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Little Find

Are you afraid of a big flop?

Do you feel paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake? If so, today’s anxiety-provoking climate is partly to blame. You don’t see things clearly and you want to avoid making the wrong decision. But you also know that doing nothing is just as harmful. The answer is to take things step by step.

How can you get going again, evaluate the risks and make sure you make the right decision? 

  • Acknowledge and accept that you’re afraid. The fear is there to remind you that you’re operating in a complex environment. 
  • Try to pin down your fear as precisely as possible. What is it you’re really afraid of?  
  • Take a look at what’s scaring you and try to detect what might really happen.  
  • Draw on your core values to manage the situations you’re afraid of. For example, use your high standards to provide the best possible service to a customer you’re scared of losing.  
  • Concentrate on your decision-making process rather than the decision itself. Try to isolate cognitive biases and broaden your thinking rather than limiting the decision to a choice between two options.  
  • Turn your attention to more substantial matters to avoid becoming excessively focused on one subject, or take a break to indulge in your favorite hobby. 

Don’t forget that being afraid of making a mistake won’t protect you from mistakes. On the contrary, by restricting your field of vision, it might very well lead to the thing you fear the most.  

To go further

“How to overcome you fear of making mistakes”

by Alice Boyes (Harvard Business Review, 24 June 2020). 

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.