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How To Overcome Fear Of Failure
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How to Overcome Fear Of Failure

In our church anyone can be called upon to give a talk in a meeting. It doesn’t matter who or what you are, you will be asked to speak in front of several hundred people. The little kids are asked to speak in primary sessions.

Teenagers speak in front of the whole congregation from the time they are twelve. Two teenage speakers and two adult speakers give a talk every week except for the first Sunday when anyone can stand up and say what he or she thinks.

Many are uneasy speaking and don’t know how to get over the fear of public speaking. But public speaking is not the only area where fear takes over. We all need to learn how to overcome fear of failure.

We all have a response to danger.

Our fear tells us to run.

Courage or desperation tells us to fight.

We don’t need to know how to overcome fear of failure in such circumstances. If we see a rattlesnake and feel threatened we may take a number of different actions. We might want to show how brave and unafraid we are and do something really stupid by trying to grab it by the tail. We can freeze and let the critter go its way. We can find a big rock and crush its head. Fear leads to action or inaction.

When fear causes inaction under normal circumstances, we need to know how to overcome fear of failure. Public speaking is not a normal event in most of our lives. But no matter how many times you have to stand in front of an audience, you have fear. The exception is when you stand up and speak on a regular basis. But when it is no longer a regular event, the fear comes creeping in.

This fear is good. It makes you think about your speaking assignment and to prepare for it. Your fear is about failure. You want to give reliable information. You want to sound like an expert even though you are not. So that is how to overcome fear. Prepare.

Some suggestions for overcoming fear while speaking to a large group are to pick one kind face out in the audience and speak to him or her. Forget the rest of the crowd.

Another way is to not look at the audience, look over them or down at your notes printed talk.

I say to just take a deep breath, stand calm for a minute and smile at the audience. Then talk to them as if you were talking to your neighbor across the fence. As you speak, your fear should ebb away.

Most folks in our church just stand up and admit their fear. Sometimes that makes the congregation laugh and the talk then goes on with no problem. It is because we have that fear in common.

But fear of speaking is not so important as being afraid of failure in other activities.

I remember the first time I was fired on in Korea. We were receiving heavy fire from Chinese mortars. My platoon leader who was always afraid said, “It’s no fun is it Jones.” He had spent many months in the pacific in World War II and knew what he was talking about. But his words calmed me tremendously.

The next night after my radioman and I had climbed to the top of Hill 1243 we were under fire from Chinese mortars and saw many ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers die. We were relieving these men so they could leave the mountain the next day, but some of them would not be going home alive.

Then we were fired on by our on 105mm howitzers, not once but three times. This is called “friendly fire.” It was not the first time for our unit. They had been fired at by our air force. In both cases it was devastating because too many of our battalion were killed or wounded.

I decided there was one way how to overcome fear. It is prayer. And I got a message too. It was, “You may be killed or horribly wounded. It will not matter in the eternities. Do as you have been trained and do your duty.”

That worked for me. I never worried about being killed or wounded again.

Lots of people pray before public speaking.

So you might pray about what you would like to achieve, to overcome your fear of actions, that you will do your part to succeed.

Some folks are afraid to invest because they know someone who got swindled. For year my father would not buy what we called War Bonds because the government had defaulted on bonds after WW I. They were called Liberty Bonds.

Some folks will not get into an airplane. I remember after an automobile accident I didn’t want to get back into a car. Such fears can become phobias and hell or high water will not make a person to do something he or she has a fear off. Do you know how to overcome fear under such circumstances? You seek professional advice.

Knowledge is how to overcome fear. We are not afraid to go into business, we are afraid we don’t know how to go into business. We are not afraid to major in quantum mechanics. We are afraid that there are too many “smart guys” doing that and there was that “B” in calculus last year.

Excuses and worrying about unseen situations cause us to not take action. We don’t enter the talent competition because we think that Mary Smith has a better voice and she is in the contest. We don’t go to the Self Destructive Behavior class because there might be someone there who we know.

When you get right down to it, we need to find out what our true fears are. Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of lack of ability? Is it fear of lack of knowledge? Is it fear of lack of resources? Is it fear of what someone else might think?

My brother use to say to write your fears on a piece of paper, read the paper and say, “Is that all that is bothering me?’ Then you tear the paper up. Try it!

Sometimes we can overcome fear of doing something by breaking things down into obtainable short-term objectives.

You want to learn to paint landscapes. First you study the masters and other landscape artist. You think about what type of landscapes you want to paint. You make a special study of artist who paint like you want to paint. You take a class in drawing. You make lots of sketches on a drawing pad or in a sketch book. You take a class in painting and start painting. Then you find your own way of doing things.

Now that is not how I started in painting landscapes. I just put up a canvas and started to paint. It was not that I wanted to be a great artist, I wanted to see if my children had artistic talent and if they did, they could pursue it early. I just never stopped painting and now I’m taking the proper steps.

I decided to paint birds after having the fear that I could not do it. My friend was a well-known Utah bird artist and I wanted to try doing some birds. I took a three year drawing class a while back and I said to myself, “Why not give it a try? I had painted some animals and I had some confidence. Out came the birds and I’m going to do a lot more birds and animal. I can use smaller panels (such as my swan in the pic) or canvases and that means it will be easier to find a place to hang them.

Some years back my sister-in-law told me to paint a bunch of flowers she could choose from. I had never painted a flower but she gives orders, not suggestions. So I made a bunch of paintings, took them to Denver where she took the ones she wanted, and went back home with the rest and hung them on the wall.

Well, my granddaughter took one and her sister asked that I paint her some poppies and now another sister wants me to paint her some flowers.

One of my sons and my daughter have been taking my landscapes so I may find some space around here for more paintings. I’m doing a landscape for my grandson because he saw one I sent to his brother. What’s my point about this? Others can push you or help you to do something and that is another way how to overcome fear.

I’ve been into Internet marketing for a long time. I see people come into this field every day. I welcome them into our community of marketers. Some take hold. Others drop out. Some drop out and then come back. Some make large sums of money, some of us don’t. Why, because we see failure and don’t take the steps it takes to overcome our mistakes. We came in for a fast fortune and learned that it is not all that fast, that it is a business, and we must treat it as a business or not. If not, we drop out. We don’t know how to overcome fear of failure in business.

So, what am I afraid of?

I’m afraid of myself, and whom am I to be afraid of?

What did FDR say after the attack on Pearl Harbor? “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”

Fly Old Glory!


Street Talk

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