Four Myths that Cause Us to Fear Failure

file0002062790027.jpg“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J. K. Rowling


By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

It’s part of life, part of business, part of any challenging endeavor that we undertake. We’ve all experienced it, we’ve all survived it, yet we all fear it: failure. Why does the mere thought of it undermine the self-esteem of even the most confident among us? We fear failure because we believe the lies we tell ourselves. Here are four myths that cause us all to fear failing:

We will be less than

We often fear that if we fail we will be seen as less than perfect. Well, here’s the cold hard truth, none of us are perfect and we never will be. Just because we aren’t perfect, doesn’t make us any less valuable, less capable, or less worthy.

We won’t make any progress

We often think that if we are failing, we aren’t making any progress. The fact is, quite the opposite is true. There is more to learn from failure than there is from any amount of success. As long as we are learning, we are making progress.

It will define us

We often fear that failing makes us a failure. We are not defined by our failures; it’s what we do with them that really matters. Failure is an event; it does not speak to who you are, what your values are, or what you are capable of accomplishing.

We won’t recover

We’ve failed before and we‘ll fail again. We recovered last time, we’ll recover this time, and I’m willing to bet that we’ll recover next time. Not to say that recovery isn’t a long hard road, but the lessons are in the journey. And the truth is, the more we fail, the better equipped we become to deal with and recover from our next failure.

Start Failing

The truth is you’re going to fail. You will fail, the person next to you will fail, and the person above you will fail. Failing is an inevitable part of life. But, it is in failing that we find the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to gain confidence. It doesn’t make you less than. It will not hinder your progress. It does not define you. And, despite how you may feel at the time, you will recover. It’s time to stop believing the myths and start failing.

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Author: lizstincelli

I am Liz Stincelli and I am passionate about recognizing, inspiring, and igniting the leader in each of us. I am the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where I specialize in helping management teams learn new ways of looking at problems and finding new approaches to discovering solutions. I hold a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. I offer 20+ years of pro-active operations management, problem-solving, team-building, human resources, accounting, and business administration experience in a variety of industries. I serve on the Editorial Review Board for the Independent Journal of Management and Production and the Journal of Managerial Psychology. I have also been a guest lecturer at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business Westminster College. You can learn more about me by reading my blog here at: or Connect with me on Twitter @infinitestin, on Google+, and on LinkedIn. You can contact me by email at

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