Poet Erin Hansen wrote these words, which have been used to create countless inspirational visuals on the Internet: What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

Those 12 words have spoken to people around the world for a reason. Those words touch on something we all deal with: fear of failing.

In our society, fear of failure is a thing. It’s a big thing!

So few of us want to test and try new things, or change what we’re doing, because we’re afraid of failure.

Fear gets in the way of life and business

We’re afraid of people seeing that we are not perfect. We’re afraid of trying to learn something new. We’re afraid of going to new places and meeting new people. We’re afraid of people knowing that we are not a mirror image of all things perfect as seen on our friend’s Facebook timelines, in advertising campaigns, on television and so on.

It’s time to stop that way of thinking!

Fear of failure has probably prevented you from doing things you’ve dreamed of. Fear impacts your relationships. Fear gets in the way of growing your business.

Fear is a downer, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

You need to fail to grow

Leadership experts recommend failing, and learning from your mistakes, as a way of growing as a person and as a business professional. They suggest that if you’re not facing fears, testing, trying, and even failing, you’re missing opportunities.

With that in mind, think about decisions you are making that are based on fear. What are you missing out on or not achieving because you’re afraid?

Can you take what feels like a giant leap to work around it? Can you teach yourself something new, push yourself beyond your comfort zone or partner with a mentor, coach or consultant who can help you work through a project or achieve a goal?

It’s going to take a mind shift, but think of it this way: That fear of calling potential customers because you are afraid they would say “no” takes away their right to say “yes.”

Your fear of launching a new service because you are worried that it might fail may be preventing your business from growing; that fear may block others from receiving a service they need.

Your fear of creating a new product robs you of the opportunity to learn from your own mistakes. Maybe the product won’t sell as well as you’d hoped, but you’ll learn valuable lessons that you can apply the next time.

Your fear of skydiving… Well, that may be a reasonable fear, in our opinion. Ha!

One thing to keep in mind as you’re busting through those fear-of-failure roadblocks is to give yourself space and grace. If you fail, you’re learning (hopefully!).

So, can you give yourself permission to try something you’ve been afraid of this week? Remember, if you make decisions based on fear of failure, you’ll never know whether you can fly.

A man and woman are conducting a job interview across a small outdoor table.

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