From education to employment

Getting past your fears to take on your first project management role

The fear of failing is something that each and every one of us will find ourselves facing at one time or another – it can prevent us from doing those things which might enable us to move forward. If we let it get in the way there are great opportunities that we might be missing out on.

If we want to succeed then we need to be able to look at what is causing us to be afraid, and perhaps more importantly how we can overcome it to reach the success that we are aiming for.

It understandable to feel nervous if you have only just finished your project management qualifications and are facing your first project management role but read on as we look at what might help you to get past your fears.

What causes these fears?

Being afraid that you might fail is normal; everyone has their own definition of what constitutes a failure, when you think you have not been successful someone else might feel was simply a learning experience.

Atychiphobia, the fear of failure, is when those fears stop us from doing the things we want to get on in life. These fears could be driven by something that happened when we were younger, having been around people who were not supportive or simply because we don’t believe in our own capabilities.

Getting past your fears

In order to get over your fears you need to analyse what it is that you are afraid of so that you can reduce the risk of it being a failure.

Use those newly acquired project management skills and look at the outcomes of the role that you are about to take on. Failure often occurs as a result of a fear of the unknown so ensuring that you look at the entire picture first will give you a good idea of what is worrying you.

Think positively about the future. If you only see the negatives then you will be letting your fears get the better of you. Project management is not without its complexities so it is important to remember that not every project will reach a successful conclusion and it is important to think more positively about each project that you undertake.

Consider what the worst-case scenario might be. Whilst there will be instances where this could be something particularly terrible, there will almost certainly be instances when things will not be nearly as bad as you might have imagined. When you learn to recognise this fact it can really help you.

If you are still afraid of something, then make sure that you have a contingency plan.

Set some goals

Goals are a great way of working out where you want to go with your life. If you don’t have goals then you don’t have a well-defined destination. Visualisation is a good tool to help with this but for some people with a real fear of failure then this may not be the way to go. Instead think about where you see things going and set yourself a few goals that you can reach.

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