overcome fear of failure

Atychiphobia: How to Overcome Fear of Failure

If you suffer from Atychiphobia or a fear of failure then you are experiencing an irrational worry or fear where part of your mind tells you that you are going to be unable to succeed. This irrational fear can start to impact your life and prevent you from doing relatively simple tasks in case you were to fail or get things wrong. If this fear becomes too big it can severely hamper your ability to create success. Learning how to overcome the fear of failure is something that we work with regularly in therapy so that our clients can redefine failure, stop negative thoughts and reach their potential.

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The Psychology of Failure

Fear of failure is not something that you are born with. In fact, when you were a young child you would have failed time and time again. As an example when you learned to walk you fell down a number of times before finally mastering standing on your own unaided. When you learned your numbers you would have got them wrong a number of times before you were able to count. So without a doubt, you have a natural ability to succeed already hard wired into your mind when you are born. Then something comes along that sowed the seeds of doubt into your mind and suddenly everything changed.

Fear of Failure Phobia

That incident or person made you question yourself and your abilities and before you know you started to feel anxiety, worry, stress and fear. Fear of failure phobia is a form of anxiety disorder that gives us feelings of fear or worry to keep us safe. The only problem is that most of the issues that you are trying to avoid don’t have a huge dangerous consequence even though your mind may be telling you the opposite. The trick with fear of failure therapy is to help your mind to process your thoughts differently so that the fear fades away.

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What Starts a Fear of Failure?

So what possible incidents could start fear of failure? Well here are just some simple reasons why this problem begins.

  • You were in a situation where you embarrassed yourself and this created performance anxiety or a worry of being judged
  • You learned to be a perfectionist to please someone
  • You created a belief that you are not good enough or deserving of success
  • You experienced a rejection that created the phobia
  • You experienced a trauma that created an extreme fear
  • You learned the consequences of not trying were not as bad as getting things wrong

We can address each of these possible reasons for a fear of failure but what you need to know is that you are likely to have created this fear when you were young. Typically around the ages of 3 to 7 years old. At that point in your life whatever the problem, incident or person that started the problem you have significantly better coping mechanisms now as an adult than you ever had as a child.

Fear of Failure Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a problem that is often seen with a fear of failure. The worry is that if you don’t do something perfectly right then you are going to have failed the task. As an example, if I write an essay and only get 80% instead of 100% then I will have failed. I then start to panic about doing this work in case I don’t meet expectations.

Therapy to learn how to overcome atychiphobia would look at why there was a need for this perfectionism. Typically a parent or a teacher may have set too high standards for you when you were a child and when you didn’t get the best marks they either shouted at you or showed their disappointment. In this example, the child would have worried the next time they came to do their homework in case they suffered the same consequences.

Fear of Failure / Atychiphobia Procrastination

With the fear of failure comes procrastination, it becomes easier to try and avoid doing certain tasks completely. The person with the persistent fear will continue to put off whatever it is they need to do until the absolute last minute in case they get things wrong. One of our clients repeatedly would spend hours working late at their company writing and rewriting reports trying to make them better each time and worrying about imagined possible criticism from their manager.

Other reasons for atychiphobia procrastination can also come into play. Problems with siblings, teachers, parents can all set off this fear and negative evaluation of ourselves. It becomes easier to try and put off completing the task because the consequences of that seem less severe to the mind than doing something that may be criticised.

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Social Phobia and Atyciphobia

Social phobia is a fear of embarrassing yourself or being judged by others. Fear of failure can be linked to this problem. For example, if you were a child and spent ages preparing a project for your homework. You arrive in the class and show it off to your friends and everyone starts to laugh at you because you had got it wrong and misunderstood what you needed to do. The humiliation from that moment can start to make you fear that you will make a similar mistake in the future starting the worry about failure.

Trauma and Fear of Failure

Trauma can also lead to worries about failing. This trauma could have been large or a relatively small issue that seemed huge to you as a child. When we experience trauma our fight or flight instincts begin to kick in and create anxiety. Therapy to overcome this trauma and improve mental health is important to change the way you think.

One that we see frequently is from clients who were never shown love or encouragement as a child. In fact, in many cases, they were told that they were stupid or would never be successful. The words their parents or guardians used with them start to create feelings of not being good enough and create low self-esteem. Therefore if they make a mistake there is a belief that they were not worthy of success anyway. Fear of failure begins because any negative experience in relation to a task is then associated with a belief they are not good enough to succeed.

How do You Resolve a Fear of Failure?

