Your Fear of Failure Is Holding You Back from Making More Money

Do you have a fear of failure? Umm…just gonna put it out there, you probably do. Unless you’re some alien with no feelings, you’re probably terrified of failing. Hey, I’m right there with you. I mean, that’s what we’re taught in school growing up — failure is bad and should be avoided at all costs. Nothing good is ever associated with failure.

I think my fear of failure is why I’m such a perfectionist if that makes any sense. I’m so focused on not failing that nothing ever seems to be perfect enough. My fear of failure has also stopped me from trying new things. New things that could potentially help my career and make me more money.

I did a pretty crazy thing 2 years ago by leaving everything I knew for a fresh start in Toronto. That was a huge risk I took, and I could have failed miserably. But for some reason I wasn’t afraid enough not to try. I think my desire to fulfill a dream trumped my fear of failure in that instance. Then again, it wasn’t all roses.

It was a tough first year as I’ve written about many times. And before my first visit back home to Vancouver, I was really worried that I would look like a failure. I didn’t get my dream job, I wasn’t making an amazing salary and I didn’t come back a huge success which I kind of thought I would. This was definitely an irrational fear (and yes, I had some unrealistic expectations too), but that’s just how powerful the fear of failure can be.

So why am I talking about failure in this post? Because I don’t want to be afraid of failure anymore. I know my potential, and for the past several years I’ve felt like I wasn’t really maximizing it.

When I read about those leaders out there who are starting their own businesses or inventing new technologies, they aren’t afraid of failure at all — in fact, they embrace it. They learn from it and become stronger because of it.

For instance, I set a financial goal for myself back in January to start another stream of passive income not related to this blog. Have I started this yet? No. Why? Because I was afraid of starting something new and failing at it.

I’ll actually be talking a bit about this in an upcoming podcast episode with Sarah Peterson from Unsettle, and honestly my conversation with her really helped me get motivated again to try out a new business venture. It’s not gonna be anything big. I’m just thinking of selling some stuff on Etsy.

But still, I think just trying something new is a big success in itself.

Hell, I was terrified to start a podcast, but I did it and I’m so glad for it. Listeners are really responding to it, it’s still up on iTunes’ New & Noteworthy section and I’ve been able to create a platform that let’s me talk to the most interesting people.

So, to end off on a positive note (and quote):

What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable? – John Green

I want to do something remarkable with my life. And if I don’t do something remarkable, I want to at least be able to say I tried.

Are you afraid of failure? Is it holding you back from starting a new business, creating a new stream of income or living the life you’ve always dreamed of?

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Showing 17 comments
  • Rob

    Some people fear failure all their lives while others over time gradually learn to manage, if not conquer it. No one hits a home run the first time at bat. Certainly not past baseball stars like Babe Ruth. He and others as famous as him had plenty of strikeouts, even when they were at the top of their game. Did you know, Jess, that when someone fails at something, it just means that they are that much closer to success. People don’t learn new things just by reading or studying about them but by the school of hard knocks, by experience and practice and, yes, failure until they finally get the hang of it all. Actually, ya know, it’s not so much failure that you have to watch out for, it’s worry. Worry over something that may or (often as not) may not happen in the future. It’s that little inner voice inside all of us, analyzing things too much, that we have to get control over.

    Years ago I read an excellent book on controlling worry by Dale Carnegie, titled “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. I highly recommend it and it can probably still be found in any bookstore (in the self-help section) or in any library. That said, however, I googled it and found a pdf version of it online. Here’s the link:

    An easy read and it just might help in controlling that fear of failing that we all have to some extent all our lives. You might not always hit home runs in life but at least it might help you make it to first base.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Thanks for the book recommendation Rob! From the title it sounds so up my alley!

  • Shanondoah

    Thanks for the Monday Motivation Jessica – it’ll really make a difference in my week 🙂

  • Ellie

    This post speaks to me! In every area in my life I let fear get me. Most especially financially. I know I’ve worked very hard for the dollars I’ve earned already. To deploy them is extremely scary. I’ve plans in pl.ace, but just won’t pull the trigger. I’m happier pretending I need to clean my apartment more than investing or earning more in another manner. I’ve ran the numbers and if I don’t change, I won’t reach my FIRE number or anywhere near it.

    (P.S.I like confessing on blogs!)

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Thanks for the comment Ellie! Hopefully this post will give you some inspiration to do something scares you, especially if it could benefit you financially down the road.

  • Heather

    This really hits home with me, and you’re right that most people fear failure. You know, this makes me think of how people always say that the most successful people have failed time and time again. It’s so true, but yet most of us are still afraid to even try because we don’t want to fail. It just goes to show how strong that fear really is. I’m only just now getting to a point where I want to actively try and overcome that fear because there are things that I’ve been wanting to do for years but haven’t started because I’m afraid of failing. It’s time to get past that though.

    Thanks for this post! It’s very inspiring 🙂

  • Anum

    Wow this is so motivating. I know I shouldn’t let the fear get to me, but it almost always does. This will get me through hump day tomorrow 🙂 Thank you

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Hope I can help! This post has definitely helped me this week (and it’s only Tuesday!).

  • Stephen

    Great Quote from an amazing author/youtuber. If you haven’t seen his youtube channel before, definitely check it out.

  • Reply

    Awesome. I am also afraid of failing (like you say, who is not)? So I think it is fantastic to acknowledge the fear and push right past it!

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Totally! I think it’s the first step of getting through it, acknowledging it. 🙂

  • Jackie

    Wow. I love this statement:
    I want to do something remarkable with my life. And if I don’t do something remarkable, I want to at least be able to say I tried.

    I think this is a fantastic way to view life.

    Thanks for the motivation, Jessica.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      You’re so welcome Jackie! 🙂

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  • monday link love - Twenty-Something in Toronto

    […] Mo’ Money, Mo’ Houses always has great posts (and now a great podcast), but I found this week’s post about being Fearless the right kind of motivation for my Monday. […]

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