For some people, failure is the worst thing in the world. It’s a feeling worse than death for others. And for others still, it’s wonderful! Failure means something different to us all. Most people look at failure as the end of the world, but those with the potential to be movers and shakers see failure as the incredible learning opportunity that it is.
Fear of failure comes from someplace different for everyone as well. It could be from a childhood mistake that has since manifested into adulthood. It could also be a result from personal relationships. Whatever the underlying cause, there are a few things to look out for to tell if you’re afraid of failure.
Self-sabotage is a major marker for fear of failure. The person might tend to procrastinate more than most people, have anxiety attacks, and otherwise shoot themselves in the foot. They might stop dressing or acting professionally, or perform poorly at work.
Others exhibit a reluctance to change or embrace different ways of doing things. They worry they won’t be able to keep up with the change and instead revert to old systems that might be outdated and will inevitably lead to self-sabotage once they can’t perform work tasks adequately.
A person who is afraid of failure is also a hyper-critical perfectionist with low self-esteem. They obsess over minute details and over react when they make mistakes. They lecture themselves for falling below par and not being “good enough.” This kind of self-abuse is very serious and could indicate a more serious issue like depression.
But all is not lost! Overcoming a fear of failure starts at the source. The person has to simply have in their arsenal a sort of hypothetical preparedness kit. The kit should include:
1. Options. If failure happens, they should have options for the next step to take to overcome the failed attempt and analyze the possible outcome for each option so they can adapt more quickly next time.
2. Positive thought. They need to be more forgiving and remind themselves that they will do better “next time” and that it’s okay to not be perfect.
3. Reminders: it could have been worse. So you didn’t succeed this time. What is Plan B? How will you do better?
Just look at some of these famous failures and how they adapted to succeed after trying again!