How to Overcome the Fear of Failure (Why I Refuse to Let it Win)

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

With the launch of OT Surf Apparel coming up in February, I have been thinking a lot about the risks of taking big chances in life. The fear of failure has been creeping its way into my psyche at all hours of the day… but usually right about the time when I should be sleeping.

I’m sure you know the voice I’m talking about.

It’s the one that says, “You have no idea what you are doing.”

“You should quit now or you will lose everything.”

“What were you thinking?!?”

I’m not a quitter, but there have been too many days to count where I have fantasized about quitting. This business project has tested my patience, my confidence, my intelligence and most of all, my sanity.

This venture is probably the biggest financial risk I have ever taken, besides buying my second home at the peak of the market. I guess this doesn’t really compare considering I lost an $80,000 down payment on that “investment”. In comparison to that failure, this venture looks like child’s play.

These are precisely the things I remind myself of when I get scared of failing.

If you are struggling with the fear of failure, the following is a quote you may want to plaster all over your walls, on your computer screen or on your significant other’s forehead.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.”

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

“Without taking risk, you can’t exploit any opportunities. You can live a quiet and reasonably happy life, but you are unlikely to create something new, and you are unlikely to make your mark on the world.”

Other than reading inspiring quotes like the ones above, here are a few tips for overcoming the fear of failure.


Failure Has Its Benefits

Successful people actually call their failures “stepping stones.” Even if this isn’t your big break, you are still moving forward. You are learning invaluable skills and getting attention as someone who makes things happen.

Even if a failure costs you financially, the educational benefits can far outweigh the loss. Just think of it like a college degree, but with actual life experience.


Consider The Alternatives

The biggest debilitating factor when trying something new is the fear of the unknown. When you take a chance, multiple outcomes and uncertainty about the future can be scary. When this fear takes over, remind yourself that 99% of the things we worry about never even happen.

It may helpful then to write down all the possible outcomes you can think of. Take the power out of fear by understanding it. Research the risks and rewards of each possible outcome so you can have a more logical understanding of what you are getting yourself into.


Just Enjoy The Ride

Try taking failure and success out of the equation. Just enjoy the process and soak up as much information and experience as possible. Life is a journey, right? Practice the Zen habit of living in the moment and if you can do that, the fear will melt away.


Take Action

The most successful people are often the ones who just try the most things. In order to speed up your rate of success, you need to attempt new things. Some of those ideas may not be winners, but you will never know if they work until you try!

Do you have any tips to add for overcoming the fear of failure or overcoming the fear of travel? Feel free to share them in the comments.



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  1. Alyssalau66 says:

    I usually focus on the final outcome I wish to see…..then what ever happen in between will be just work in progress…..when we look further, there is actually no failure……just experiences….

  2. This is such an inspiring article! I totally agree that fear can only teach you more valuable lessons in life!
    Paige @ Green Global Travel

  3. Nomadic Samuel says:

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying in this post.  I’ve come close to quitting myself to be quite honest.  I’ve never taken on something that is so time consuming, yet offers no guarantees whatsoever.  I suppose that is what makes it so fascinating at the same time.  Hope you’ll continue with your projects!

  4. Candice Walsh says:

    Sweet post to read as I’m in the middle of launching my own new venture. Thanks for the encouraging words! Looking forward to reading more about Surf Apparel. 

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      We are glad to help! It was really good for me to write this post. It gave me some comfort as well. 🙂 We look forward to hearing about your new venture!

  5. Failing isn’t all bad. Our failures and mishaps can enrich our lives, I think, (at least in hindsight) if we choose to learn from them. So what if we fail? Just get up and give it another go.

  6. Failing isn’t all bad. Our failures and mishaps can enrich our lives, I think, (at least in hindsight) if we choose to learn from them. So what if we fail? Just get up and give it another go.