What is Fear Of Failure

What is Fear Of Failure


Have you ever been so afraid of failing that you decide to not even try? Has a fear of failure caused you to miss out on some great learning chances, or possibly even other work prospects?

Chances are yes at some point in your life. I know I have felt this a few times over the years – especially during university exam time, and interestingly, when it came to naming my children, and periodically as a momprenuer…!!! Before I knew about this, it was overwhelming to me and would cause me to shut down a little.

Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many of us to sabotage our own chances for success. Which inevitably leads to missed opportunities.

Since we know fear is part of human nature, understanding it can be really helpful. Over the next weeks, let’s break it down together and share our tips on how to overcome this pesky part of life.

What is Fear of Failure?

Fear at it’s root is what tells us there is danger, to stop or change ways, to avoid potentially harmful situations. It is meant to protect us and when we understand that, we can use it properly. Because yes, there are some situations you should avoid!

But when that fear crosses over into a deep fear of failure that prevents you from trying… well then there is where the problem starts.

There are 4 main causes to fear of failure in adults in my opinion.

  1. Childhood Traumas – our parents may have done the best they could, but certain behaviors caused trauma like effects in our brains creating damaging mindsets. We learn to doubt ourselves and if we don’t have a good understanding of fear, our fear of failure can be dominant and paralyzing.
  2. A Negative Mindset – There are 2 ways to look at the word failure. A. Failure is a life lesson meant to show you something and push you in another way or B. Failure is bad and you should just quit and never try again. I have always chosen A. I like learning and it’s ok when it goes awry… But for many, the ego leads us to over-identify with the failure, obsess almost. Preventing us from seeing all the positives that went into it and how we can try again in a better way. It is a choice…
  3. The Perfectionist – most parents go through this at some point, I for sure have. This is often at the root of the fear of failure. When we are trying so hard to be perfect that anything less would be so humiliating we can convince ourselves right out of even trying. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying to the perfectionist and fear of failure wins almost every time.
  4. False Self-Confidence – truly confident people know they will not always succeed and they are ok with it. In fact, they find the lessons in their failures and get right back to it. Yet a person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks and lets their fear of failure win preferring to play it safe.

I’m guessing you identify with at least one of these underlying causes of fear of failure, I know I do!

Being aware is key. Think about all of the things your fear of failure has held you back from. Like the joy of earning a good grade for hard effort, even if it is not an A+. Or the missed opportunities to be part of healthy work and family environments. Lastly the loss of your creativity as your fear of failure represses your naturally amazing ideas and talents. Try journaling about this this week and explore what your fear of failure is holding you back from.

Focus on identifying where yours fears are based. Next week I will share tips on overcoming the fear of failure with my step-by-step guide! I can’t wait to talk to you then!


Malibu Mama Loves Xx

Author: malibumamaloves

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