Dealing With Fear of Failure


I received an email this morning from a young man who seems to be dealing with the common issue of ‘fear of failure‘.

fear of failure

I am going to impart my 2 cents at the end, but to be honest, I would like to open this up so that you, the lovely, sexy readers.


Where was I?

Ah yes, it would be great if you could provide any advice for Graeme on this matter. Here is his email verbatim:

Hey Dean, how’s the new car hunt getting on?

Came across your website which left me a little inspired.

At 24 years old, i’ve been talking about starting my own business for …. god …. six years now.

I read up on entrepreneurs, their case studies, their books (i’m a firm believer in what you said in your blog regarding spending money that I would normally be spending on drink etc on books and improving my knowledge instead. My most recent is a book on sales techniques). I even made it to Business Gateway with one idea (i’ve had quite a few to date as you can imagine), but I’ve never just sucked it up and went for it.

The problem isn’t my ideas …. it’s my fear of failure and knowing where to start.
I see myself as one day making it big in business. Possibly my fear comes from trying it, it not working out, then realising i’m doomed to continue my 9 to 5 routine every week until I retire at 70+.

I have what i feel is a really good internet idea at the moment and I have a very good domain name I bought a few years ago for a 3 figure sum that really suits the market i’m looking to tackle. I wont bore you with the specifics as i’m not looking to leech free marketing advice from you, I simply need to feel inspired. No-one I know is really into business and anyone I share my ideas with try to shoot me down in flames just because I want to do something they’re not brave enough to do themselves. Every time I get inspired by something I watch or read it just gets ruined because I can’t sustain the buzz.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If you’re too busy to reply or can’t help – good luck with the car hunt, i’ll be looking to see how you get on with it in the near future mate.

Cheers from your fellow car nut,


PS: you are a very sexy, kind, and well endowed human being.

Legal disclaimer: I may have invented that PS myself, there is a strong likelyhood that Graeme said no such thing, and I am partaking in what is locally known as childish tomfoolery.

Here is my 2c for you Graeme:

I have known many people in your position, I even know people with a fear of success, but that is a whole different ball game.

There are 2 solutions:

1) Suck it up and JUST DO IT!

2) Dip your toe in the water and then enter further as you feel more comfortable.

It is a common myth that this is an either/or decision, when in fact, you can get the best of both worlds.

Why not carry on in your 9-5 to get you security and perhaps some funds, and then take one hour each evening, instead of watching crappy TV, and work on your idea?

Yes, you are going to make mistakes, some big, some small, don’t worry, mistakes are a GOOD thing. Mistakes = experience.

Start off with a weekly budget of say $100

Use a figure that you can afford to lose, otherwise, you won’t take any risks.

Try and treat it as a game, your $100 are 100 tokens, your one hour per day is a fixed limit.

Launch your site, then email people who you think may be interested in it, look for them to give you some promotion, then take their feedback and tweak further.

Guest blog about what you learned, and as a result, get even more traffic.

Then, after 6 months, assess your progress.

There is no point assessing things after 1 week, or even 1 month, it will kill your motivation.

A comedian once told me that he never assesses his routine until he has performed it a minimum of 100 times.

If at the end of 6 months you are making say $500 per month profit, simply reduce your working hours to 20 instead of 40. Or raise your monthly tokens to $600.

You will now have the confidence to do 2 or even 3 hours per day.

Rinse and repeat.

Then, eventually, you will be at a position where you can earn pretty much the same amount by leaving your job and going on your own fulltime.

All of a sudden your choice is a no-brainer. The risk has been removed, and bam! There goes your fear of failure.

As a final tip: Don’t tell anyone about your site, not even friends or family. I discovered a quote recently that I now live by:

Don’t let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you’re crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you’re lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you’re greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn’t understand.

If you are not in a position where you can associate with like-minded people, simply avoid giving your friends the ammo. And the more successful you get, the more you should keep it a secret.

I know from experience mate. They won’t like it when you start to become successful, and it will threaten their lifestyle choices.

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I hope this advice helps you overcome your fear of failure, and my one final piece of advice is to signup for a $1 (70p) trial of via the banner below.

You get 21 days to download the info, test the site etc… and I will include a copy of the Web Traffic Orgasm marketing manual ($97) for everyone that signs-up via the banner below.

$1 is all you need, it is a no-brainer.

See you there,


buzz marketing

  • Lee Ann Price

    Great advice Dean, but there’s a good chance that is just more of the same old, same old for Graeme.

    As I’ve experienced fear of failure, and still struggle with it, there’s a deep inner reason that has to be brought to the surface and revealed to be the faker it really is before Graeme can really move forward.

    Here’s the deal, when I’m afraid of failing, I’m not really afraid of failing, I’m scared *(&*less about the feelings that will come with failure. I don’t want to experience those bad feelings. I don’t want to feel bad when I hear the “I told you so’s or hear people talking about my failure when they think I’m not listening.”

    So, what do I do? Just enough to trick myself into thinking I’m moving forward, when in reality I’m not playing at all as big as I could.

