I recently had the opportunity to talk with Krissy Nelson on Your Hope-Filled Perspective about what holds us back. Lots of things hold us back, but fear is a big one, and more specifically, the fear of failure. Have you ever had to cope with the fear of failure? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Here is Krissy’s insight on coping with the fear of failure.
Be sure and read to the end for a book giveaway!
Coping with the Fear of Failure
by Krissy Nelson
But I Might Fail
I have pursued a variety of endeavors over the last twenty years, and every time I leap into something new, a pesky, often paralyzing question arises: But what if I fail? This question lingers as long as I allow it to.
While there is some validity in asking the question, being motivated by the fear of failure is contrary to the Word of God.
Over the years I feel I have established a healthy outlook on what I consider “success.” I don’t worry so much anymore about what the results look like. To me, success is found in my obedience to the call. If I do my best, keep trying, remain teachable and keep moving forward, positive results often follow. Even if the results aren’t what I may have hoped for, with the Lord there’s always a learning opportunity to be found.
But this wasn’t always the case. Before I left the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom, I worked long hours and was gripped by the fear of failure. I struggled to strike the right balance between my own view of success and failure with the importance of producing results and improving my company’s return on investment.
As a young business professional in the fitness industry, I worked hard to grow our business, bring on new customers, train the team and deliver results to our corporate headquarters. I found it challenging to feel good about my efforts and often wondered, Is my best enough?
As a young leader with a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, I struggled hugely on how to reconcile doing my best with my best maybe not being enough—and I was filled with fear. Alarm bells began sounding in my heart and mind, and my body was filled with distress.
My inner dialogue sounded a lot like this:
- What if my best isn’t good enough?
- What if people don’t like it?
- What if it isn’t profitable?
- So much is riding on this!
- What will happen to our business?
- What will happen to our team?
- What impact could this have on my family?
My heart is still racing as I reflect on this very stressful time in my life. Deep breath, Krissy. Inhale . . . exhale.
Let me tell you, flourishing from this frame of mind is nearly impossible. There is way too much pressure, way too much stress.
But how do we avoid this thinking when the reality is, we really do need to deliver something? Our word was given, a contract was signed, whatever the case may be. A deliverable is expected. It might be a project at work, a report that is due, a meeting you are preparing for, a project at home, something you are working on for your kids or family. It can be anything, really. The enemy uses the mindset I might fail to aid in constructing the wall of fear in our lives.
My dad, Dr. James Torkildson (the psychologist and amazing man of God I quoted in chapter 3), has said to me my entire life, “Krissy, your job isn’t to worry about the outcome. Your job is to simply do what’s right. Leave the outcome to the Lord.” We say goodbye to the fear of failure as we release the results of our efforts to Father God.
I had to face this mindset head on and be willing to “fail” if it meant I kept moving forward. Through this process I was able to see more clearly that “failure” truly is part of the process; and, as such, it is not really failure at all.
I have come to believe that true success or failure is not measured merely by the results of our first attempt at something (or even our second or third attempts). The attempt itself is a success even if the results may vary. Why do I say that? Because of the path I am walking on to get to Jesus. Sometimes I am sinking; sometimes I am walking on water. But every time I cry, “Jesus, help!” He is right there to pull me up, and I learn something new that I did not know before.
Friend, failure is not your identity. When people look at you, they do not see a blinking red sign on your forehead that reads Failure. Don’t allow the enemy to trick you into believing that, when you make mistakes, you are branded for life. Quite the contrary, your greatest success was in choosing to surrender your life to Jesus. Now His blood washes you clean. Your every failure—past, present and future—is forever covered under His blood.
As you continue along the journey with Him, remember, failure is not the destination; it is merely part of the process. Glean from it the valuable lessons you are to learn, and rejoice.
Believe What God Says about You
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”—2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Jesus Says: Your simple obedience is success.
Declare It: I will not fear failure; I will rejoice in the lessons learned along the way.
Apply It: Write down the areas in which you have feared failing. What outcome were you worried about? What results were you trying to avoid? Now grab your red pen and write next to each item, “Jesus is Lord of the outcome.”
Father, help me embrace this new outlook on what I consider failure to be. Help me see it as part of the process rather than a place I dread ending up. Failure is not my identity; it is simply part of the journey I am on, and I am ready to learn the lessons You want to teach me. Remove my fear of failure with joy for the journey. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
Adapted from Say Goodbye to What Holds You Back by Krissy Nelson, provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2022. Used by permission.
About Krissy Nelson
Krissy Nelson carries a passion to release life and hope into your heart so you can walk in all that you were created for. A popular author and TV show host, she regularly ministers at women’s conferences and outreaches. Her TV show, Created for the Impossible, airs on multiple television networks worldwide. Krissy is passionate about empowering, equipping, training, and activating women worldwide to find God’s purpose for their lives and to pursue it with passion, wisdom, and hope. She is based out of a quaint little town off the Mobile Bay in Southern Alabama with her husband, Donovan, and their two children.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Krissy is giving away a free copy of her book, Say Goodbye to What Holds You Back: Shatter the Walls Surrounding You and Believe What God Says About You.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about how to cope with the fear of failure and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, October 2, 2023. Continental United States only.