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Fear of Failure

How to Get Over the Fear of Failure| Written By: Nikki Novo

The last few years have felt like one small failure after the other. I would start one thing, not be able to finish, and go to the next, which also never reached completion.

A few months ago, I found myself on the metaphorical floor surrounded by several incomplete projects, which of course, felt like several failures. Obviously, I felt completely shitty about myself, but in addition I also felt resentful because of the time I had wasted by not getting life right. 


I wondered why I didn’t complete all of those projects. I realized most of the incompletes were projects that I thought I should do. You know, the kind of actions that those around us expect us to do. Or those “safe” steps we try to make, rather than facing the unknown that comes from following our inner compass.

By evading my inner voice, I thought I could avoid all risk. I would take on these projects that required less of my heart and more of my analytical mind, which I thought would be safe. So I would start them, but just after a few months in, I could feel a part of my inner light dim.

Not being able to sustain that numb feeling for too long, I would back out of the project and wallow in that lost feeling. You know… that failure feeling mixed with what-am-I-doing-with-my-life feeling.

I thought by taking this “safe” route, I would actually dodge failure. I thought I would follow some steps, put plans into action, and all would be great. If I could just follow the blueprint, I wouldn’t fail.

But what happens when our heart won’t let us follow the blueprint?

Whenever we’re on the wrong path, a part of us knows its wrong and it will warn us in whatever way possible. A lot of the times, we’re stubborn and we’ll let the madness go on just so we can prove a point.  But inevitably, what may look like a success on the outside begins to feel like a failure on the inside.

So by trying to avoid the feeling of failure, we took a safe route that we just couldn’t follow anymore. Which leaves us feeling what? Like a failure.


The other failures came from starting to follow my heart, but then backing out once it felt scary and unsafe. I would keep one foot in a heart-driven project and one foot out just in case I needed to run. And I would always run.

Letting fear drive my actions is what actually caused me to fail. The consent stream of future thoughts of catastrophe running through my mind sacred me so much that I would just decide to stop. As a result, I felt lost and not sure of what my path even looked like anymore.


We’re often told that there is no such thing as failure. Honestly, I don’t buy it. Failure is a real word in the dictionary. The definition that sticks out to me the most is, “the omission of expected or required action.”

In my experience, failure happens when I don’t follow through. Sometimes I don’t follow through because I realize it’s the wrong thing for me and sometimes because I’m afraid that it will, well, fail.

So yes, in my book, failure is real. What is optional is feeling like a failure. The feeling of being a failure is different from experiencing failure.


I recently had a client come in for a reading and a healing. She asked the question, “Have I done anything wrong in the past that has made my journey slower?” in other words: were her past fails slowing her down.

Her profound question was answered by the angels around her: Sure, our fails slow us down, but they were meant to happen. When we come into this lifetime, even our failures are in the plan. God knows when we’re going to make mistakes and fall off track. Failures are in the map of our life, so we can’t really argue that they slow us down. The delays were on the itinerary.

What we can do is make less decisions from fear and more from faith. From that place, a perceived failure may be just something that didn’t pan out as plan, which in the end is just a different result and not a fail. And just because we experience failures doesn’t mean we are a failure

Nikki Novo is a Cuban-American author, motivational speaker, life coach, medium, and energy healer.

A certified hypnotherapist with the International Association of Counselors and Therapists, ThetaHealer(r) and Reiki healer, Nikki is the author of “Will I be Alone Forever? …And Other Dating Questions You Wish a Psychic Would Answer.”  She has taught at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach and Soho Beach House. She has also been commissioned to speak by organizations like Levo League, Fordham University, Florida International University, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Baptist Health, Femfessionals, and Latinas Bloggers Connect.

Previous to becoming an activist for authentic living, Nikki was the Miami editor for Refinery29, an editor for DailyCandy, and the associate editor at Miami magazine. Her work has been seen in Allure magazine, Town & Country, the Huffington Post, DailyWorth, MSN.com, Zagat.com, and others. She also spent time in the publicity department of Lionsgate and Fox Searchlight in Los Angeles. 

As an expert in purposeful living, Nikki has been featured in Marie Claire, NBC, MSN.com, Telemundo, Babble.com, Arizona Latinos, Miami New Times, and Aventura Magazine. She also held relationship columns with eHarmony.com, the Huffington Post, Miami New Times, and Disney.com.

Nikki is a work-at-home entrepreneur and mom. She is a tribe member of her family consisting of her husband, tween-in-training daughter, toddler boy, and three-pound Yorkie – who is also her desk mate. http://www.nikkinovo.com

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1 Comment

  • Jill / 23 June 2016 5:31


    What a great article! Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts on this topic.

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