Fear of failure affects us all. Some more than others. I'd be willing to bet that fear of failure has ended more careers than injuries have. It definitely played a part in the demise of my career.
Here’s a visual I really like from The Mental ABC’s of Pitching:
If I were to lay a one foot wide plank of wood on the ground in your living room and I asked you to walk across it, you’d walk across it with no problem. But, if I took that same plank of wood and stretched it across the Grand Canyon, you'd likely struggle. The fear of a misstep would affect your ability to cross. You would walk the plank as slow as possible, timid, and tensed. You’d have a much better chance of falling off, as a result.
This is an extreme example. Sure. But the same thing happens to most of us when we are on the mound or in the batter’s box. Fear of what might happen if we were to fail sinks in, and we don't perform like we should.
When we are afraid to fail we are much more likely to.
I was an over-thinker, a stresser, and a perfectionist. What a perfect combination for an overwhelming fear of failure. I didn't start to focus on the mental side of the game until late into my career. By the time I learned how to overcome the fear of failure, I was already at the tail end of my career and the damage was done.
The good news is YOU don’t have to struggle with FEAR OF FAILURE
There are mental tactics to battle these negative thoughts. Here are three to think about and try out.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
What’s the absolute worst thing that will happen if you strike out? Give up a homerun? Make an error?
Think about it. What are you really afraid of? All pitchers give up runs. All fielders make errors. All hitters strike out. What's there to be scared of?
The next time your in a bind-play out the tape in your mind. What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you were to fail? Is it really that bad?
I bet not. You won't get cut from the team. You won't lose your girlfriend. They won't take away your scholarship. What your mosty afraid of will probably never happen, and even if it does…they’re not really THAT BAD.
You don’t have to wait until your next game to start putting this to use. Sit down and seriously think about the times you encounter fear. Acknowledge it now. Process it. Realize it's not going to happen. Move forward.
FUTURE EVENTS APPEARING REAL
If you’ll notice above, that’s an acronym for F.E.A.R.
The only place fear can live is in the future-in future events. Fear is never in the past or present. Fear always relates to things that simply HAVE NOT HAPPENED.
That's where these expressions come in:
Be present. Stay in the moment.
If we are staying present in the moment and only focused on executing the task at hand, it’s very difficult to be worried about future what-ifs.
For example, if your a pitcher and find yourself with runners in scoring position don't think about what might happen if you give up a hit. That's in the future. You haven't given up a hit! So stop spending mental energy on what if.
Instead, stay in the moment:
Get the ball from the catcher…decide on your next pitch…visualize yourself executing the pitch…take a deep breath…find your center…deliver the pitch.
There’s not much time to worry about what might happen if you're dialed in to the current situation. See?
YOU SIGNED UP FOR IT. ACCEPT IT.
This is a little bit of tough love, but you did sign up for this. You chose to play a sport where Hall of Fame hitters fail seven out of ten times. Hall of Fame pitchers give up multiple runs a game. You picked a tough sport to play my friend. You will fail, and you will fail often. So get over it.
The good news is, every other human being on the face of the planet who has ever played this game has also failed. It's not just you.
What do you do to combat fear of failure? Drop us a comment below and tell us.
If you liked this post…