6 Empowering Strategies to Conquer a Paralyzing Fear of Failure

by | BiggerPockets.com

According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, fear has a strong hold on the US population.

Things people fear that will never take place …………………………………….……..60%

Things people fear that happened in the past and can’t be changed…………30%

Things people fear in relation to health that will not happen……………….…..88%

Number of Americans who a have a diagnosed phobia……………………….……6.3 million

Percentage of US population who has a fear of public speaking…………..…..74%

I don’t know about you, but these statistics surprised me when I read them. I knew that fear was a powerful emotion in our society, but I did not think it was this powerful!

As we come to learn as adults, fear is a human emotion that is shared across the globe. It does not matter a person’s race, ethnicity, gender or even culture. Everyone experiences fear. While there are so many fears we can discuss today, I am going to focus on the fear real estate investors deal with constantly – fear of failure.

Whether you have done thousands of deals or have not even done your first deal, you probably at some point in your investing career have experienced this very powerful emotion. Unfortunately, most people allow fear to stop them from reaching their potential and going after their dreams and goals.

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” — Henry Ford

According to Webster, fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by anticipation or awareness.” A more empowering way to think of fear is something I heard many years ago – Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

Isn’t this true?

Most fear is really is false evidence that appears real. The key is to not avoid fear, but to face it, deal with it and move past it. If you do this on a consistent basis, you will conquer fear. Of course, this is easier said than done. How many times do we procrastinate, avoid and just plain ignore our dreams and goals due to the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure?

Well, I tend to believe that each and every one of us has amazing potential. Don’t allow fear of failure to ever stop you on your path. Here is a list of strategies to use immediately to move past the fear of failure any time it presents itself.

Related: Newbies: You NEED to Overcome Your Fear of Asking Questions (& Looking Dumb). Here’s Why.

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Strategy #1: Accept fear as your friend (not ally).

Remember the most successful people in our society are not immune to fear. They feel fear just like you and I do. They just don’t allow fear to control or stop them in the achievement of their goal. Acceptance that fear is creeping in early on in the process is the first step. No judgment and no beating yourself up.

Once you accept that fear is creeping in, begin to practice the idea that “fear is your friend.” Fear of anything is actually a protection mechanism. Fear has benefits, which include warning us, preparing us and protecting us. Just like you see the best in your friends, you need to do the same with fear. Use fear to help you instead of allowing it to stop you.


Strategy #2: Create daily habits that support you moving past fear.

I thought I would share two habits that I use that help me:

  • Meditate.
    • Life can get busy. I don’t have time to go into all the physical, spiritual and mental benefits of meditation. However, I can tell you the days that I meditate when I wake up, I feel more peaceful and confident moving through my day. When I don’t meditate, my day just does not go as well. (A great free app to use if you need one is CALM.)
  • Read and study about people who have achieved what you are looking to achieve.
    • Success leaves clues. As you read and study about individuals who have achieved the very things that you want to accomplish, this will also build your confidence and help you avoid the naysayers along the way.

Strategy #3: When you begin your work day, do the thing you fear – FIRST.

I read a great book by Brian Tracy called Eat that Frog. The book was actually geared towards sales people; however, it has a powerful message that applies to everyone. He suggests that you should do the “action” that you fear most at the start of your day. Don’t procrastinate and wait until the end of the day. This means doing the most uncomfortable actions first in the day. As a result, you will feel empowered and enthused to conquer the rest of your day.

Strategy #4: Find opportunities that help you face your fears.

By finding opportunities that allow you to face your fears, you will build your confidence and decrease the fear that may exist. I recall when I was 22 years old (and after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad), I wanted to own and run my own business one day. That seemed pretty scary to me at the time. The fear of failure began to set in.

However, I did not allow the fear of failure to stop me. I was not ready to start my own business, but I wanted to take some action that would move me towards my goal. One of the skills that Kiyosaki talks about in his book that is vital to owning your own business is selling skills. With this in mind, I ended up accepting a wonderful job where I learned to sell information products and training programs. By strengthening my selling skills muscle, I became more confident about owning a business. Whether it is paid or for free, get out there and get involved with opportunities NOW to help you move past your fear.

Strategy #5: When fear creeps in, ask yourself empowering questions.

Asking yourself disempowering questions will get you disempowering answers. Asking yourself more empowering questions will yield more empowering solutions. It is just that simple. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What is this feeling of fear trying to teach me? What can I learn?
  • What are the best ways I can move past this fear?
  • What will be the benefit of me moving past this fear?
  • What is the worst case scenario? If this worst case scenario happens, can I deal with it?
  • What is the best case scenario?

