People have an innate sense of fear when embarking on a journey with an unknown outcome. This emotional element is what makes change so frightening, and at times we feel helpless to control the fear.

Fear of failure is fuelled by self-limiting beliefs, and often our limiting ideas about ourselves come from others during our youth. We grow up with parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and colleagues defining us with statements like,

“John is the smart one. Becky’s the athlete. Tina is our responsible one. Or Timmy can’t do math.”

These statements may seem lighthearted, but they carry weight in the formative years and can be disruptive on our journey towards self-fulfillment.

The words you absorb on a daily basis, whether from others or from your own inner voice, define you and become your reality, identity, and truth. This is why, when striving toward personal excellence, you must surround yourself with the people, places, and things that support you in achieving your goals.

Creating a plan that is going to transport you from where you are now to where you are going will require making sacrifices and mind shifts to see the value of your goals from a new perspective.

Repeat after me: “Change is good and sacrifice is necessary for sustainable success.”

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that people cannot sustain change unless a sacrifice is made. Sacrifice involves letting go of something you once found desirable for the sake of having something now considered to be of higher value.

Along the way fear can set in and push back in subtle thoughts of skepticism or be bold self-sabotaging behaviours that justify your old habits, resulting in catastrophic effects on your mental and physical well-being. To successfully move past your fears and distractions, define the rewards to reaching your goal, and be sure they appeal to your physical, rational, and self-fulfillment needs.

Changing your mind and lifestyle may feel like you are forsaking an old friend who has stood by you for a long time. Losing an old friend can hurt, so be sure to set in place proper mentors, coaches, programs, and effective support systems to create the environment that will keep you focused and make it easier to let go of the things that are holding you back.

Our fear of failure can falsely convince us that we are fine right where we are. In this case, your fear is a liar. Success requires failure; embrace fear and let every failure provide the mandatory feedback to achieve optimal success.

When you truly believe that failure is not an option, anything is possible.

Original Article Published in Sweat Equity Magazine  Summer issue 2014