(c) by Mary Griggs

Many times, our fears are fed by our sense of inadequacy. We think we can’t do something, so we decide not to even attempt it. We are so afraid of failure (in public or in private) that we give up and let the fear win.

Well, guess what? No one succeeds all the time at everything.

Thomas Edison was a firm believer in the importance of failure. Failure was what led him to success. Once, when he was working on developing a better battery, a discouraged assistant came up to him and said, “You must be pretty downhearted with the lack of progress.” Edison replied, “Downhearted? We’ve made a lot of progress. At least we know 50,000 things that won’t work!”

If Edison had let the 50,000 failures get him down, we might not have the nickel-iron alkaline battery that is still in use today.

There are lots of things in our everyday life we have to fail at before we will ever perfect them. Failure isn’t a personal flaw. It’s just a fact of life. It’s how we find out what works—and what doesn’t.

Don’t let your fears stop you. Instead, use fear to your advantage.

4 Simple Steps

1. Feel It.
In our attempts to “overcome” fear, we tend to sometimes ignore it or suppress it. That doesn’t always work. Our fears have a specific purpose, and the only way to uncover a fear’s purpose is to start by feeling the fear.

2. Express It.
Talk to someone about your fear. This can be a friend, a colleague, or just someone you trust. You can also talk yourself through it.

3. Appreciate It.
Perhaps we’re not well prepared, and that’s why we’re fearful. Perhaps we’ve prepared as much as possible, and the fear is telling us that we need to build our confidence. Believe in yourself — you have gotten through difficult and challenging situations before.

4. Use It.
Fear can make our bodies shake and our hearts pound — use the adrenaline rush to boost your passion and determination. Take action! Soon, you’ll love the sensations of fear, because it will propel you to do the things you once thought impossible.