    So, in order to move forward bigger I have to invite those negative thoughts to come out and play so I can shoot them down. I have to ask myself what’s the worst that could happen? And when I get the answers, I have to honestly deal with each one. So what if people talk about me? So what if I lose my house and wind up on the street? I have to take it to the most extreme and deal with how that won’t break me.

    Once that is done and I realize that my fears are illusions – it makes it much easier to move forward.

    I don’t think it’s outer strategy that can help Graeme, but if he can win at the inner game – then life is his playground and the possibilities will be endless.

    Game on!

    Lee Ann

    Current score: 0
  • Sean McPheat

    Graeme, buddy

    Take a leaf out of Michael Jordan’s approach:

    “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”

    I think when we are all old and looking back over our lives we don’t think of what we’ve done, we thing about the things we didn’t do and then it’s
    too late.

    Momentum is the key. Just do something – any friggin thing! – and then adjust and adapt as you go on.

    7 years ago I started out as a one man band consultant. Today, I’ve got over 6 different ventures and 30 staff! It’s weird where it takes you man and you never quite know.

    Activity is the key. So just grab your balls and go for it buddy!

    I wish you the best of British!


    PS So unendowed that my knickname is “The Fig”…after fig rolls! te he!

    Current score: 0
  • Dean Hunt

    Lee Ann,

    Great advice.

    If I may make a few points…

    Firstly, and again, this worked for me, so I can’t guarantee that it will work for everyone… what I did is ONLY do something that was fun and exciting for me.

    I really did see it initially as a hobby, and thus it removed any fear of failure, as I was just experimenting and having some fun.

    I also did it on a shoe-string budget, so there were no major consequences to my failure. If you remove the consequences, such as money, friends, family… then there is nothing to fear.

    Secondly, having a rock solid outer game strategy is the key to a solid inner strength.

    That is why even the most confident speakers rehearse and practice their presentations over and over again. Solid outer = solid inner.

    Finally, I would say that the “if I fail it will suck because xxxxxxxxxxxx” thoughts are to be expected, especially when starting out… however, if the end goal is positive enough, it will out weigh any negative ones.

    For example, if I asked you to drink a foul tasting drink, you wouldnt. But if I offered you $1 million, the negative outcome would vanish in a second.

    My guess is that “wanting to not be in a 9-5 job until he is 70″ is not a strong enough motivator to cancel out the fears.

    Graeme, how about the fact that if you are successful, you can support your family, you won’t have to take shit from a bone-headed boss ever again, you can drive the car of your dreams, doors will open, chicks will throw themselves at you… you can help charity, travel the world, live a fantasy lifestyle, get up when you want, party like a rock star… etc…

    Now, compare that outcome to a friend potentially mocking you.

    Is it worth giving it all up for something that is frankly, a figment of your imagination?

    I have no doubt that there may be some deeper self-esteem issues at play here as well, but remember, you can remain 100% anonymous with this.

    Heck, why do you think I have killer bunnies on my site?

    One of the reasons is that it takes the spotlight away from me.

    Worst case scenario, if you follow my advice, is that you lose a few hundred quid, waste a few hours a week, and perhaps bruise your ego for a few days.

    So what?!?

    Current score: 0
  • Dean Hunt

    Oh, and Graeme, for your info, Sean (the guy who commented above), is one of the UK’s leading Sales based entrepreneurs, and someone I respect very highly.

    You would be loco in your brain sack if you don’t listen VERY carefully to every single word he says.

    I used to play golf to a very high level as a teen, and there was a saying that was used to give us the confidence to not be afraid of rattling the ball past the hole when putting:

    “Never Up, Never In”

    If you dont give it a go, you will 100% fail.

    What is more embarrassing?

    a) Giving it a go trying hard, making some progress, learning loads, but then failing


    b) Wimping out from day one and doing nothing about it?

    Chin up, chest out and report back one week from now with a progress report.

    We are gonna be on your back, so no excuses.

    And get signed up at will show you how to become famous and make a ton of cash on a shoestring budget.

    Current score: 0
  • Dean Hunt

    One other quick point…

    Most entrepreneurs fail on their first attempt. I dont know the percentages, but I know that approx 80% of new businesses in the UK fail in the first 12 months.

    So chances are, you are going to fail.

    But then you will have knowledge, contacts, info and resources that you dont have now.

    So you try again…

    Even the so called “overnight successes” are often actually years and years of failure, but they persevere.

    Current score: 0
  • Tim Brownson

    Personally, I’m prepared to believe that was a legitimate PS as it rings entirely true to me, but I digress.

    I deal with people that have FOF a lot and strangely enough probably as many people that have a fear of success. Both can be equally crippling if not dealt sternly with and given a damn good thrashing.

    I’d be here all day trying to explain all the techniques available so I’ll offer the most simple one, some advice, and then get the hell outta here.

    It sounds to me like your succeeding with your fear of failure. That it’s doing exactly what you think it will do. It is an unmitigated success. So in actual fact you are brilliant and a huge success.

    I wish I hadn’t started off so flippantly now because this sounds silly, but it isn’t, trust me. Think about it because you may need to now re-think.

