Could It Be Fear of Failure?

Atychiphobia: The persistent fear of failure. Phobias are irrational fears related to specific objects or situations. People who have atychiphobia all react differently. There can be boy physical and emotional symptoms that are similar to other phobias. They are generally brought on by thinking about various situations and results if you were to fail.

Do You Suffer From The Fear of Failure?

I have suffered from the fear of failure all my life. My motivation to avoid failure far exceeds my motivation to succeed. I have avoided so much in my life because of it, that it has landed me where I am today. Without a job, back in my parent’s basement at the age of 55.  Now it’s time for me to face that fear head-on and become the person I have always imagined myself to be.

This fear can cause a person to unconsciously sabotage their chances of success in a variety of ways.

The fear of failure doesn’t necessarily fear failure. To me, it’s more a fear of shame.

People who suffer this fear of failure aren’t managing the underlying emotions of disappointment, anger, and frustration that generally accompany failure. Instead, they feel deep shame.

10 Possible Signs You Suffer From Fear Of Failure

  1. Does failing make you worry about what others think of you?
  2. Do you worry about being capable of pursuing your goals?
  3. Does failure make you worry about if others will lose interest in you?
  4. Does failure make you question your intelligence or abilities?
  5. Do you worry about who will be disappointed if you fail?
  6. Do you tell others you don’t expect to succeed to lower expectations?
  7. After a failure, do you have trouble imagining how you could have done it differently?
  8. Do you suffer from last-minute illnesses such as stomach aches or headaches that prevent you from preparing?
  9. Do you get distracted by things that keep you from preparation, then in hindsight, they weren’t as urgent as they seemed?
  10. Do you procrastinate and “run out of time” to complete your preparation adequately?

These aren’t official diagnostics, but Dr. Guy Winch, Ph.D. (Psychology Today, The Squeaky Wheel), feels that if you identify with these markers with a very, you might want to examine the issue further.

Why Do We Fear Failure?

Fear is a mechanism of self-protection. But that fear can sometimes become an obstacle that stands between us and our goals -Theo Tsaousides, Ph. D.

While fear of failure is an emotional reaction, it can have physical consequences such as headaches. Intense worry and negative thinking lead to a reluctance to take action. The horrible things that could happen become overwhelming, and we lose sight of the goal or achievement.

Failure ultimately influences the types of goals we end up pursuing. People like myself with a high dose of fear of failure, focus on preventing loss over achieving gains.

As a result of fear of failure, standards will be lowered. We know that we can do these types of things well, but it’s safer to take the road most traveled.

To me, failing is embarrassing. And embarrassment is shame. What will people think of me? Will they think I’m not smart enough? Not skinny enough? Not pretty enough? Not worthy enough? These thoughts go through my head and intensity to the point I don’t take action.

Having what it takes.

Success is measured or interpreted into self-worth. If they fail at something, then they take on the feeling of not being smart or talented enough to be successful. As a result, they also choose the easier route. The more comfortable goal is less painful than finding out they aren’t good enough to achieve the original intent.

Letting Others Down

Many feel this way, as well. By fearing failure, many people worry about those around them and what they may thing. If you’re unable to achieve your goal, you fear your family, boss, or friends will be disappointed in you.

There’s A Lot To Lose

What if your business fails? What if you lose your savings? Your livelihood fails? All your time and effort has gone to waste. What are you going to do if it fails? It’s all terrifying, and the fear of failure may take over and be disguised as being cautious. But in reality, it was the paralyzing fear of failure, not caution that stopped them from launching.

These are all very legitimate fears of failure, and we all feel them at one time or another. But to some, it can take over and prevent them from achieving what can be the smallest of goals to others.

Having a Safety Net

Fear of failure may keep you safe, but it also keeps you from moving forward.

Trying new things is something you will not be able to do if you fear failure. Here is an example:

Sometimes I fear little things like a new recipe. What if my family or I don’t like it? Then what? I’ve failed, and they will be disappointed in me. There is also the fact that time and money have been wasted on something that no one likes. As a result, nothing new tried, even though it really could be delish.

Instead, what I should do is go ahead and make the recipe. Because if I don’t, we will never know if we like it or not. By not jumping in and trying something new, we don’t grow as people. Besides, if it is terrible, there’s always a PB&J to fall back on.

The same thing goes for me and getting a job or starting a new business.  I lost my job several months ago and haven’t been able to find work since then. My fantastic resume gets me into the door for interviews with no results. Being capable of telling people with confidence that I can do the job and do it well is something I have always had trouble with. My excuse is that I’m not one to brag about myself. But in reality, it seems that I’m sabotaging myself when I think this way. I know I can do the job, but now I need to go beyond and tell others that I can do what it says on my resume and much much more!

I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the fear of failure or this article. Please feel free to leave me a comment below.




10 thoughts on “Could It Be Fear of Failure?

  1. Hi Carrie,

    Yes, it’s feeling like you’re talking to me! I’m quite busy at times, but sometimes I’m busy with the wrong things in order to be busy to avoid the things that I should be doing!

    I think a lot of people also fear of starting with something, due to the fact that they’re perfectionists and fear of messing it up the first time. I can relate! Then again, how will one learn if you don’t mess up at all. We all have to start somewhere, and even the best experts, had to start at the bottom.

    Thank you for your article. Some serious introspection triggered.

    1. Before researching this, I never realized what my problem was, or actually I did, but took it as a lack of confidence and others saw it as my being snooty and thinking just the opposite of how I really feel. 

      Now I need to go forward and figure out how to fix this problem.


  2. Hey nice article you have there. Your points are indeed invaluable. Fear is one thing I have battled with for ages, it really cause more harm to me then than good. I started reading books about courage. It really help me to fight against fear. 60% of unsuccessful people you see today is a victim of fear, there were afraid to make that decision and take that bold step to be one successful.

  3. Hello thanks so much for this inspiring Post,  fear is something that can keep on in the box all their life and cause one not to become all that they are designed to be, moreover the fear of failure is the beginning of failure, this post is really a post in due season especially now due to the covid 19 pandemic a lot of people are gripped in fear of what the future holds but be of good cheers. This too will pass.

    1. I also see it as a way to put myself out there without dealing with people face to face. I’m hoping that if I can crush this then I can move back out into the real world and out of my comfort zone.


  4. Truly said, fear is the greatest enemy within us..Fear makes you take a step back for you are just a step away from success…fear drains the zeal inside that pushes your to make that bold step that could change your life for good…
    Am really intrigued by your words and tips to over come fear…you must be great in what in do…am lucky to stumble into this article…wish to see more of your articles soon

    1. Thank you, I plan to write a continuation of this. I would like to learn to improve on myself and be the best I can be. Sounds easy right? LOL!


  5. Hello there! I really want to appreciate you for this article, this is something I could relate to.

    I always have cold feet trying something new, always afraid of venturing and I have lost out on so many opportunities due to it. I am always conscious of what people say about me and at such, I limit myself! Infact from your article,I see the need to improve on myself. 

    Thanks so much.

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