Signs You Have Fear Of Failure

Signs You Have Fear Of Failure

October 25, 2018 0 By Eric S Burdon
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(And How To Deal With Them)

As I mentioned before there are many fears out there: fear of failure, fear of opinions, and many others.

There are more fears out there that are like this that are far more mental than physical like fear of spiders, bears, or sharks. But those mental fears are fears that can be very strong reasons for why our confidence is so low or that we suffer from low self esteem.

I don’t blame you either. There is a lot that goes on when we fail.

For one, it sucks a lot, and most generally don’t like failing. Research has gone to show that failing can bring out emotions such as disappointment, anger, frustration, confusion, regret and others.

But those feelings aren’t normally what brings us to that fear of failure that some of us have.

Signs You Have Fear Of Failure (And How To Deal With Them)

The True Nature of Fear Of Failure

Fear of failure can be more seen as a fear of shame. People who do have fear of failure are people who are motivated to avoid failing at any cost. Indeed they are people who want to avoid some of those bad feelings that I mentioned above.

The big reason is because those emotions also trigger a deep shame for that individual.

And shame is an entirely different beast than guilt or regret.

When we experience guilt that’s triggered by bad feelings about our actions. For regret it’s by our own efforts. However for shame we are often feeling bad about who we are.

It’s for this reason why fear of failure can be so deeply rooted in our self esteem and confidence. However, the thing about shame though is that it’s not so easily identifiable.

Some of us may not even be aware that we have a fear of failure to begin with.

Shame is what drives us the most to have a fear of failure.

Shame is what drives us the most to have fear of failure.

Some Signs Of Fear Of Failure

Part of that unawareness may be the fact that we can experience shame or negative emotions in general about certain aspects. Below I have a few questions that I ask to help determine if you do have fear of failure.

But even with that list of question it doesn’t mean that we do have fear of failure. It’s for this reason why you want to be digging more into the issue and talk to a mental health professional if necessary.

If you answer yes to these questions, it’s well worth exploring more:

  • Does failing cause you to worry about what others think of you?
  • Is the idea of failing cause you to doubt your abilities to pursue what you desire?
  • Would you think less of yourself in terms of intelligence and ability to achieve if you failed?
  • Do you make a habit of telling people you have low expectations you’ll succeed so others think less of you?
  • Do you ever experience headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms on the last minute before finishing your preparations for something?

By this point it’s worth asking one more question:

When was the last time you experienced any of those symptoms?

If there isn’t a huge gap in time when you experienced any of those things, you may be experiencing fear of failure. The reason is that it’s natural for us to experience those things from time to time. However, if we experience these on a regular basis when we are pursuing something, then perhaps it is due to fear of failure.

So what can we do about this?

Failure is not that bad. You get the chance to learn and grow after all.

How To Overcome Fear Of Failure

Whether it’s part of our natural course of life or we are experiencing fear of failure, it can be overcome. There are plenty of ways we can overcome it ourselves it is really bad I suggest seeking a mental health professional to help you.

Below are a few simple suggestions that can very well change your life around.

Failure is not that bad. You get the chance to learn and grow after all.

Tactics To Overcome Fear Of Failure

  1. Own your fear. I’ve said before that fear is like a mentor. A harsh one, but still one nevertheless. What fear drives us to do in the end is to own our fear and what that means is to simply accept it and talk about it. When you understand why exactly you have this fear in the first place, you can tackle it a lot better. I know for myself whenever I feel stuck, talking to someone can help me out tremendously.
  2. Focus on elements you can control. It’s easy for us to feel that fear is caused by outside sources that we have no control over, but that’s just fear talking. It’s not out of the ordinary for fear to make us think that our answer is something that we simply can’t achieve. Instead, try to find a counter-argument to your excuses that you create and justify your failures. If you can’t find a job because you don’t have many connections, then figure out a way to change that. Set goals where you encourage yourself to go on LinkedIn or Facebook and make new friends and connections there.
  3. Normalize your fear. Throughout this article I’ve suggested that the fear that we experience is natural and it is. It’s normal for us to feel fear whether it’s from failure or from other things. This tip is similar to owning our fear and accepting it, but I’d go a step further with it. Normalizing our fear is like normalizing fear in general. It’s another tool for us to learn and grow from. This is how I normalize the fears that I have, by reminding myself that fear is a tool to grow, and affirming myself that I got this.

Fear of failure can be overcome just like anything else. All you need is the right tools.


Failure is part of the process and in the end failure provides us with great opportunities to grow and develop ourselves. We never really learn anything if we accept the failure and make no changes.

So remind yourself that you got this because you truly do.

To your development!

Eric S Burdon

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