well written article that is very insightful

  2. Muslima

    June 22, 2015 at 2:31 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,
    The way I overcame my fear of failure is discovering Islam. When I became a Muslim, my greatest fear was losing Islam. It still is to this moment alhamdulillah. I didn’t want to lose it. I wanted to always worship Allah alone. And so I knew that if I show gratitude to Allah for guiding me to Islam by doing good deeds, He will bless me and increase me in guidance. So naturally fear of failure shrunk tinier than an ant because I just wanted to do good deeds for Allah’s sake. No wonder the companions of the Prophet did not fear failure. They threw themselves into new experiences without fearing failure because they feared losing Islam. For all Muslims, if you are struggling with appreciating Islam, take steps towards Allah, and He will help you appreciate it. He will, because He says in the Quran, “Those who strive/struggle for us, we swear we will guide them to our paths. And surely Allah is with those who do good.” [29:69]. Try your best, struggle, keep fighting your desires/urges, and insha Allah, Allah will open doors you never imagined. He will help you appreciate His deen if that is what you sincerely want. And then, insha Allah, the fear of failure will disappear.
    Jazakum Allah khair

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