    My advice would be get yourself an experienced life coach that is a Master Practitioner at NLP. I’m not touting for business cuz I’d recommend you only see one face-to-face as some of the better techniques reply visual feedback for the coach.

    FOF can be overcome as long as you want to overcome it. Now get to it.

    Current score: 0
  • Graeme

    Thanks guys. Got a few things to answer here it seems.

    Dean -

    The business i’m looking at doesn’t need mega cash to start up. I’m confident that while working, I can fund it in the beginning without distressing the bank balance.

    I deliberately don’t have an aerial in my bedroom for my TV so I can focus on using my laptop and learning.

    The pros of trying as you say, far outweigh the cons. I would like all those things you suggested and to be honest – if I fail, the cons aren’t even that big anyway.

    The funny thing is – self esteem is not a problem regarding anything else for me in life. Meeting new people, trying something new. Even flirting with the opposite sex for example – i’m always very confident. I’ve always enjoyed new challenges with plenty confidence – maybe because i’ve been confident in acheaving those goals. Why should I let things hinder me now? Do I not think I can be successful with this and that’s why the confidence doesn’t pass over to business?

    Even if my business fails (the percentages as you say are stacked against me), it can still be a good thing. I’ll have done it and wont be afraid to give it another bash with something else whilst learning all the time.

    Thanks for all the advice – i’ll be checking out BuzzProfits shortly. Having you on my back might just be what I need.

    PS – Love the Rayman Rabbits – they’re awesome!

    Lee Ann -

    Thanks, your right – when I think about it, my fears aren’t things that exist yet. They’re things that could happen but things that actually, when it comes down to it, i’d be saying “so what” should the said fears materialise.

    Sean -

    Did Michael Jordan say it also? That’s been one of my favourite quotes of all time. I’m under the impression it was Wayne Gretzky who said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. It is the perfect incapsulation of what i’m dealing with here. I think it’s about time I started to heed this advice.
    As my email to Dean said – I’ve been wanting to do this for 6 years now. What if i’m lying at the end of my working life at 70 saying ‘I wanted to try that 50 years ago’. That’s something I shouldn’t let happen.

    I think I should mix your advice with Deans – start the ball rolling with doing anything….anything that’s going to bring the business forward a step and try to keep my momentum up each day for the hour a day suggested.
    I think i’ll finally grow the set of balls I need to do this, then start them rolling.

    Tim -

    I’ve actually done some home NLP before and it’s all very interesting.
    As I mentioned above, i’m a confident person in all other aspects of my life, so I should have this rethink you suggest and start applying that confidence to my business aspirations. Who knows where it could take me!

    Thanks to everyone who contributed so far. I feel more confident already!

    Current score: 0
  • Dean Hunt

    Thanks for the update.

    Tell ya what… get your ass down to BuzzProfits and we will set you weekly goals.

    Nothing like group pressure to encourage you.

    For what it is worth… I would have killed for advice from people like Sean and Tim when I was starting out. You have a huge advantage, use it now while you have the chance.


    PS: Got some news ref the Ferarri. Speak soon

    Current score: 0
  • Sean McPheat


    Depending on what side of the Atlantic you live on I’d get yourself on over to the link below and purchase the poster:

    You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

    And go and pin that up facing your office desk

    I’ve got about 10 of them in my office!

    Here’s the link for the US:

    Here’s the link for ordering from the UK:

    And this is the view from my office table!

    So whenever you are hesitant, just take a look at your poster and it get’s you to make that call, send that email or start to plan on your next big thing.

    Go for it!


    Current score: 0
  • Steve Errey – The Confidence Guy

    Late to the party on this one (my hair took longer than I thought), but here’s my two-penneth.

    Fear of failure (and success), as Tim says, is all too common.

    It’s a crying shame – just imagine all the great ideas the world would see if people had the courage to go for it.

    Anyway, everyone else has written some great advice (although I’m not sure about not telling people and keeping it a secret), so here a couple of quick ideas for you-

    1. What would you do if the universe was testing you. What if this was one big test, designed just to see how you react and what you’re made of? I find this question helps to shift people into a different mindset, one of performing at your best rather than at your worst. Think about it.

    2. Talking of being at your best – what’s that like. When you’re absolutely on top of your game, firing on all cylinders, feeling the buzz when things are just flowing – what does that feel like?

    Think of a couple of times you’ve experienced that and swim around in the feeling. I bet that the question of whether you’re confident enough to do something never even occurs to you when you’re at your best, right? That’s what confidence is – being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour (that’s trust in the behaviour, not the outcome).

    You’re fearing what’s coming up because you haven’t demonstrated those behaviours yet, and that makes it difficult to trust. Just recognise what you’re like when you’re at your best – when you’re trusting yourself – and know that you can deal with whatever happens from what you do.

    Now go and do something.

    Current score: 0
  • Terry Reeves

    Hey Graeme, some free advice for you.

    If your business is an online business and your domain name has some age to it ( meaning it is not a new domain )and is closely themed to your site/product/service, you could see some “instant” traffic to the site with very little SEO work once the site has some content and links pointing to it.

    Go for it.

    Current score: 0