In order to overcome a fear of failure, you need to change the way in which you think both in your conscious and subconscious mind. You can try self-help methods to make a difference or look for online therapy for a fear of failure to help you create positive changes. Our online self-help course for anxiety addresses fear, worry and negative thinking. You are guided through videos to help change the way in which you think. There are also audio downloads contained in the course that can help you to think differently. You can purchase the course in our online store:

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Here are some other methods that may be used to help you alter how you think:

Mistakes are Ok

There is never a need to fear making a mistake or thinking of the worst-case scenario because everything we get wrong is a learning process. In fact, just about everyone out there who has created real success has done it by failing first. Neil Armstrong didn’t fly to the moon on his first trip. He spent years learning to be a test pilot first. Famously he had to eject from the lunar landing probe in training to save his life. Apple didn’t create the iPod on their first attempt at creating a new music device. They would have gone through many prototypes first. Recognising that mistakes can help you to adjust and make things better is an important step to help you overcome a fear of failure.

Success and Failure are Not Black and White

When we are children we often use what is called black and white thinking. A child may think of themselves are bad or good but never think about the shades of grey that are between those two places. As a child, we are unable to understand more complex ways of thinking but as an adult, we have to recognise that there are more than two possibilities, success or failure. You can get 60% in an exam as an example and still pass. You can make a mistake and still have a successful outcome. Alexander Fleming didn’t invent penicillin through deliberate lab work but because he left his dirty Petri dishes to one side whilst he went on a trip. When he returned he noticed that one didn’t have mould all over it and so he discovered this groundbreaking drug purely by accident.

Use of Positive Imagery

In a strange way, we become what we think. If we say to ourselves that we can’t succeed and our attempts will be rubbish we make that happen. Learning to change the way you think can inspire you to greatness. Look at Mohammed Ali who told himself that he was the greatest. He used positive thinking to imagine himself being exactly that, winning fights and becoming a world champion. You become what you think so start to visualise success. The more you practice the more it can help change a negative attitude.

Concentrate on What you Can Control

Having a blanket fear of failure makes no sense because there are many things that we can control. If you are about to attend a job interview then you can’t always control exactly what you are going to be asked but you can control other factors. You can research the company and the managers. You can get your friends and family to run through practise questions with you in the weeks leading up to the interview. On the day of the interview, you can make sure you are smartly dressed and groomed so you look the part. All of these individual items start to stack the odds up in your favour and help you to become a more successful person.

Move From Your Comfort Zone

If you want to learn how to overcome a fear of failure and learned helplessness you need to move out of your comfort zone. Anxiety keeps people trapped in a narrow area of perceived safety. Yet this is entirely artificial and not real. Start to resolve to stretch the boundaries of this comfort zone a little further each day. The more you start to move out of your zone of comfort the less the anxiety starts to become.

Fear of Failure Hypnosis to Find The Root Cause

Fear of Failure hypnosis can help you to understand why you may have a phobia of failure. Learning the underlying reason for a problem can totally change the way you think and enable you to challenge your thoughts. Rationalising the way in which we think can make a big difference because when we understand that our old coping mechanisms serve no purpose we can simply stop using them automatically.

Fear of failure hypnosis may help where other therapies fail because whilst you are in a trance-like state your mind is more able to remember incidents from the past and create connections to the present.

Is There an Atychiphobia Test?

When it comes to phobias or anxieties the only person who should make a diagnosis is a medically trained professional such as a Doctor. There is no atychiphobia test that we are aware of that would give you great results however with any form of anxiety you need to ask yourself a couple of simple questions.

Firstly is the fear of getting some wrong or failing so bad that it is detrimentally impacting your life? If it is then seeing a doctor or a therapist to get help makes sense.

Secondly would your life change for the better if you did not have this fear? Again if the answer is yes then arranging to see someone to help is a sensible option.

Fear of Failure Quotes

Positive affirmations and repeating these quotes can also help to alter anxiety. Here are some of the most famous quotes about a fear of failure.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. – Suzy Kassem

Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears. – Rudyard Kipling

It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. – Theodore Roosevelt

All these people knew that fear should be recognised but to never allow it to take over your life and stop you from achieving your goals.

Online Atychiphobia Treatment

Don’t be afraid to fail when help is available to help change the way you think. Therapy to help you overcome a fear of failure is an atychiphobia treatment that can help you to transform your life and the way you think. There is never a reason to live in fear with anxiety disorders when therapy for atychiphobia can help. We run a four-session online program to help you manage anxiety and reduce its physical symptoms. To arrange your anxiety program simple contact us using the form below.

You Might Also Want to Read:

10 Benefits of Teletherapy for Anxiety

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

How to Develop Self-Belief

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Martina McKeough
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How to Overcome Fear of Failure
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How to Overcome Fear of Failure
What is a fear of failure and how do you overcome it? Find out the best ways to conquer this form of anxiety with online therapy and self-help.
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Rewire The Mind
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