Positive motivation and fear of failure

By now you have probably heard the news and even seen the video of former UFC bantam weight champion Rhonda Rousey losing her title to Holly Holm. Few predicted this outcome. 

Rousey had been heralded as unbeatable. Holm was ranked much lower than others that Rousey handled with ease. 

Holm had a solid game plan and the discipline to stick to it once the bell rang. She is definitely a deserving champion but was there another factor in Rousey's loss? 

In several pre-fight interviews Rousey stated that she was motivated by the fear of failure

“My fear of failure is larger than anyone else’s, and it’s increasing with every single fight. I don’t shy away from it. I am extremely fearful but I don’t have a single doubt in my mind [when it comes to winning].”

That statement is an odd mix of distress and bravado. Admitting to a fear of failure is admitting to a doubt about your success. 

As a coach, I see people too often focusing on what they don't want (looking foolish, not completing the workout, being the slowest) and not enough on what they do want (get stronger, faster, leaner, more capable). This type of misplaced motivation, even if it seems like it is pushing you forward, will ultimately hold you back. 

The vision of yourself failing (however you define that) is as compelling if not more so than the vision of yourself succeeding. It's good to know where you have come from and how far you have progressed but always keep your eyes on your destination. 

Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
— Charles Stanley