Three simple steps to overcoming fear of failure

There's nothing more dispiriting than thinking there's a chance you won't succeed.

Whether it's a business pitch or trying a new fitness routine, the fear of failure can swoop in and crush our hopes and dreams like an overripe avocado. 

But history has proved you should never give in to this. Marilyn Monroe was dropped by 20th Century-Fox for being unattractive one year into her contract. J K Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before being accepted. Even Henry Ford’s first two auto-mobile companies failed. 

Therapist Chloe Brotheridge says the key to overcoming the fear of failure lies in the ability to redefine it. "If we can take away the incorrect meaning that we give to failure (I am a loser) and instead re-frame it as valuable feedback that we can use to get better, we turn a failure into a win," she says.

Here are her three ultimate steps to keep in mind the next time you're about to think of the worst possible outcome.

Step 1: See it as an experiment. If you don’t try something, you have already failed. You may as well try and get a shot at success. Even if it doesn’t work out the first time, you have a starting point on which to improve on. See it all as an interesting experiment.

Step 2: You don’t need to be perfect. Aim to just make progress a little at a time and keep moving forward. If you fail, it doesn’t make you any less capable. You may just need to refine what you’re doing. Be kind to yourself.

Step 3: Remember it's a working process. Re-frame failure as ‘Great, I have something to work with here’. Life is a constant process of refinement and making little adjustments as you go. It might be a bit painful, but it will feel better once you get there. There is an amazing sense of achievement at trying something you are a little scared to do.

Therapist Chloe Brotheridge helps women to become calmer, happier and more confident. Find out more at

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