I love working with mission-focussed individuals. They have a certain quality about them that translates into intentionality. They are determined, passionate, single minded and committed to making a difference. But, the one thing that holds them back is a small four-letter word . . . FEAR.
It’s especially so for mission-focused women. Not because they have any less passion or determination, in fact they tend to be more committed which exacerbates the fear, but because they so want to succeed and there is so much at stake they can become fearful of failing.
Women are highly collaborative, which is why we need more on the boards of commerce, and they hate letting people down. A debate in the EU, reported on at the top of the year by Parliament Magazine, seemed to point to women being more concerned than their male counterparts for the viability of their ideas, wanting to be more certain of success before launching. So, the thought of not succeeding is like another glass barrier that holds them back.
This isn’t a mandate for women to be more ‘ballsy’, but a call for women to be more confident in their own skin. That’s not to say that there isn’t inherent bias and barriers that women need to scale more readily than men. But, with a deeper personal grounding women, and men for that matter, may find that they have more innate resources than they think they do. That confidence is something that they already have, but may have lost sight of it against the backdrop of unequal scrutiny.
Regardless of gender, fear of failure can be a very real barrier to success, because learning to handle failure is an important part of the journey.
If you are struggling with the fear of failure, here are some ideas to help you.
1. Come from within. Knowing that your security is coming from within you rather than the success of your project is a fundamental realisation. Your value is intrinsic, it’s who you are. Realising that there is nothing wrong with you and that you have innate wellbeing, can help you become more comfortable with your self.
2. Come from love. No-one sets out to fail. Loving the person (you) who does their best and sometimes doesn’t get the results they are hoping for, makes moving forward that much easier. Use any unexpected results to inform your work.
3. Focus on the moment. Predicting the future can be sketchy. Allowing your thoughts to leap forward projects an incomplete story. Learn to acknowledge your experience in the moment and just take the next step. This doesn’t mean don’t plan, but it does mean that you are open to something new showing up and informing the next step.
4. Get some help. Having someone with you on the journey who can ask powerful questions and help you see what you are missing, can be very valuable. I know for my clients, fearlessly asking them the questions they might not otherwise get asked because of their seniority, makes them stronger and have a more expansive viewpoint.
If you are just getting your mission to the launch pad and feel that creeping anxiety begin to grasp at you, give me a call and I’ll help you see that there is information in the feeling that can guide you to the next step.
Big love. Matt