Some people, including some coaches and some self improvement ‘gurus’, may tell you that there is no such thing as failure. Yet, when you look around, you will see that failure, the fear of failure or the desire to avoid failure seem to be all around us and affecting the lives of almost everyone in one way or another.

How many of us, as adults, can honestly raise our hand and say that we have never experienced failure? How many sportsmen, athletes or team players can say that they have always been successful in every event they have participated? How many fans, spectators or television viewers can say that their team or sportman has always won? How many salesmen or businessmen can say that they have always gotten the best deal they could? How many of us can say that we have always achieved the best we could?

Almost every teacher can tell you of pupils who rarely seem to do their best or rarely try to do anything new, because they are afraid of failing. So they stick with what they already know. As an adult, has there never been a time when you have turned down an opportunity to do something, such as, say, a parachute jump, a flight in an aeroplane, a fairground ride, meeting someone important, speaking in public, simply because you were worried about failing or appearing foolish?

If we look at our lives and the lives of those around us, we would see that failure is very much a part of life and can have a big effect on how we live our life and what decisions we make. Failure, the fear of failing or the expectation of failing, can hold us back in life and stop us doing some of the things we would really like to do or maybe even need to do.

It is how we interpret failure that really affects us, rather than failure itself. It is the fear of failing that may hold us back rather than any actual failure. It is the expectation of failure or the possibility of failing that makes us reluctant to try something new.

The future is full of possibilities. It is our fear that we might fail that limits our choice of possibilities. Our failings are always in the past either in the distant past or in the immediate past and we often believe that because we have experienced past failure that we will continue to experience failure in the future.

Failure, though, is really determined by how we experience or interpret outcomes. Changing the way we interpret those outcomes can help us overcome our fear of failing in the future. By overcoming our fear of failure, we start to open up all the possibilities for the future. This is the positive outcome which could be achieved by coaching.

This could be done by focussing on what we perceive as ‘failure’ and re-examining or re-interpreting the outcomes. Rather than simply brushing it under the carpet or ignoring it, any ‘failure’ should be directly examined. By ignoring any ‘failure’, we will not prevent it from having an effect upon us. Instead we need to examine it and re-interpret it so that it is no longer seen as a failure and no longer seen as something that holds us back.

Author's Bio: 

Doug Woods is a qualified life coach, teacher and trainer. You can find out more about his work on his website