The fear of rejection and failure is the single greatest obstacle to success in adult life. Taken to its extreme, we become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake, with seeking approval for security above all other considerations.
The experience of the fear of failure is in the words of “I can’t”, I can’t.”
We feel it in the front of the body, starting at the solar plexus and moving up to the rapid beating of the heart, rapid breathing, and a tight throat.
Fear of rejection interferes with performance and inhibits expression. We learn this when our parents make their love conditional upon our behavior. If we do what pleases them, they give us love and approval. If we do something they don’t like, they withdraw their love and approval-which we interpret as rejection.
As adults, people raised with conditional love become preoccupied with the opinions of others.
Many men develop Type A behavior which is characterized by hostility, suspicion and an obsession with performance to some undetermined high standard. This is expressed in the attitude of “I have to, I have to,” and is associated with the feeling that “I have to work harder and accomplish more in order to please the boss,” who has become a surrogate parent.
More than 99% of adults experience both these fears of failure and rejection. They are caught in the trap of feeling, “I can’t, but “I have to,” “I have to,” but “I can’t.”
Learn to Love Yourself
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character, and self-esteem.
The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love, and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to affect our behavior and our decisions.
One of the most powerful techniques ever developed to overcoming fear, and relieving stress is called the “worry buster.”
Many people have come back to me and said that this simple method has changed their attitudes from negative to positive and enabled them to be more effective in their work and their personal lives than they had ever thought possible.
Here are the 4 steps of my formula:
1. Define the Problem in Writing
Step one is to define the problem or situation you are worrying about clearly in writing.
The best way to do this is to take a pad of paper and draw a line from top to bottom right down the middle.
On the left side of the pad of paper, write a clear description of your problem, the answer to the question, “What exactly am I worrying about?”
Fully 50% of all problems can be solved at this definition stage. In medicine, they say that “Accurate diagnosis is half the cure.” Many of our worries exist because we have not taken the time to sit down and really define clearly what it is that is bothering us.
2. Write Out the Worst Possible Outcome
Step two is to write out the worst possible outcome of the worry situation. On the right-hand side of the page, answer the question, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of this problem?”
You may lose your money, lose your relationship, lose your job, your investment, your health, or your prestige. Whatever it is, write it down.
Steps one and two will quickly start relieving the stress that causes worry.
What we have found is that it is resistance to facing the worst possible outcome that causes most of the anxiety and stress associated with worry. Once you have written down the worst possible thing that can happen, you will find that you will slowly stop worrying.
3. Accept the Worst Possible Outcome
Step three is to resolve to accept the worst possible outcome, should it occur. Just say to yourself, “Well, if it happens this way, I’ll learn to live with it.” Once you have resolved to accept the worst, should it occur, you no longer have anything to worry about. All the stress caused by denial, by refusing to face what the worst could be, suddenly disappears.
4. Begin Improving on the Worst
Step four is to begin immediately to improve upon the worst. Having resolved to accept the worst, should it occur, now think of everything that you could possibly do to make sure that the very worst does not occur. Once you stop worrying and have resolved to accept the worst, your mind will be calm and clear and capable of creative thought. By overcoming fear you are now in a position to do something constructive.
Remember, worry is merely a sustained form of fear caused by indecision. The only real antidote to worry is purposeful action. Get so busy doing something about your situation that you don’t have time to worry. As you take action, your confidence, courage, and sense of control will return and wipe away your fears.
Here are two things you can do to get rid of your worries:
First, make a list, down one side of a page, of all the situations causing you any stress or worry at the moment.
Second, on the other side of the page, write out the worst possible thing that could happen as a result. You’ll be amazed to see much of your worry disappear with this exercise.
Do you have any tips that help you overcome rejection or fear of failure? Leave them in the comments below. If you would like a free Ebook to keep you motivated, click the button to download “15 Questions to Ask Yourself to Stay Motivated”.