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Management Training - Overcoming the Fear of Failure

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Posted 14 December 2010 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help with your Assertiveness skills training.

Management Training: Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Managers, trainers and leaders must understand the fear of failure:
There is one common factor that stops people from expressing their full potential.

It is this: The fear of failure

Many people say to themselves:
"If I were to set a goal, and fail to achieve it, I will have failed.
I don't think I can handle that kind of disappointment. In order to avoid failure, I will not set any goals."

Sadly, in business, this decision is ultimate failure.

In business, as organisational success is defined as: "the achievement of a goal", then one must first SET a goal. i.e: Success without goals is impossible.

The route to failure is: to achieve NO goals:

The way to do that is: to set NO goals.

Why are people SO AFRAID to set goals?

Because they fear that they may not achieve them.
They fear failure.

It started at school, when you were told "the three false Laws".

The three false Laws are:

  1. If you did not get it right, then you got it wrong: You failed.
  2. You must do it on your own, with no help from your brainy friends.
  3. You must not copy others peoples work.

All three above Laws are bad advice

When in business, the opposite is true.

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager

Leadership Training - The Effective Leader Manager

As the team leader or manager, you know that, on the technical level, you are very good. In your role as an effective and inspirational leader-manager, you recognise that there may be some gaps. Now you are searching for a method to help you to improve your skills as a team-leader and manager - click here to find out more!

Let us examine each:

If you did not get it right, then you got it wrong: you have failed.

The idea that you are either right or wrong is itself wrong.
In school, when you are doing your homework, the answer is pre-formed in the back of the book.
If you calculate the answer given, then you are right. But if you don't, then you are wrong.

But in life, the solution is NOT pre-formed. The solution is not simple.
The solution must be created, not found.
The solution must be evolved.

In business and in life, you must take your best answer and implement that!
You will find that your best answer is partly right and partly not right.
(NOT RIGHT is not synonymous with "wrong").

Then, you take you first answer and refine it: And again. And again. Each refinement takes you closer to the desired answer, but you never reach the final "right answer" because:

  1. The situation keeps changing so the "right answer" is itself ever-changing: i.e. the goal posts keep moving and......
  2. Perfection is unattainable: I.e. improvement is always possible.

So think of your success as a progressive act of evolutionary change. A series of ever-more-accurate approximations of wisdom; without ever reaching fully fledged "enlightenment".

1. If you did not get it right, then you got it wrong: You failed.

Don't worry about "getting it wrong", just make sure you learn from any errors and then get back to work.

2. You must do it on your own, with no help from your brainy friends.

At school we are told constantly that we must do it on our own. Teacher says "You must do it on your own, with no help".

But in life, you rarely do anything of significance on your own.
Collaboration and the integration of ideas from a team, is usually the best way forward.

Even the apparent single handed effort of writing a book is in fact, often, a joint effort: with suggestions and alterations being suggested to the author by husbands, wives, friends and colleagues.

Rarely do you do BIG things single handed. Any successful product or service is the creation of more than one brain.
So don't psych yourself out and say: "I don't know how to do it!"

Instead: Get help. Gather the best team of experts that you can. Get more than one brain on the job. If you can put yourself, plus three additional good brains on the job, together you will certainly fix it.

3. You must not copy others

The idea that you must not / should not, copy others, is another false idea.
Human beings learn best by imitation.
Proof: Watch any child learning and you will observe them imitating.

We are social learners. So copying is a great way to begin learning.

First, copy what works and later, invent your own elaborations.
Copy what works and later, impose your own sense of style.
Copy what works and later, improve upon the existing design.

You can go a long way by imitating the successful actions of others.

After a while your "simulations" take on a life of their own and you begin to become a champion for real! Then, you can add on your own branding, your own unique personality.


The fear of failure stops many people. Don't let it stop you.

The fear of failure comes from three false laws. Namely:

  1. If you did not get it right, then you got it wrong.
  2. You must do it on your own.
  3. You must not copy others.

Instead accept the following as good advice:

  1. Your success is a progressive act of evolutionary change: Evolve the correct answer
  2. Get help from three of the best brains you know.
  3. Start by copying tried-and-tested-formulas: copy what you know already works.

Eliminate the fear of failure!

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