Napoleon Hill reveals in his book Think and Grow Rich that the only common factor successful people had during his era was persistence. Persistence simply means keep going after what you want until you achieve it. As long as you persist, there is a high chance you will be successful.
That is based on Hill’s research, but is it as simple as it sounds? We know there are many mental and physical barriers that get in the way of success. Not only do we need to deal with physical challenges (that appear in the real world), we also need to face our mental obstacles, namely fear.
The opposite of success is failure, and we fear it. Interestingly, we also fear success itself. There are aspects of both failure and success that make us either freeze or run away when we have to face it. It’s important to dissolve this fear to increase our chances of becoming successful in our venture.
Stacey Vornbrock, a Tapping practitioner focusing on sports performance, says there are at least four aspects that constitute fear of failure, and three aspects that make up fear of success. She provided a guide to tap on these aspects during the 2012 Tapping World Summit, seven years ago!
Even though it’s been many years, her ideas remain relevant today. Here are some notes I wrote down from her session to help us break through our fear of failure:
1. Past Mistakes. The mistakes we’ve made in the past can prevent us from taking action in the present time. Mistakes result in us feeling embarassed, ashamed, and in extreme cases, traumatized.
These negative emotions influence how we process information in the current moment, and need to be released through Tapping. In cases of trauma, you may need to work with an EFT professional.
In the video below, Rachel from Healing Your Stories gives a Tapping session on mistakes:
What I’ve learned is that thinking about past mistakes is a self-image issue. When we focus on our self-image, instead of the outcome we want, any mistake will be an injury for us. But when we focus on the goal, then a mistake will be information that we can use to make corrections, without feeling any shame or guilt.
2. Fear of Being Criticized. What other people say about us, even the thought of what they might say, can have a powerful affect on us and make us reluctant to make change. It’s because we are social creatures, and we use information from other people to guide our actions and even build our identity.
However, what other people say isn’t necessarily what they mean. Stacey says that their critique is a reflection of what’s going on in their internal world. In other words, when other people criticize us, they are criticizing themselves. We shouldn’t let that information affect us in a big way, because it may not even be about us at all.
3. Perfectionism. A while ago, I read a forum post by a person who was having difficulty getting things done because he felt he had to know every piece of information possible before taking action. Of course, that creates a huge problem: he will never take action because information can never be complete, it’s always updating and adding new information.
Wanting perfection can get in the way of our success because it makes us procrastinate and feel not good enough. Ironically, there is no such thing as perfection. If you think you can actually achieve perfection, you are overestimating yourself. High-achievers achieve greatness, but not perfection. They constantly learn how they can become better at their craft.
Perfectionism is also a self-image issue. The most important goal is to achieve the goal, regardless of how you do it, as long as you respect other people’s rights. Here is a video from Susan Browne about Tapping on perfectionism:
4. Focusing on What You Don’t Want. Our brain pays more attention to threats than opportunities. That’s why it’s easier for us to focus on what we don’t want instead of what we want. In other words, we focus on avoiding mistakes rather than achieving our goals.
Shooting for our goals will mostly involve making mistakes. These mistakes are important because they bring us closer to our goal. If we focus on avoiding them, we end up being stuck in one place, which is probably what is happening to you right now.
This habit of not wanting to make mistakes can relate to past mistakes we’ve made. But to become successful, we ought to focus on setting and achieving goals. Mistakes can be managed as long as you respect other people’s rights. When we focus on achieving goals, we automatically manage the mistakes we make along the way.
Those are the four aspects of fear of failure explained by Stacey Vornbrock. Which aspect do you suffer from the most, that’s affecting your success the most? Use Tapping to resolve them.