Daily Archives: October 18, 2011

Fear of failing: Turning negatives into positives


I’m really scared of flying.  Honestly.  People don’t believe me when I tell them as I fly so often for my job.  I’ve done 8 flights in the last month and I grit my teeth and ‘get on with it’. I used to think that getting on a plane was the bravest thing I did in my day to day life but I’ve realised that there are many other things that take a huge amount of courage too.

If we don’t have courage we fear so many things in our life. And that fear seeps into our personalities and makes us appear negative to the world.

“I can’t, I’m not, I won’t” are all statements of negativity that drag us down and make us fear things that we shouldn’t fear.  Voicing our fears makes us appear negative to those who listen to us.  And we appear negative to them when we talk.

We hate to receive criticism from our peers.  I know the old cliché that all feedback is a gift, even feedback well meant can hurt us deeply.

Its a wound that cuts for a long time too.  Its hard to remain positive when someone, however well meaning, tries to help us.

We take it to heart.  We mull things over, and we over analyse what we could have done differently. We torture ourselves and we try to rewrite the past.  We make ourselves miserable because we want to be perfect in the eyes of our peers.  But we can improve our experience by being a little more positive about the experiences that we fear.

What is the worst thing that can happen to you?  You’ll find that the reality is never as bad as you fear.  You have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Knowing this can turn your negativity into positivity.  Facing your fear – like my fear of flying can make you feel incredibly brave.

I try not to tell people that I’m scared.  I try not to pass the negativity I feel from failing – or my fear of failing -  on to others.  But sometimes my fears get the better of me.   I’m impressed with how my good friend Bruce Lynn embraces failure and is happy to talk about it.  I’ve always admired his really positive outlook on life and the courage in which he faces his fears and talks about his failure.  Perhaps the 2 are linked.

I try follow the mantra from the pick the brain blog: ‘”This too shall pass” and by getting on flight after flight I’ve started to convince myself that my fear of flying is diminishing.  I really believe that, so I’m able to face each flight with a lot more positivity.

And strangely enough, it’s made me much happier about all of my other fears.  I’m turning my negative experiences into positive ones and my fear is going. 

Perhaps my profile tagline ‘Blonde and Brave’ has turned out to be a self fulfilling prophecy after all…

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.