4 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Failure So You Can Begin Your Firefighter Promotional Exam Journey

Firefighters often hear, failure is not an option. So when it comes to making the decision to take your fire promotion test, you may hesitate because of the overshadowing fear of failure. Check out these tips to overcome your fear of failure and begin your firefighter promotional exam prep journey so you can reach your goals!

1. Figure Out What You Are Afraid Of

Fear of failure is such a normal thing for so many people but if you want to move past your fear, you have to figure out where it’s coming from. According to Psychology Today, the fear of failure usually stems from a fear of being embarrassed, that you are not enough, and that you have let others down. Feeling embarrassed and that people are disappointed in you is not a good feeling, but the people in your life should support you not belittle you. If you decide to take your promotional exam, build a support team, people who will be there for you in a positive way whether you pass or not. You should be proud of yourself just for making the decision to promote and only worry about your reaction to the results, no one else's. This is your life, you have all of the control. 

2. Redefine Failure

Only you can determine when you have failed. If you do not pass your fire department promotion exam it doesn’t mean you failed, it means you learned a lot of new things and will just have to work harder next time. A more realistic way to frame failure would be to not go after a promotional goal in the first place. Doing something that is a risk to you and makes you nervous does not make you a failure, it makes you brave. Just taking your firefighter promotional exam is a success in itself. You made a decision to take on a challenge and you committed to it. If the results are not exactly as you had desired you can always try again. And again for some of us.

3. What’s the Worst That Can Happen? 

Many people would rather not take a risk so they can avoid a bad outcome, but if you live your life like that you may end up stuck and unhappy. You have to ask yourself would you rather stay where you are for the rest of your career or take a risk and go for a promotion. People do not pass tests all the time, and as disheartening as it may be in the moment, let it motivate you instead of scare you. Try to turn your negative emotions into positive ones. I can tell you the worst that can happen is you do not pass. You spent a lot of time doing something and you didn’t succeed, but now I bet you are a lot more knowledgeable and that will help in your current career. It also gives you a head start when you take the firefighter promotional exam again. 

4. Visualize a Positive Outcome

Visualization is exactly what it sounds like. Picture yourself passing your firefighter promotional exam and you will. Well, not exactly but it can help. According to Dr. Cathryne Maciolek, visualization gives you control in a situation in which you feel like you have none. You can even take it a step farther and make visual representations of you passing your promotional exam to help give you even more confidence and control. Don’t just visualize once, do it throughout your time prior to taking your firefighter promotional exam, especially if you are feeling stressed or anxious. Visualize as many details of your passing the exam as you can, what are you wearing, where are you, the letter or email that says congratulations. This will put you in a positive state of mind and help build your overall confidence and get over your fear of failure. 

The Takeaway

Fear of failure is very real for so many people, but try not to let it hold you back. The fact that you are already a firefighter means you have already conquered that fear before, so don’t let it hold you back from starting your firefighter promotional exam prep journey. Let your fears motivate you to work harder. Remember the worst that can happen is you don’t pass the exam the first time and you can take it again. If you are still not sure you are ready to take the step and go after a promotion, check out this article.