How Fear of Failure Can Prevent You from Taking Action

October 5, 2018 |

As humans, we all have that one thing which we dread. It may come in form of physical things like flying insects or heights, or abstract things like speaking in a crowd or trying new things. However, the fear of failure is an intense fear you may experience ever so often, which prevents you from taking action and leaving you stuck. Having this particular fear reduces your capabilities to reach for goals which are not within your safe zones.

What Exactly Is The Fear Of Failure?

Atychiphobia, which is the fear of failure, is that constant feeling or thought that prevents you from doing things which may help you achieve your set goals. For instance, because of your fear of failure, you may find yourself avoiding leadership roles, where you bear the consequences if things go bad. You will also find out that you settle for goals which are well within your reach, rather than take on a task or project whose outcome you are unsure about.

Furthermore, having a fear of failure causes you to intentionally conjure obstacles so that when things go haywire, you can have something to blame it on. It is a process called self-handicapping, and it is typical of people who have this fear. However, fear of failure does even more damage to you than the mental aspect.

You may find out that you are always physically and emotionally drained, having low energy and experiencing a feeling of dissatisfaction with your life. Fear of failure may also leave you in a constant state of hopelessness and chronic worry, which can prevent you from functioning optimally, in other aspects of your life.

Ways in Which Fear of Failure Prevents You from Achieving Your Goals

According to several studies, the consequences of failure are oftentimes what prevents you from taking action and reaching your fullest potential. Some of the reasons why you may have an obsessive fear of failure and how it prevents you from doing what needs to be done to achieve your goals, are explained below.

1.    You Feel Embarrassed If/When You Fail

One of the major ways in which the fear of failure prevents you from taking action is your fear of being embarrassed if or when you fail. You think that the shame you may face when you fail might be too much for you to bear, so you will rather just avoid doing it in the first place. For instance, you will rather not attempt going to college than dropout halfway through, because of the shame or embarrassment you may face. It is also why you may not start your weight loss journey at all, than to be labeled as the person who failed to lose weight.

2.    You Think You Do Not Have What It Takes To Succeed

People usually attach attained success to their self-worth. Thus, when such people fail, they feel that they are unworthy, and do not have what it takes to succeed. This can, therefore, prevent them from attempting tasks in the future which they are not confident about. This is another way in which fear of failure prevent you from reaching greater heights. So you will rather reach for those goals within your reach or not try at all because you are more comfortable with not attempting at all than to attempt and find out you lack what it takes.

3.    You Feel You Will Become Irrelevant

Another reason why you may have a fear of failure is that you feel people will lose interest in you if you fail, and you will become irrelevant to the society. So, you are wary of failing, in order to remain relevant and influential within your social cycle, especially as society tends to only associate with successful people.

4.    You Do Not Want to Let People Down

Failing, for many people, means letting down people close to them. So such people shy away from challenges because of this. There is a fear that your family, close friends, employers, teachers, etc. might feel let down by you when you fail. So rather than have them disappointed in you, you would rather not be in a situation where failure is a possibility.

5.    You Have a Lot to Lose

You might have a fear of failure because of what you risk losing if your fail. For instance, if you fail a class, you might have to retake it, which will cost you a lot of money. Also, if your business fails, it would mean that you have wasted your hard earned money and time. So, because of the risks involved, you will choose not to take on any new challenge.

These reasons are some of the ways the fear of failure keeps you boxed in and holds you back from taking the necessary actions that will help you achieve your goals. Understanding them is the first step in overcoming your fear of failure, and stepping out of your comfort zone.

If you are battling the fear of failure, and need assistance overcoming it, you can reach out to me for help. I’m a certified life coach, who can help you identify the particular cause of your fear and develop a clear action plan for achieving your goals. You can schedule a free consultation here or call me directly on 702-625-1441