According to the Cleveland Clinic, Fear of Failure can be an intense fear of failure. It may cause you to put off or avoid any activity or scenario that has the potential for an unsuccessful outcome. Someone who struggles with fear of failure may be scared to try new things, take risks or embrace growth. High stress and traumatic life experiences can contribute to developing such fear. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse are also all possible causes. People with underlying fear have similar core beliefs that they must be fully competent, correct and able to achieve whatever task they set out to do. Because it is humanly impossible to be all knowing and able to accomplish all things, this can lead to anxieties and self-doubt. Often times, the person affected can feel paralyzed to move forward and often will suffer with procrastination.
How Do I Know?
Recognizing if fear of failure affects you can be important. Fear and anxiety can affect many aspects of your life, preventing you from living your best life. Below are indicators that could help you recognize if you are affected by fear of failure.
- Procrastinate tasks that seem that are hard
- Anxious about others’ opinions
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Pessimistic negative outlook
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Unwilling to accept constructive criticism
- Afraid of performing simple task
- You say you don’t expect to succeed, to lower expectations of you
- Failing makes you worry about what others think or your future
Not every one who struggles with one of these necessarily has a fear of failure, however, if you can relate to multiple symptoms listed above, you could be battling a greater level of fear than average. Fear doesn’t have to rule over you forever. You can make a choice to fight for your peace. Below we discuss a few ways that could help.
How Can I Overcome Fear of Failure?
Failure is part of our lives. It is inevitable. The first step toward overcoming fear could be to alter what you are choosing to believe about yourself. Accept that there isn’t a single human who can be perfect and without failure. Below are some suggestions that could help you take steps to try something different on your next assignment or project.
- Approach a task to learn something new
- Talk to a trusted friend, confide your fear
- Consider multiple outcomes, not just one negative one
- Be ok with doing things, afraid
- Be kind to yourself
- Stay on target and do your best
- Document what you have learned
We can never accomplish all of our tasks and goals perfectly. All we can ever be is our best, and that is enough. Setting such unreal expectations of ourselves can lead to unhealthy lifestyles and mental health for ourselves. Continue to choose to practice suggestions above to help your mindset know that you no longer expect yourself to be without failure. Speak truth to yourself often, people will fail. Failing is normal. We grow through failure. Over time, you could be set free from the root of fear of failure.
If you experience fear of failure and have not been able to overcome the root cause, we are here to help. You are not alone. One of our therapists will listen to you and help you establish steps forward.