Related: How Top Entrepreneurs Overcome the Dreaded Fear of Failure


Strategy #6: Lastly, and most importantly, create a big enough WHY to help you move past the fear.

In the various books of Anthony Robbins (peak performance guru), he explains the power that pain and pleasure have in our life. He explains that in order to change anything in our life, we need to associate enough pain to not getting it and enough pleasure to achieving it. In other words, do you have a strong enough “why” (pleasure) to move past your fear? Fear is going to creep up and creep in. And sometimes fear appears in a very subtle way. Sometimes it creeps in as procrastination or being “so busy” with your life that you just don’t have the time to move towards a new goal or aspiration.

Whatever it is, realize that avoiding pain and gaining pleasure runs our lives as human beings. The way to use this to your benefit is to associate more pleasure to moving past the fear and associate pain to not moving past it.


The reality is that as long as we are alive, fear will creep in at some point and on some level. The key is to continue to move past it – as quickly and effortlessly as you can. I hope some of these suggestions and tips will help you move past your fear of failure.

“There are four ways you can handle fear. You can go over it, under it, or around it. But if you are ever to put fear behind you, you must walk straight through it. Once you put fear behind you, leave it there.” — Donna Favors

What am I missing? What do you do personally to move through fear?

Thanks for reading — and be sure to leave a comment!

About Author

Elizabeth Faircloth

Liz Faircloth has been managing and investing in real estate since 2004, along with her husband, Matt. We have built our business from scratch and now own over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets. We love to help and educate investors. Our YouTube Channel, The Landlord’s Chronicles, offers short, yet educational videos that covers topics such as flipping houses, rentals, rehabs, property management, and lessons learned along the way. http://www.youtube.com/c/DerosaGroupTrenton


  1. David Roberts

    One thing that helped me get through doing my first purchase was asking myself what the wordt that could happen. If the deal didn’t turn out to be as good, i still had a good house to move forward with and i would just chalk it up to learning.

    Going on my 4th deal now and i still get very nervous, the worst day being the last day of the inspection period, where it becomes really real. But i think fear is a good thing. It will keep you sharp.

  2. Randy Phillips on

    A great article. My first deal I was so scared, I met the seller and buyer at the property. I had to excuse myself several times to go the rest room and gulp down some water cuz my mouth was so dry.
    My next few deals I took a water bottle with me. That was 30+ deals ago, Now after I get the contract signed I look back and think, wow, I wasn’t nervous at all.
    It has got a lot easier, I have a relaxed confidence, but the biggest secret is, I let the seller do 90% of the talking.

  3. Stephen Schott

    Great article Elizabeth! It really spoke to me! I am 22 years old and have slowly, but surely renovated my first house. I currently live in it and rent out the basement (loved the “house hack” article on here). However, every time I think about expanding into a business I feel the pressure to ONLY do good. I have a loving family and good friends, but I don’t think my parents really support my goal of owning more property. They never invested in real estate in the way that I want to. This article really spoke to me because I feel fear creep up on me all the time. I am refinancing my house right now to enable my self to purchase a multi-unit which I will move into and do the same thing. I seem to discourage myself a lot and there aren’t a lot of people I can talk to that I feel support my decision since my parents don’t want me to do it. I hope to be able to conquer my fear of failure–fear of letting my parents down (albeit fear of them being right). And I hope to find a network of people here that will encourage my goals with real estate.

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      Hi Stephen:
      First and foremost – congrats on renovating your first deal!! You are doing what most people only talk about. You should be proud of yourself! With regards to what you said about your parents, the key is to find that support group as soon as possible! Have you checked out your local REIA group yet? These tend to be great places to find other folks who have similar goals! Remember – family and friends have good intentions, however, tend to give advice from their own experience (and own perspective). I have a general rule that I follow that might help you. I really don’t allow anyone to influence my risk taking decisions if they have never done what I want to do. In other words, if you are not a real estate investor – how can you give advice on buying property?
      Good luck to you and keep up all the great work you are doing!!!

  4. James Green

    I tell myself “Ready, Fire, Aim!” I love that. I also tell myself “Fear, forward, fast”. I tend to overthink things & end up not Doing, b/c I’ve “already figured out” why it won’t work or what the other person might say.

    These little mantras have helped me a lot over the last month since I realize I had the “fear of failure”.

    Great Article

  5. I think some fear is a good things. I’ve seen a lot of people make bad decisions because they didn’t think enough about their options. Obviously, you don’t want things like uninformed third parties to influence your choices either, but I think it’s healthy to make safe decisions sometimes.

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