As a freelancer, failure is not something that I’m unfamiliar with. Small or large, I fail often. Failure is a concept that we’ve been conditioned to fear and steer clear of. I know many people, myself included, who don’t even attempt to do something for the fear of failing. This fear of failure can be crippling, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me. So many times I’ve chickened out of doing something because of the prospect of failure. Although I’m not completely over this fear yet, I am getting there, slowly but surely. Here are a few tricks I’ve learnt along the way to help you conquer your fear of failure.
Nothing Is Ever Perfect
As one of my clients preaches “If you wait for perfection, you’ll never do anything”. This couldn’t be more true. Everyone’s idea of perfect is different, but I don’t believe that perfection can ever truly be achieved. It’s human nature to always want something better than we have. You’re going to have to learn to settle for something that is pretty much perfect – as close as you can get. The sooner you learn to embrace the fact that nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect, the sooner you’ll learn to embrace failure and turn it into a positive learning experience.
You’re Only Human
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of what makes us human. Yes, we all strive for perfection but like I said, perfect is a very distant fantasy. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone fails and in fact, some of the most successful people have failed more than they have succeeded. It’s all about how you deal with your failures. Each experience shapes you as a person and makes you a more rounded individual. That’s what’s so amazing about being human and making mistakes. We make mistakes and fail sometimes because we’re emotional creatures. Logic doesn’t dictate everything we do, emotions have a huge part to play in our decision making process – more so than logic sometimes. When emotions get in the way of logic, this can lead to us making mistakes and failing. Not to say that having emotions is a bad thing – it’s absolutely not! But that’s what’s wonderful about being human! We make decisions based on our feelings.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Whenever you do fail, see it as an opportunity to learn from your mistake and improve yourself. If I do some work for a client that they don’t like, yes it sucks, but it’s an opportunity for me to learn and improve my services based on their feedback. I always tell my clients that I welcome their feedback and constructive criticism, which I do… But when it’s not the positive feedback that I’m expecting, it does hurt. But I’m learning to overlook that and see it as a learning opportunity. A chance for me to better myself and the content that I’m providing my clients with. How else do we learn? When children are growing up and learning, a lot of the time they learn through trial and error. By making mistakes and failing. When a toddler is learning to walk, they don’t fall over and simply give up. They give it another go. They try and try again until they succeed and before you know it, they’re running and jumping and nothing can hold them down.
You Can’t Please Everyone
I am guilty of being a huge people pleaser. I want to please everyone, even at the expense of myself. But one thing that being a freelancer has taught me is that you can’t please everyone because not everyone falls into your target market. Most of my failures come when I work with someone outside of my niche. I have this overwhelming desire to take on every client that comes my way, regardless of the topic they’re interested in getting content for. I take great pride in what I do and I’m pretty damn good at it… within my areas of expertise. If failing has taught me anything, it’s that I cannot please everyone. But I can do some really awesome work for people in may target market. Not everyone is going to get you. You’re not going to click with every client or customer. It’s a simple truth. I know it’s super hard, but stick to what you know. Stay within your niche and focus on perfecting your skills and service for your target market, not for everyone.
Why Am I Saying All Of This?
The answer, my friend, is simple. I have suffered with a crippling fear of failure for as long as I can remember. Now, I don’t know if everyone else has this fear. Maybe it’s just me and it stems back to my perfectionist nature. But I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one. If you’re reading this and you’ve taken a little bit of comfort from knowing that you’re not alone, or my advise has been helpful, then this post has served its purpose. Not only has this post been super therapeutic for me to write because I myself have very recently made a mistake and failed – But I wanted to hopefully impart a little wisdom to my fellow female entrepreneurs. Life happens, and with that comes ups and downs. Failure and success. It all comes down to how you cope with those failures and how you learn from them. It’s cliche, but when one door closes, another opens. I’ll probably look back in a few months or weeks and see this recent failure with clearer eyes and not feel as bad about it as I do right now. I hate letting people down and not living up to their expectations, but it happens. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and for whatever reason, I was meant to fail. As I’ve said, I will learn from this failure, improve myself, and move on to greater things. This is sounding super preachy, so I’m going to sign out. If you have any questions, please get in touch – I’m always happy to help!