Here Are 5 Books For Your Journey To Overcoming Fear Of Failure

Leadership Lesson: Don’t overlook the power of books to fill in the gaps in lessons you may not see or have access to in your work or personal life.

Last week, I presented a workshop for B.I.G. – Believe. Inspire. Growa women’s empowerment network providing women with the inspiration, community, and tools to help them become the best versions of themselves.  

I presented to the audience on how to begin overcoming their fear of failure.

This is such a relevant topic, because the more I work with individuals and groups, both through presentations and coaching, the more I realize how much each of us grapples with our own unique fear of failure.

Overall, it’s no secret that people in society don’t like to fail, but hearing people speak of that fear out loud while working with them paints a intricate picture of just how much it actually holds us back.

Each of us has different experiences and histories which lead to our own personal attitude toward that fear of failure. There may be reasons in our past which point to how our fear was formed and why it has such a hold on us.

In the end, though, when it comes to fear, we can’t change how we got to where we are today, but we can learn from the past, change our footing in the present, in order to shift our path into the future closer to the success we want for ourselves.

Toward the end of my B.I.G. presentation, I provided book recommendations to get the participants to think more deeply about that fear, utilizing the lessons in these titles to offset their fear, allowing them to open up and share what makes them unique in their field, industry, and business segment.

Public Service Announcement, in case you might not know it: Reading is powerful.

Many of us may be limited in the access we have to the type of people we’d like to learn from. If this is the case, while we keep up seeking those opportunities to meet inspirational people, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn lessons which pique our curiosity.

Through books such as these outlined below, you get a breakdown of ideas, concepts, walk-throughs, and guidance for how to deal with different areas of your life, shore up your resilience, and work toward what it is you want to achieve.

Never discount the power of books to gain insight into someone’s mind whom you admire.

Although there are so many more books from which lessons can be drawn to offset fear, below are the five books I highlighted that provide varying forms of advice through each author’s unique voice to do so. And the books don’t necessarily need to cover fear of failure, but their lessons nonetheless can be utilized to neutralize that fear.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big:
Kind of the Story of My Life – Scott Adams

Major Takeaway: How to look at failure, and how you can build off of it.

Oftentimes, people may believe the odds are stacked solely against them in life and work. Through recurring obstacles, they believe they can’t — or are not being allowed to — move forward with their goals and what they want for themselves. Because of that belief, we can become demoralized, weaken our push forward, and even just give up on and stop the work toward our goals.

Some common themes through most general stories of success are that people kept pushing forward and that attitude is of utmost importance. Nothing happens overnight, and nothing is easy.

That is the picture Adams paints in his book as he walks the reader through the series of life events, failure after failure (as he regards them), which led him to where he is today. Reading about what someone else has gone through can subdue the pressure we apply to ourselves and our own fear.

How To Fail…: In The Books Podcast Episode


The Four Agreements: A Practice Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz

Major Takeaway: We need to reprogram how life has programmed us.

Our fear of failure often has to do more with our fear of how others will see us than a lack of ability or resources. It can cripple us.

We instead have to turn inward and proceed outward with what it is we truly want, not limiting ourselves to what others want or see.

In this book, a major point Ruiz outlines is that we’ve been programmed from a young age to not explore. We tend to lose the curiosity we held as toddlers as we get older and are guided by society’s unwritten (and sometimes written) rules about how to play it safe.

Much of what we fear in life is very much about people’s attitudes, which we cannot control. In the end, we need to do what makes us happy.

The Four Agreements…: In The Books Podcast Episode


Do It Scared: Charge Forward With Confidence, Conquer Resistance, and
Break Through Your Limitations – Scott Allan

Major Takeaway: There is a lot we miss out on due to the fear in our lives.

When we aim to defeat fear, another good way of strategizing our approach is thinking of all the things we forego due to our paralysis and/or retreat. How much regret will we hold later in life if we choose not to push forward in this moment today?

The book is a great pep talk, specifically, for when we try to work through fear. It provides great examples of the type of situations we come across in our lives where we might find these predicaments. The book provides so many questions we should answer, so that we can analyze what we truly want and how we should push forward.

Do It Scared…: In The Books Podcast Episode


The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counter-Intuitive
Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson

Major Takeaway: It outlines we may be doing ourselves a disservice by focusing on the wrong things in life.

Although the title and book may not stand out as obvious tools to fight fear of failure, the book’s lesson can tie in nicely with how we can overcome that fear. The book asks us to consider whether or not we are putting too much stock into — and are we too concerned about — the wrong things. In some cases, fear can be dictated by giving too much credibility and concern to the wrong issues and/or people in our lives. Giving too much time, energy, and value to the wrong things in life can stop us in our tracks, limiting our growth, evolution, and success.

Along with The Four Agreements, this book also talks about how we’re programmed by life and how we need somewhat of a rebirth in how to become ourselves and free ourselves of the burdens of the wrong concerns, shifting our attention to the right things to consider to reach what we want.

The Subtle Art…: In The Books Podcast Episode


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant

Major Takeaway: Sometimes, getting to your success is moving away from the norm.

Last on this list but definitely not least is a book that walks us through what it took for some of the greatest minds to achieve their greatest successes – all the misses, false positives, and sometimes failures we don’t see. Like Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (In The Books, Episode 11), it talks about how much goes into achieving what we want. It’s our attitude and mindset that set us apart from others.

Oftentimes, we don’t consider how much goes into achieving whatever our own definition of success is. We need to consider how much it actually takes to move to the next level of performance. That honesty and realization can prepare us better and staunch the fear of failure as we become more focused.

Originals: In The Books Podcast Episode Coming Soon

By combining the lessons across these books as a starting point, one can begin crafting what their plan is for adjusting their thought process when it comes to fear of failure.

In reading these books, which include stories, examples, research, and studies as references, one can see what has worked for others and what hasn’t. The reader can cull the lessons and customize them accordingly to their own experiences, career, and life.

Reading others’ stories can help us vet the best advice to utilize in order to shift our own perspective, life, and work results.

Make the reading work for you, to ramp up your confidence and refine your evolving set of values.

Keep reading to learn. The lessons are there for the taking.

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