How to Use Your Fear of Failure to Fuel Your Success

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / August 19, 2013

Freedom… independence… money… and fame. Reasons why you’ve always dreamed about becoming a successful entrepreneur, right?

Then why do you feel like this dream is just a distant island over the horizon, which doesn’t get any closer, no matter how hard you’re struggling against the mighty waves of the ocean?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

You set out to create something new and valuable in this world, something that could impact others’ lives in a meaningful way. You wanted to become the next Richard Branson, the respected leader of a worldwide brand that everyone looks up to.

Yet you’re still struggling to make ends meet, constantly second guessing your actions and being afraid that you might lose at the end.

If you’re wondering if and when you’ll finally spot the light at the end of the tunnel, I have good news. Here’s why things aren’t going the way you expected, and what you need to do to fix them.

How Your Fear is Paralyzing Your Actions

The problem is letting your fear of failure and rejection stop you from taking action.

Relax. This is a common problem that everyone’s struggling with, including the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. There are many ways how it can manifest.

You know that in order to succeed you should invest those thousand dollars into your business. But that little voice in your head, the voice of fear, always reminds you that if you fail, you will have just thrown all that money out the window. So you decide to hold back.

You know that you should call that high-profile CEO to ask for his or her help, but the voice of fear reminds you that they might reject your offer. So you decide to hold back.

You also know that you should take that life changing trip with Under30Experiences to develop a newer and better perspective on life and business, not to mention building relationships with like-minded people. Yet, the voice of fear makes you wonder what happens if you don’t ever succeed and you just end up wasting so much money on a simple “trip”.

So you decide to hold back again… and again… and again.

Soon, you must accept that you either need to face your fears or you’ll never achieve the goals you set yourself.

But how could you possibly conquer and ignore your fears when they have so much power over all of us?

Realize that You’re Assigning Fear More Power Over You Than It Actually Has

Just look around you: everyone is afraid of failure and rejection. Some let it grow so deep within them that they find excuses everywhere and throw in the towel before even getting started. They never achieve their dreams or live up to their full potential.

Yet, what’s the basis of their fear, really? Heck, what’s the basis of any kind of fear, for that matter?

Well, if you saw Will Smith’s latest movie, After Earth, you know that fear doesn’t really exist, only in our thoughts. It’s merely an invisible force holding us back, made up by our own imagination. Here’s the exact quote from the movie:

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

You can criticize the movie all you want, although personally I liked it very much, but you must admit that its message is true: fear really is a choice you can make.

And the sad reality is, thousands upon thousands of people give up their dreams and sink into shallow mediocrity, all because of this made-up nemesis that doesn’t even exist.

Are you going to be one of them? Luckily, the choice is yours…

How to Turn Your Fear of Failure into Your Best Ally

The very first step is to realize that you’re not alone: fear of failure paralyzes everyone who’s attempting to do something new and unpredictable. Believe it or not, that’s good news.

Since fear paralyzes almost everyone, it means that it’s also going to minimalize your competition. Even if there are people whose entrepreneurial skills are a lot better than yours, if all they do is wait at the sidelines doing nothing, while you do take action despite your fears and concerns, your chances of success increase dramatically.

As Theodor Roosevelt said:

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

In other words, all you have to do to achieve even your wildest dream is to go for it, keep trying and never give up. Since fear will get rid of most of the competition for you, there’s no need to fret the details. The rest will fall into place, if you just show up.

The second step to conquering fear is to realize that whenever you’re afraid of failure, it means that you’re about to do something great that can improve your life and the lives of those around you in a positive way. Otherwise you wouldn’t be afraid of messing things up, right?

In fact, if you aren’t scared, maybe that’s when you should worry and ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing even that important to me?”

So if anything, remember that your fear of failure is a signal that you’re doing something right.

How to Face Your Fears Every Time and Ensure Your Success? Be the Doer of Deeds, NOT the Critic.

Another very common fear people have when starting out as an entrepreneur is being criticized by others for their failures. This can be another huge force blocking you from going for your dreams, so here’s another quote from Theodore Roosevelt that will help you reverse this type of fear in a heartbeat, too:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

And what’s the worst case scenario if you fail, anyway? You can always get back up on your feet and start again with another idea or approach. As Edison said, every failure merely brings you one step close to success.

Will YOU Use Your Fear of Failure to Fuel Your Success?

I hope you’re beginning to see how these simple mindset changes can help achieve your goals.

Instead of hiding from your fears, now you can use them to guide you in the right direction.

You can use them to push you through every obstacle you face.

And most importantly, you can let them inspire you to fight for your visions, leave the crowds behind, and rise above the mediocrity of the timid masses, who shall never know nor victory nor defeat.

Steven Fabian is a young entrepreneur from who’s helping both younger and more experienced online entrepreneurs turn their passions into viable businesses on the net. You can also reach out to him on twitter at

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About The Author

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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