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How leaders conquer fear of failure

Updated: Mar 11, 2023


"Conquering fear of failure is important because it enables one to take risks, learn from mistakes, and ultimately achieve success in personal and professional endeavors." Remarks National Awarded Fashion designer Gaurav Mandal

Here are some tips to conquer the fear of failure:

  • Reframe failure: Instead of seeing failure as a negative outcome, reframe it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Look at failure as a necessary step on the path to success. When Thomas Edison was asked about his numerous failed attempts to create a working light bulb, Edison famously replied, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." In another example the greatest marketer of 21st century , Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded, Jobs reframed the experience as an opportunity to start over and pursue new ventures. This led him to found Pixar Animation Studios.In an another example the bestselling author, Rowling faced numerous rejections from publishers for her Harry Potter manuscript. However, she persisted and reframed these rejections as a sign that she needed to keep improving her writing.


  • Set realistic goals: Set goals that are challenging but achievable, and break them down into smaller, manageable steps. This will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.Mahatma Gandhi's goal of Indian independence from British rule was a long-term objective that he pursued over several decades.However, he set realistic short-term goals, such as organizing peaceful protests and civil disobedience campaigns, that were achievable and helped build momentum towards the larger goal. As the President of India, Dr. A P J Kalam set the ambitious goal of transforming India into a developed country by 2020. However, he recognized that this goal could not be achieved overnight and emphasized the importance of setting realistic targets and timelines for progress towards the larger objective. Similarly as the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani has set several ambitious goals for the company, such as becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2035. However, he has also emphasized the importance of setting achievable short-term goals and focusing on execution and implementation to achieve these goals.



  • Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, rather than harsh self-criticism. Remember that everyone fails at some point and that failure does not define your worth as a person. The spiritual leader and founder of the Isha Foundation Sadhguru ,often speaks about the importance of self-compassion and self-care as a foundational practice for inner well-being and personal growth.The founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, emphasizes the importance of self-compassion and self-care as a foundation for mental and emotional well-being.


  • Take action: Procrastination can often be a symptom of fear of failure. Taking action, even if it's just a small step, can help you build momentum and gain confidence.Noble Laurate Kailash Satyarthi founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) to combat child labor and trafficking. He started with a small team of volunteers rescuing children from factories and other hazardous work environments, and has since expanded his efforts to advocate for policy change and education programs that support children's rights. Manav Subodh is an environmental activist who founded the 'Let's Clean Ludhiana Foundation' in 2017. He started with a small group of volunteers cleaning a neglected park in Ludhiana and has since expanded to organizing regular clean-up drives across the city, with thousands of volunteers participating. Arunachalam Muruganantham is a social entrepreneur who invented a low-cost machine for producing sanitary napkins. He started by experimenting with different materials and methods in his backyard, and has since scaled up production to supply his machines to over 40 countries and improve access to menstrual hygiene for millions of women.


  • Embrace uncertainty: Recognize that there is always some level of uncertainty and risk involved in any endeavor. Accepting this uncertainty and being open to new possibilities can help you move past the fear of failure. Ratan Tata is a businessman and philanthropist who has led the Tata Group for several decades. He is known for his willingness to take risks and embrace uncertainty, as evidenced by the group's investments in new technologies and industries such as e-commerce and renewable energy.N. R. Narayana Murthy is the co-founder of Infosys, one of India's largest information technology companies. He has spoken publicly about the importance of embracing uncertainty and taking calculated risks in business, and has championed innovation and entrepreneurship as key drivers of economic growth. Sundar Pichai Google CEO, one of the world's largest technology companies. He has emphasized the importance of innovation and experimentation in driving the company's growth and success, and has spoken about the need to embrace uncertainty and take calculated risks in order to stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced technology industry.


  • Surround yourself with supportive people: Seek out friends, family members, or colleagues who are supportive and encouraging. Having a strong support system can help you feel more confident and resilient.

Remember that conquering the fear of failure is a process that takes time and effort. It's important to be patient with yourself and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.


About The author

Gaurav Mandal is a fashion educator and leader, dedicated to inspiring the next generation of design professionals. He is recipient of two national awards from the Indian Government for his contributions to the fashion industry. A NIFT Delhi Gold Medalist fashion designer , he completed his Fashion Marketing master’s degree from Nottingham Trent University, UK. He teaches millions of students through his YouTube Channel and works with several NGO’s for imparting creative education.


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