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fear of failure
Overcome Fear of Failure
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Alex would like to establish his own business, but he's afraid he won't succeed. Marcia would like to return to school, but she's afraid she might fail. 

Abraham Lincoln failed in business, and was defeated for Congress, the Senate and Vice President. Thomas Edison had 10,000 trials before inventing the light bulb. Did you learn to walk or ride a bike without falling?

What's your attitude toward career mistakes? Do you persist after making a mistake? Learn from setbacks? Or, do you hesitate to pursue challenging projects because you're afraid of failing? Is your attitude toward your career, one of mastery or helplessness? 

What does this quiz say about you?

Answer "yes" or "no."  I . . .

1. Downplay previous successes.
2. Believe errors are part of the learning process.
3. Choose the easiest path to avoid failing.
4. Focus on my strengths and successes rather than my failures.
5. Worry about what others think.
6. Believe success is the result of hard work and persistence.
7. Give up when I've made a mistake.
8. Work harder when I've made a mistake.
 9. Am influenced by what others think.
10. Do what I think I should.
11. Believe people who work hard aren't smart.
12. Seek knowledge and challenges.
13. Believe the only thing that matters is the final product.
14. Evaluate my mistakes to identify better ways of doing things.

Scoring: One point for each "yes" to even numbered questions, and "no" to odd numbered ones. 

10 or higher: You accept mistakes as part of growth. You seek knowledge and challenges and feel good about accomplishing a difficult task well. You're mastery oriented; focus on learning and effort. You evaluate your performance, then do better next time. 

6 to 9: You may view failure as part of the learning process; or worry about what others think. Modify your perception of success and failure. Focus on strengths and accomplishments. Read suggestions below.

5 or lower: You fear making mistakes. When you fail, you think you're incapable and give up. You worry how others judge you. You downplay your strengths and hold little hope for success. 

Negative reactions to failure start early. You can change your perceptions and motivation. Here's how:

Attaining Career Mastery

- Enhancer confidence. Acknowledge your accomplishments and personality strengths. Prepare a list of these and post it where you can read it daily. 

- Reward yourself. Each morning think of something positive to do for yourself. Every time you pull through a challenging experience, treat yourself. 

- State positive affirmations. Say, "I can accomplish this easily and effortlessly." "I'm confident, intelligent and caring." or whatever you want to be. When you catch yourself saying something negative, say, "Cancel," and replace it with a positive word or phrase.

- Put faith in your own ability to make good things happen. Let go of old ideas about who you should be. 

- Own successes. Review all your accomplishments in prior jobs, school, community and home endeavors. Remember the times you had most control. What worked best? These are the result of your efforts and abilities, not chance. How can you do more of these things every day? 

- Think for yourself. Don't echo others' opinions. Say what you mean and want. Just because others have opinions doesn't mean yours aren't valid. Make your own decisions. There are few wrong decisions, just different results.

- Persevere. Work hard. Weather the turbulence. Success comes from adversity. How can you improve your latest project? Conduct needed research. Set your own criteria for measuring your effectiveness.

- Maintain optimism. Develop a positive outlook. See the glass half full, rather than half empty. Reinforce the positive in yourself and others. 

- View failure as a temporary setback. Look for and expect good things. Develop a sense of humor; learn to laugh at yourself.

- Emphasize task mastery. Consider money or objects as by-products of achieving your goals, not ends in themselves. What can you do to develop a better product or service for your employer or yourself?

Remember, failure is part of success. Keep trying. Instead of worrying about failure, think about the opportunities you'll miss if you don't try!

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for career mastery. Why don't you get a copy today?