It's easy to hedge against failure to avoid risking blaming yourself for failure, and it won't make you successful. Paying lip service to the noble concept of trial and error also isn't enough. You need to face your fear of screwing up and push beyond it to succeed.

Here are four steps you can take:

  1. Redefine failure to avoid stress and anxiety by framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it. And stop worrying about looking foolish.
  2. Set approach goals (not avoidance goals), i.e., ensure that you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome vs. avoid an adverse one. When you’re dreading something potentially unpleasant, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen rather than what you do want.
  3. Create a 'fear list,' i.e., a checklist of what you are afraid to do and what you fear will happen if you do it.
  4. Focus on learning. The chips aren’t always going to fall where you want them to, but if you understand that, you can get value out of the experience, no matter the outcome.

Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure, by Susan Peppercorn