Is This The Real Reason You Procrastinate So Much?!
Have you ever thought about all the things you really wanted to do or try but never did? Maybe you were too busy, maybe you procrastinated just a little too much, or maybe you're still just thinking it over. It's important to recognise when these reasons become excuses to hide our low self belief. Sometimes, we give ourselves an easy way out of a situation because deep down, we're scared of failing.
The danger with fear of failure is that not only does it make us feel regret and guilt (for missing opportunities, events, trying new things etc) as a knock on effect it also creates feelings of shame - which makes us feel bad about who we really are! This isn't a good headspace for us to be in if we're trying to build confidence and self esteem.
Most human beings are conditioned to fear failure, that's why so many of us stay cosy in our comfort zones, doing the stuff we know around the people we know, in the place we already know. It's a safe place, but nothing grows there. It's just stays the same (and some people are perfectly happy with that!). But if like us, you have that deep inner passion to do something you love, the comfort zone just isn't cutting it anymore and that’s where a fear of failure can be crippling. Whether you want to make new friends, change career paths, start training at the gym, start a podcast, learn a new language, start eating well - it doesn't matter how uplifting, positive or life changing your idea is, your negative self beliefs can make you BELIEVE that it's no use trying because you're destined to fail. This thought is then disguised as an excuse. You're not good enough, strong enough, clever enough, funny enough to even try *insert goal here*, so let’s find something totally unrelated and not important to fill our time with instead!
DO THE INNER WORK:
Grab a piece of paper or your fav notebook and think about how this affects you. By writing things down, we clear our minds of mental clutter and we’re also able to work through our negative thought patterns to identify what’s really holding us back!
- What would one thing would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
- What is your first thought when you think about why you are not doing that one thing already?
- Think of one SMALL step you could take towards this thing. It could be a step towards it or a less-fearful thing that you feel a bit more confident about striving towards. For example - always wanted to start a YouTube channel but too nervous and self conscious? Start a blog instead. Write your very first blogpost. Whatever it might be, put it in your diary and get it done within the next two weeks.
- What things do you currently do to procrastinate when you know you need to get something important done?
- Write down one of these things that you can commit to giving up for one week. For example, if you always head over to the TV when you know you should be studying or working on your side hustle, commit to one TV-free week and see how this affects your work flow. It might be that you just replace this distraction with other, so be mindful and aware of this!
- Write down five of your personal OR professional strengths. If you can’t think of any, ask a friend or family member. How could you use each of these strengths to do that thing you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
The truth is that no matter how hard you work or how much confidence you have, you can ALWAYS feel fear that it won't be good enough. That you'll fail. The key is to powerfully push past these feelings. As you consistently act in powerful ways, your confidence grows. You take more risks. You will still fail sometimes - maybe more times than you’ll ever feel comfortable with! But you will also learn and GROW.
When you do fail or something doesn’t go how you originally visualised or hoped it would, instead of thinking to yourself ‘I shouldn’t have bothered trying’ replace this negative self talk with something like ‘Even though it didn’t work out this time, I learnt about “x” and I can use this in future. Also, I’m proud of myself for pushing past my comfort zone and actually giving it a try.’
Always remember that failure isn’t the end of everything or the crushing of your dreams, it’s just a stepping stone in the long process of reaching your goals. It’s part of your self development journey. By cultivating a sense of achievement every time you fail (remember, you can’t even fail if you don’t TRY!) and taking the lessons you need to move forwards, you can actually WIN at being a failure. It’s a thing. Trust us!