Do you ever have the feeling that you’re so skilled at your job, you could do it in your sleep?
Of course, it’s great to feel so confident in your abilities. But when you never feel challenged, you’ll never feel uncomfortable. Now, if you stick to what you know just so you don’t ever feel uncomfortable, you’ll avoid opportunities to grow. And that can be detrimental to your career.
Discomfort and fear of failure
Discomfort connotates a negative experience. For example, physical discomfort can mean pain, and psychological discomfort can mean anxiety or sadness.
In the workplace, discomfort can be associated with a fear of failure, among other things. That’s only natural, since we’re taught to see failure as a negative experience—the consequence of not being good enough. Since we don’t want to feel as if we’re not good enough, we avoid situations in which we could fail.
Let’s say you’re a junior marketer on a team with three colleagues. Your performance is always stellar. One day, your supervisor needs to hand a project off and asks if someone wants to take the lead. You don’t volunteer, because you’re afraid you’ll fail. So, the project goes to one of your colleagues who does so well, they get promoted. And deep down, you know that if you’d only taken on the project, you could have been the one to get promoted.
Do you see how avoiding discomfort can get in your way?
Failure isn’t a bad thing
In reality, failure isn’t a bad thing. Failure merely means you haven’t succeeded—yet. But if you ventured out of your comfort zone, tried something new, and didn’t achieved your goal, you probably did accomplish more than you think. You learned a new skill, acquired new knowledge, or made new acquaintances along the way. You just have to open your eyes to the positive aspects of your experience.
Leverage dopamine to your advantage
Interestingly, Forbes states that putting yourself in unfamiliar situations makes your brain produce dopamine—the feel-good chemical. In other words, once you actually put yourself into a new situation or give yourself a new challenge, you’ll start to feel good. And if you can combine those good feelings with a positive attitude regarding what you can accomplish simply by trying something new—even if you don’t get it right the first time—you can turn fear of failure into motivation to succeed.
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