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Dealing with fear of failure.

There’s no one who hasn’t tried something with enthusiasm and failed.

More often than not, people give up when they fail. Over time, this leads to a fear of failure.

Fear of failure, also called  atychiphobia,  is a fear of falling short in the eyes of your family, friends, coworkers and even people who don’t know you.

What causes the fear of failure?

There can be many reasons for fearing failure. It is not failure, but it is the shame and embarrassment that you actually fear.  Perhaps you were not encouraged as a child, and this really undermined your confidence. 

Maybe you had parents who belittled you and took away your confidence. Or maybe you had a traumatic experience while failing that scarred you for life.

What are the effects of the fear of failure?

Fear of failure becomes a real problem when it starts hindering your success or worse, keeps you from trying.

Fear of failure leads to feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem and feelings of unpleasantness.  It leads you to procrastinate, be less prepared and failure eventually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

The fear of failure can also cause you to overthink, expect perfection and eventually leads to disappointment with yourself. 

How to overcome the fear of failure?

Failure cannot be avoided, however you can definitely deal with fear of failure, by paying attention to self destructive patterns. Here are some practical tips you can follow to deal with the fear of failure. 

Oftentimes, we are our harshest critics.

One step you can take is make a promise to yourself that you’ll be kinder to yourself when you fail at something.

Think of your inner critic as a person. If you were a child, wouldn’t you defend your child against harsh critics to preserve the precious spirit of your child? You have to do the same with your inner critic.

When faced with failure, practice self care. Talk to a friend who is compassionate or go for a run to clear your thoughts.

fear-of-failure-woman-looking-at-dark-clouds

When you distance yourself from the situation, by talking it through with others, you will be able to think more clearly and feel less unworthy.

1. Suspend judgement

Oftentimes, we are our harshest critics.

One step you can take is make a promise to yourself that you’ll be kinder to yourself when you fail at something.

Think of your inner critic as a person. If you were a child, wouldn’t you defend your child against harsh critics to preserve the precious spirit of your child?

You have to do the same with your inner critic.

When faced with failure, practice self care. Talk to a friend who is compassionate or go for a run to clear your thoughts.

When you distance yourself from the situation, by talking it through with others, you will be able to think more clearly and feel less unworthy.

2. Journal every day. 

Journaling is an excellent way to be mindful of your thoughts, your actions and reflect on them.

When you journal everyday, you start observing thought patterns and have an opportunity to correct them with intention.

If you don’t have a friend you can confide in and are hesitant to reveal your insecurities to others, a journal can be your best friend. 

3. Develop a growth mindset

Growth mindset is a mindset that holds a view that your abilities can be developed with practice.

This mindset doesn’t limit your abilities. When you say to yourself, “I’m not good at dancing, yet“, instead of saying, “I’m not good at dancing”, you give yourself the chance to try, fail and eventually succeed.

woman-dancing-fear-of-failure

4. Gradually increase your stakes

If you have a fear of failure, start small. Let’s say you want to master public speaking. Instead of trying public speaking with an audience of 100, start small with an audience of 10.

Once you master this, gradually increase your audience. This will increase your comfort level and make you less prone to the fear of failure.

5. Celebrate the small wins

When you win, regardless of whether it is small or big, don’t forget to pat yourself for trying.  Celebrate your wins, no matter how small. This will encourage you to keep trying and not despair when faced with failure. 

6. Let go of unhealthy relationships

Some relationships may not be good for your self esteem.

Do you have people around you who are constantly demeaning you and putting you down? You may need to gently let go of these people to get you back on track again.

Don’t let them walk over you. Stand up for yourself and try to change their behavior or avoid them and gradually distance yourself from them. 

7. Focus on what you can control

Sometimes, we beat ourselves over things we cannot control.

If you failed because of things beyond your control, despite trying your very best, it is best to let it go, with the satisfaction that you gave it your all.

Taking small steps towards improving the things you can control, will give you a feeling of being in control of the situation. 

8. Learn from your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. When you make a mistake, instead of being a bully towards yourself, learn from it. Don’t put yourself down when you fail.

Be totally honest with yourself while analyzing the cause of failure.

Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation, how you can do better the next time and what steps you should be taking today to make your success a reality the next time. 

9. Final thoughts

Remember, it’s the journey that matters not the destination.

Of course you may feel moments of euphoria on reaching the destination, but the hardest life lessons are taught through the journey and through your reactions to the trials and tribulations on your way to the destination.

Amrapali Rai

Amrapali Rai

Amrapali is a blogger at Bazaar Expert, and blogs about applying productivity and motivation in everyday life.
Amrapali Rai

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2 Comments

  1. These are all good ideas. Failure is part of the journey to success. It is learning and making progress. I wish people would quit seeing it as a shameful thing. It can be a starting point.

    • What a great point Debbie – wouldn’t it be wonderful if people saw failure as you suggest. How much easier life would be.

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