142 – How To Manage Fear Of Failure In Renovating

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The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

142 – How To Manage Fear Of Failure In Renovating

Renovation Fears and Failures are defined differently because we all have our own standards, values, and belief systems.

Podcast: Download (Duration 32:58 — 30.1MB)

How To Manage Fear Of Failure In Renovating


  • [01:05] Bernadette Janson’s life update: Back in Sydney
  • [04:25] Renovation fears are not hopeful emotions
  • [05:01] The impact of renovation fears on your body
  • [05:31] Fear of failure: A destructive emotion
  • [08:09]  Renovation fears biggest issue
  • [09:22]  HerBusiness Conference with Julie Masters
  • [10:25]  Renovation fears in properties
  • [14:32] Weighing up pros and cons
  • [17:36]  What success means in overcoming renovation fears
  • [19:16]  Defeating renovation fears in not getting enough profit
  • [20:11] Harvard Business: Fear of failure review
  • [22:02] Doing a renovation project without a budget
  • [24:07] Hypothesis and exploratory testing
  • [25:35] Points To Consider With Renovation Fears
  • [28:41] She Renovates Facebook Group
  • [28:51] Ask Bernadette: What’s your reno question?
renovation fears

Focus on success and not fear. By not managing that fear of failure, you’re denying yourself the joy of a level of freedom and success that you probably never thought was possible.”

~ Bernadette Janson

Renovation Fears Are Not Hopeful Emotions

The flight and fight response acts on a primitive level. If you’re being attacked by a dinosaur then the fear response kicks in, and you will run. 

However, in normal daily life we don’t have the same predators as our primitive ancestors did. So often, our fear does nothing to help us. 

Renovation Fears Can Impact Your Body

Fears in general can weaken our immune system and can cause any of the following:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Decreased fertility
  • Accelerated aging
  • Premature death
  • Impairment of long-term memory
  • Damage to certain parts of the brain such as the hippocampus

Renovation fears can also cause these kinds of symptoms too.

Fear Of Failure Is A Destructive Emotion

Fear of failure is something that you want to deal with. This can make it more difficult to regulate your renovation fears and can leave you anxious most of the time. 

For someone with chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that. Your brain processing and reactive fears can interrupt processes in your brain that allows you to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and act ethically. This impacts your thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving you susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. This has long-term consequences on your mental health.

“If you are focusing on everything that could go wrong, be careful what you ask for. You could be inviting that into your life and, there’s also the flip side – fear of success.”

~ Bernadette Janson

Renovation Fears Can Become A Biggest Issue

The biggest issue I have come across working with renovators over the last seven years is their lack of confidence. I have come across women who are very competitive, however they will often second guess themselves which is another form of the fear of failure.

Lack of confidence is very common in women. In past podcast  episodes, I’ve talked about the phenomenon where men and women were surveyed on their tendency to go for promotions in their jobs. 

Men would have one or two of the requirements and would give it a go while us women, we tend to need to have all our ducks lined up in a row before we will even have a go at it. Unfortunately this excludes us from some of the greatest opportunities in life. I want to be able to impact that, even if it’s just in a small way in this episode.

It’s Always A Good Time To Build Your Confidence

I attended the HerBusiness conference recently and I was listening to a woman named Julie Masters, who is a thought leader. Something she said that struck home is “confidence shows up when you show up over and over and over again.” 

If you’re waiting for the confidence to show up first, it’s never going to happen. To have what you want, you need to be willing to put yourself out on the skinny branches and have a go, even if you’re not feeling a hundred percent confident. 

Renovation Fears In Properties

For most renovators, failure includes losing money and not making enough money.

If you’re flipping, you will be faced with this at some time because the market is a prickly character. Many things are completely out of your control. 

I have always believed that when you are buying, renovating and selling, you only lose money when you sell the property.

If you have based your feasibility on sound principles, if something happens, that means you can’t achieve your sell price. So you just need to wait until the market returns because if you’ve looked at a graph of Australia’s capital growth, you’ll see that property values go up and down all the time.

