Fear of failure…and how to avoid it


One of the most common fears when starting something new is almost always the fear of failure.  Whether it is a new exercise or diet routine, a new job, a new relationship – the biggest fear many of us face is the fear of failing in one way or another.   One of the most common fears of failure we see in the gym is when our clients let us know what their goals are for the future – they climb that mountain and are so close but unable to conquer that weight loss or health goal, then they see it as a huge failure.

But here is whats funny about that.   When I ask these amazing clients if they consider what they have accomplished over time as a failure, they say “well, of course not.  I feel so much better than when I started.”  You see, one of our main goals here at the gym is to make sure our clients can answer yes to the following very specific question:

“Did you get 1% better today?”

If our clients say yes to this, and I have yet to have a client say no to this question, then  could you just imagine for a moment what it would look like if you were able to get 1% better, everyday for an entire year?!  That would equate to being 365% better, wouldn’t it?  But what about accounting for the “compounding effect” on actually what occurs when you constantly get 1% better every day.  This could potentially equate to getting thousands of times better over the time of 1 year!  This could mean you could lose 50 or more pounds of that unwanted body fat, you could fully rehabilitate that nagging injury or surgery, all because you committed to small process-based goals over a longer period of time that yields amazing results.

Look at Epic Fitness member, Jake Vallieres for example.  He lost over 100 pounds in just under one year, and when he saw his final body composition and scale weight come in at 301 pounds – where he was previously at 400 pounds, he became disappointed because he didn’t get under 300 pounds like he had promised himself he would.  Can you see the issue with this?  The number on the scale is far less important than the actual physical and emotional changes that Jake went through over this one year period.  The physical transformation was nothing short of amazing and he proved to us what a strong will really was, and he never gave up on his goals.  Do we tell Jake, “sorry man, looks like you failed on your goal of dropping below 300 pounds, maybe next time.”  Heck no!  We remind him of the journey that he has taken and show him how far he has come.  Now his habits have been forever changed and he realizes how important fitness is in his life and what a positive role it plays.  That kind of stuff is priceless and we can never chalk this up to failure.


Jake 2- Before and After

What you need to realize is that you may fail once or twice or even more at something, but that is the only thing that will motivate you to get right back up and try again and succeed.

Name me one person that never failed once in their life at something. I bet you can’t. Now, name me 10 people that you have heard of that have failed at something in life, picked themselves up by the bootstraps and tried again – maybe took a different approach, found someone already doing what they wanted to accomplish and modeled them – and was successful! 

Some of the most successful people in the history of the world failed MULTIPLE times.  When you look at these examples, I don’t think we can even use the word “failed” since it really was more like each individual was taking on a different approach and most of the time were way ahead of their time.  Take Thomas Edison for example. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” What they didn’t realize was that he developed hearing problems and deafness at an early age. After that, things stayed bleak for a while, as Edison went onto be fired from his first two jobs, for not being suitably productive. Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents and invented some world-changing devices, like the phonograph, practical electrical lamp, and a movie camera. He failed 10,000 times at inventing the lightbulb, and he didn’t quit until he succeeded.

Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.” Look at her now.

Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. He went on to create the first summer blockbuster with “Jaws” in 1975, has won three Academy Awards, 4 Emmys, 7 Daytime Emmys, and his 27 movies have grossed more than $9 billion.

And last but definitely not least, While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years. But the 5,127th prototype worked, and the Dyson brand became the best-selling bagless vacuum brand in the United States. He is now worth an estimated $4.9 billion.

These are all mainly examples of very well known people that early on had many failures that ended up successful because their will and drive was so strong they knew there was no other option than to succeed.  Think of this next time you feel you can’t accomplish a certain goal – your mind is a powerful tool and the more positive you are, the more likely you will succeed!

When you think you can’t achieve something, please remember this:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

– Paulo Coelho