How to overcome fear of failure

This is a great mindset tip on how to power through negative feelings around failure.

Some of the hardest days I’ve had were when I was dealing with failure or fear of failure. I imagine you’ve felt the same way.

If so, this simple mental shift could make a real difference for you.

In the comments, today’s question is:

How do you define failure?



[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin.

I want to share another idea with you that really helps me, and specifically helps me with fear and failure and fear of failure, and all that related nastiness. And I’m thinking of it because I just used it again this last week.

I just got back from La Jolla CA. I was there for three days of work with Bo Eason. Bo is a former NFL safety turned broadway actor and playwright. That’s interesting. He’s a fascinating guy. And he had an event there where we spent three days working on our personal story and performance. So I was working on my speaking. And going into this event, leading up to it, I was pretty nervous. I really was.

First I was afraid it was going to be emotionally intense. Digging up personal things. Sharing with total strangers. Right? And that is just about the last thing I ever want to do. Also, I was afraid I might not get anything out of it, so I’d feel like an idiot for that. The time, the money, away from my family, all that. So, I was nervous. But you know, I decided to go in the first place because I thought it would be perfect for me, so I really DID want to get something out of it.

So in the days leading up to it, and even that morning before we started, I really had to do some work to set myself up to get the most out of it. And here is the thought that helped with that: Everything Is A Test. Everything Is A Test. And I think I originally heard this from Eben Pagan, but this has really helped me.

Usually, when we’re working on something new, a project, a new business, learning something new like I was, a diet, whatever – any failure that happens with that, we take personally. So it’s not just that the IDEA or the project failed, WE’RE a failure, right? at least that’s what we tell ourselves. And it’s brutal. It’s a horrible feeling. And it can really knock us down and make us quit.

But everything is a test says, you expect things to not work out right away. That’s how it works, right. And it’s always how it works. You try something, you learn what works and what doesn’t. You adjust, you try again, and on it goes. And sooner or later, you get there.

So any setbacks or problems along the way they’re not failures, they’re just a natural part of the process.

So that’s the idea. Everything is a Test. Whatever it is you’re working on, or thinking about working on, just get started, and be open to what happens. Some things will work, some things won’t. You adjust and keep going. Everything is a Test.

I can tell you, that has pulled me out of some pretty dark days in my life. And it helped me have an amazing weekend with Bo. If you ever get a chance to see or work with Bo Eason, you should do it. You will love it.

But anyway, keep that one around. Everything is a Test. Whenever things go wrong, or you’re AFRAID of things going wrong, I think it’ll really help you.

All right. That’s it. Enjoy. Talk to you next time.


  • Jonathan

    October 16, 2014

    REALLY good, simple thought – EVERYTHING is a TEST. START – then learn from what happens.

    Powerful. Thanks David!
    – Jonathan

  • David Levin

    October 16, 2014

    It is powerful, Jonathan, you’re right. Has been super helpful to me. Thanks for the comment!

  • Virginia

    October 16, 2014

    Thank you. Sometimes we make it more complicated than what it truly is. This is a simple concept that I can pass on to the young ladies that I and another mentor at our church. Have a wonderful day.

  • David Levin

    October 16, 2014

    We really do overcomplicate things, don’t we? And no one more than me. Probably why I’ve found it so helpful. :-) Thanks!

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