What Success Means In Overcoming Renovation Fears

I looked up the dictionary to check the meaning of fear and found that it means lack of success. 

The way I look at what success is, it’s achieving my ultimate goal. It’s making profit-building skills and confidence, articulating creativity and demonstrating leadership.

I want my family to understand what’s possible for them and what’s involved in doing it. I want them to see me having a go, even when things don’t go so well.

Over the last 30 years, I have thought I’d been successful. I had been flipping for 20 years before I realised it wasn’t getting me to where I wanted to go. I was making a profit but if I sat down and looked at the time I was putting in, I was barely making wages. 

Looking at lack of success and failure could be choosing the wrong strategy and it’s not getting you to where you want to be. You’ll make a profit but Is that getting you where you want to be? You could have left a whole lot of opportunity on the table because you’ve been heading down the wrong road. 

Being clear about what success means to you is important.

Overcoming Renovation Fears – Your Evolution As A Renovator

When you are ‘in the renovating game’ and you’re making a profit, every single profit is to be rejoiced. There are a lot of variables in it and you need to cultivate your skills. You’ll get better and better as you go along.

You need to see it for what it is and it’s an evolution of you as a renovator. The important part of that is celebrating those successes because they will help your subconscious to create more of that.

Harvard Business: Fear of Failure Review

This article from Harvard Business Review talks about fear of failure. If you fail because you haven’t done the work well, then that’s one thing. But if you fail because a certain circumstance is beyond your control, it’s a different thing. 

You want to get clear about what type of failure you’re fearing. Here’s the link to the article entitled  Strategies for learning from failure. I think it brings up some interesting concepts about the fact that failure is not always bad in the business world. 

The problem is that failure and fault are virtually inseparable. When something goes wrong, everyone’s looking for someone to blame and that’s where your peanut gallery comes into play. On the other hand, failure can also be what they call praiseworthy and sets up a cause of failure.

Buying A Renovation Property Without Doing A Feasibility

This is blameworthy because you know what to do and you’re not doing it. Plenty of renovators do that. It’s like expecting a different result while not paying enough attention to what you’re doing. You need skills and knowledge around what you’re doing. 

I talk about a lot of scopes of work. I still come across renovators who don’t do them. If that leaves you not being able to manage your budget, that is a process of inadequacy and is a cause of you not getting the results you want. 

In renovating, we have strategies for managing. You don’t know when the government’s going to jump in and do something about the market which causes the bottom to drop out of it in a week. You don’t know whether interest rates are going to jump up and impact your budget.

Hypothesis and Exploratory Testing

Many years ago, I wanted to test the process of renovating apartments because, particularly in Sydney, we didn’t have the budget for buying a whole house. A lot of our renovators needed a different option but I wanted to just test it to figure it out.

The other thing I did was find the cheapest, tiny apartment to figure out if I could make a profit on it. I think we made $22,000 profit on that which isn’t the way I operate now, I could look at that and think that was a spectacular failure.

I didn’t see that as a failure because we had gone through and we’d navigated a lot of things that have gone wrong and we still came out with a profit. It’s a powerful way to deal with some uncertainties and not feel like you’re failing.

“It’s not the failure that is debilitating, it’s how it makes you feel about yourself.”

~ Bernadette Janson

Points To Consider In Overcoming Your Renovation Fears

  • Be clear about what outcome you are after
  • Trust the process, it’s not an overnight process
  • Build your skills. You’re dealing with a field that has significant risks
  • Eliminate as many risks as you can
  • Dilute the constitution of your peanut gallery
  • Surround yourself with people who are supporting you to achieve your goals
  • Define success in more ways, not just financial
  • Celebrate every single success no matter how big or small

She Renovates Facebook Group

If you’re sitting there thinking I wonder and have a question to ask head over to our free  She Renovates Facebook Group. You will find over a thousand crazy renovators who just love talking, renovating and would love to answer your question.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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