This is Norah.

She is about to give a presentation to her team about an important change in the organization’s project management system. She:

  • Studied the new software features,

  • Prepared a nice presentation deck, and

  • Rehearsed her speech 3 times at home.

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Even though she's prepared, Norah is completely frightened.

Been there?

Why do we fear making mistakes?

We tend to associate mistakes with bad outcomes, whether physical, emotional or economic.

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But unfounded or unreasonable fear can lead us to unproductive behaviours (like procrastination and overcompensation) which end up holding us back from achieving our dreams and living our lives to the fullest.

So, how can we, and Norah, effectively react in the face of fear?

1. Be Mindful Of Your Negative Self-talk

Learn to recognize when your inner critic is overreacting.

We tend to be extremely critical of ourselves and overstate things when we are deeply and emotionally involved in it.

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Don’t believe everything you think! Our minds are creative which means it can be easy to imagine worst case scenarios.

2. Challenge The All-or-Nothing Thinking

Understand why you’re worried

  • Where is your fear coming from?

  • Which scenarios come to your mind when you think about that terrifying task? List every single one!

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Get down to the facts

What is provably true in this situation? What isn't?

Can you let go of any of the thoughts that aren't provably true?

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Talk to a trusted friend

They can help you realize that things aren't so black and white.

3. Reframe It!

Mistakes are inevitable. And they're learning opportunities.

Adpoting a Growth Mindset, can help reframe our negative thoughts and overcome our fear of making mistakes.

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This quick video introduces the concept.

So, the next time you make a mistake, instead of engaging in unhelpful self-talk or simply denying your mistake, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What went wrong?

  • What could I do better next time?

  • How can I grow from this?


Yesterday, Max accidentally deleted a few files shared with the whole company from their cloud server. In this scenario, which of these reactions would demonstrate a growth mindset?

Take Action

Norah made it through the presentation and realized that the small mistakes she did make aren't the end of the world.

It's your turn to feel the same!

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What's task you've been avoiding because you're worried about messing it up? Time to tackle it!

And when fear comes knocking, remember:


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