PHP Developer & IT Business Analyst

Overcoming Fear Of Failure

February 16, 2014By Faraz Ahmed3 Comments

Thanks to Kumail’s post here, it inspired me to write this story about how I beat my fear and left my comfortable job to become a freelance web developer.

I left my job as a web developer on November 1st, 2013 and embarked on a freelance journey. It was not a decision taken suddenly. I’ve been employed fulltime since 2008 and never thought of doing a gig on the side to earn some extra cash. I was of the belief that instead of concentrating on so many things on the side and tiring myself out, I should just concentrate on my fulltime job and put all my efforts and energy on the betterment of the company. The philosophy worked well, as I grew faster not just in terms of rank, but also in terms of salary / benefits and respect. There were no financial worries. Everything was good. Life was great.

But then came a time when suddenly things didn’t seem to excite me anymore. There was a time when the compliments from my colleagues, boss, and clients excited me. But then the things changed. Nothing excited me, and nothing motivated me. I was just going through the motions.

It was a very difficult time. Mentally, I always felt exhausted. That didn’t affect my work at all though. I always delivered quality work, and I am proud of that. I just didn’t feel challenging anymore in my current role and wanted to do something different. I knew I had the ability to do a lot more, but I wasn’t getting a chance to show my abilities in my current role. I finally realized that your company is not responsible for your growth. YOU ARE!

But it was not an easy decision to make. It is never easy to leave your comfort zone. I was earning very good money, along with very good benefits, and I also had a wife and a baby girl, and we just shifted into a new house. I’ve been in the same company for over 3 years. It is never easy to make the switch and go into a place unknown where you have to start all over again. I had a lot of doubts in my mind. What if I couldn’t succeed in the new place? What if I am laid off from the new job? What if I am unable to get a new job and end up spending all my savings? The fear of trying out something new was so much that I decided not to try it out at all and continued to grind out in my current job, hoping that the things will change.

But they didn’t. My mental condition kept worsening. I was stressed and anxious all the time. I felt low on confidence and self-esteem. And I was self sabotaging myself for not doing anything about it.

Then I came across  a book on some LinkedIn topic. The book was called “The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz” I started reading the book and the first few chapters completely changed my mind about how I looked at the world. It inspired me and changed my sorry, miserable thinking. I had never thought a book can change one’s thinking so much. At the same time, I came across this guy, called Robin Sharma, whose motivational videos and quotes simply wowed me. All of a sudden I started feeling that something was about to change.

And it did. I quit my job without any other job lined up. I had suddenly become so confident that I knew that whatever I do from now on, I will be successful in doing that.

And I was. I joined oDesk to start on my freelance journey, because I had to earn money until I get that dream opportunity. This is what I achieved in my first month of freelancing:

1. Won 4 out of 4 jobs in a first couple of hours on oDesk.
2. Earned $120 in the first day.
3. Earned $1000+ in the first month.
4. All 5 Star Ratings.
5. Made 3 recurring clients, who are still with me on this day (by the way I stopped bidding for jobs after 1.5 months. The work just kept coming to me.)

And I’ve never looked back since then. I am not afraid of anything anymore. It just took me one step of bravery to beat my fear and gain my self-esteem and confidence back. The road to beat fear of failure was difficult and took me a lot of time, but it was worth it at the end. Now I can work from the comfort of my home and be with my loved ones all the time!

If you are reading this, then the chances are that you are also probably stuck somewhere and don’t know how to break the shackles due to the fear of what if the things don’t work out the way you want. You can read all the motivational books and quotes there are, but until you stop worrying about what the society will say and take an action, nothing will change.

Try this: There are a lot of things that we want to do, but are afraid or reluctant to try, or just procrastinating with. Pick one thing, anything, which doesn’t have too much of an impact in your life if you fail. And just do it! Trust me. Once you get it done successfully (or even unsuccessfully!), you will feel something different about yourself. Then try again with another small thing. And before you know it, you’ve beaten the demon!

Failure is nothing, but a learning experience. You can’t learn until you fail. We are all humans, and we all make mistakes. It’s up to us how we look at them – as a failure or as a learning experience. I choose the latter.

Bottom Line: Stop Thinking and Just Do it! And Never Underestimate Yourself! If you keep thinking and doubting your own abilities without testing them out, then the life will pass you by before you know it. I repeat: Just Do it!

This article has 3 comments
  1. Kumail Hemani
    February 17, 2014

    Great motivational post, Faraz!

    It’s always a time when we are pissed-off, by this daily work routine, and want to do something new that we always wanted to do, and then we start digging ourselves to find the hidden abilities we’ve got.

    This is the time, when you don’t care how much money you will be earning. You do what you enjoy and love to do. Sometime it comes early and sometime later.

    I’m on it right now and completely filled with ideas to get the track. No matter, if I fail.

    Thank you for linking my post too 🙂

  2. Shariq Khalid
    February 17, 2014

    Very happy for you!
    What about a quote from me??? 🙂
    All my talks about letting your fear GO?!

    Stay blessed and keep following your dreams!

  3. Manish
    November 3, 2015

    Hello Faraz,

    I read your post on Upwork today and glad I did, because I too am in the same boat now. My name is Manish, and I am from Bangalore. I had quit my high paying night job last 2 weeks back and now started working on Upwork, where I have landed with a couple of small jobs. Now, I do have the same fear as you faced before and trying to overcome it. Read the same motivational books as you did, but I want to be clear of what I want, especially being an Engineer and a Management Grad, I want to utilize my skills which I had learnt not only for my benefit, but to the society too.

    Would like to read more of your posts and I feel good to have someone like me who has faced similar situations before. Thank you very much, and wish you a successful future ahead.


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