How to overcome the fear of failing

Causes & 10 Ways to Cope With Atychiphobia

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Published: January 24, 2022 Updated: September 30, 2022

Published: 01/24/2022 Updated: 09/30/2022

Fear of failure, also called atychiphobia, is a constant, overwhelming feeling of dread that accompanies the undertaking of projects or pursuit of life goals. People who live with atychiphobia often feel absolutely certain they will fail, even if that feeling is baseless. This sense of insecurity can interfere with their thoughts, emotions, and actions.

When kept in check, a healthy fear of failure can be positive and lead us to better plan, focus, and prepare. But when a fear of failure grows out of control it can become paralyzing and isolating.

Fear of failure can be paralyzing. A therapist can help you be more comfortable taking risks. BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

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What Is the Fear of Failure?

Fear of failure, or atychiphobia, involves the belief that you are not or will not be “good enough,” and that you’ll disappoint yourself or other people in your life.1 It is far more than being afraid to do poorly on a task, and instead is an all-encompassing reaction to the notion that you won’t measure up. Fear of failure involves extreme worry, negative thoughts, and a hesitation or unwillingness to work toward a task or goal.

These unpleasant feelings associated with the fear of failure exist on a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. When mild, anxiety such as the fear of failure can be motivating, providing positive stress and encouraging people to persist and achieve their goals.2 When severe, atychiphobia can interfere in life and stop people in their tracks, rendering them unable to take action toward a goal, and potentially lead to other forms of anxiety, like a fear of work. It’s closely connected with procrastination and perfectionism, other sets of beliefs and actions that can prevent people from moving forward.1,3

Signs of atychiphobia include procrastination, worry, hopelessness, and even physical symptoms like fatigue or headaches. A little bit of worry about the outcome of a project or what people might think is perfectly normal, but becomes a problem when it keeps you from working toward a goal.

Here are seven signs that you’re experiencing an intense fear of failure:4

  1. A sense of hopelessness about the future
  2. Chronic (versus occasional or limited) worry
  3. Concerns about what others will think of you if you fail or don’t do well
  4. Frequent procrastination
  5. High distractibility, being pulled off task by irrelevant or unimportant things
  6. Avoiding tasks or people associated with a project or general goal
  7. Physical symptoms (fatigue, headaches, digestive troubles, joint or muscle pain) that prevent working toward a goal

Causes of Atychiphobia

Fear of failure can develop at any time in life, but like other phobias, it follows a pattern of contributors that include biological and environmental conditions, like experiencing a traumatic event or having parents who put pressure on you to be a high achiever.

Four of the most common causes of fear of failure include:

1. Patterns Learned From Parents

Parents have tremendous influence over their children in terms of fear of failure. Children whose parents are overprotective or place a very high value on accomplishments and success could increase the odds of their child developing a fear of failure.5

2. Traumatic Life Experiences and High Stress

High stress and traumatic experiences are linked to a variety of mental health conditions, and fear of failure is no different. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or emotional neglect are all possible causes of atychiphobia.5

3. Genetic & Biological Issues

Parents can affect a fear phobia through their actions and communications, but they can also influence the condition through their biological makeup and genes, as anxiety has a genetic component. When a parent or other close relative has a phobia, the child will be much more likely to have the same anxiety. 5

4. Perfectionism

Someone with an intense and unmanaged need for perfectionism could see a fear of failure develop as a related outcome. If people are so set on presenting themselves as perfect, any failure will be unacceptable and greatly feared.

The Impacts & Consequences of Atychiphobia

Atychiphobia can be paralyzing, causing people to shut down, believing that there’s no point in trying to accomplish something. The fear of failure can lead to missed opportunities and problems in daily life.3 It can affect someone’s outlook, creating an approach to tasks that involves extreme caution in order to prevent loss instead of a success orientation with actions designed to meet a goal. Extreme fear of failure can affect mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Other impacts of atychiphobia include:4,6

  • Avoidance of tasks, projects, opportunities, and even other people (out of perceived negative judgments and a sense of shame or disappointment)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-efficacy (the belief in your own abilities)
  • Decreased resilience (making it difficult to recover from setbacks)
  • Learned helplessness (thoughts of powerlessness or lack of control)
  • Underachievement
  • High anxiety in other areas of life
  • Emotional upheaval and instability
  • Self-sabotaging or self-handicapping behavior (such as procrastination or purposefully giving something very little effort in order to have an excuse for failure or something to blame other than a lack of ability)

BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

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10 Tips for Overcoming the Fear of Failure

If you are dealing with the fear of failure, these ten tips could help:

1. Identify & Clarify Your Thoughts, Feelings, & Actions

Understanding and pinpointing why you are afraid of failing and how failing might truly affect you helps you face your fears.7 This insight is also useful to identify precisely how the fear of failure is impacting your behavior.

For example, are you overstriving or working frantically—not to achieve success but simply to avoid the consequences you think might happen if you fail? Or, are you engaging in self-protective behaviors such as procrastination or avoidance to give yourself a reason to explain away failure?4 Once you’ve identified stressful or self-sabotaging behaviors, you can change your actions to make success more likely.

2. Redefine What Failure Actually Is

An important part of overcoming fear of failure is developing a new perspective about the idea of failure. Instead of seeing failure as an absolute, life-destroying disaster, develop a new relationship with it.

Shift your thinking so that you begin to see failure as:7,8

  • Feedback—a chance to learn and grow
  • A lesson, because reflecting on past failures to find their benefits can help you be more open to failure as a teacher now
  • A surmountable challenge that provides an opportunity to move forward rather than a road block stopping you in your path
  • A fleeting or impermanent situation, not a permanent end to your path

3. Redefine Success

Sometimes people spend so much energy and time trying not to fail that they forget to succeed. Think about what you really desire and decide if your fear of failing is standing in the way of true achievement.

4. Boost Your Self Esteem

While you are developing a new perspective about failure and its role in your life, also shift your thoughts about yourself. Boosting your belief in yourself and your abilities is a key part of overcoming fear of failure.4 Rather than ruminating about your perceived shortcomings, focus instead on your inherent strengths and talents you bring to your work or school.

5. Give Yourself Permission to Fail

While at first giving yourself permission to fail may feel terrifying, it can be liberating.9 Ask yourself what would be the worst possible outcome of failure. Would you survive? Quite likely, you’ll discover that, while perhaps unpleasant, you would survive your imagined worst-case-scenario and continue to move forward.

6. Plan to Fail

Thinking about failing is one thing, while committing to failure is something completely different. Find a situation or scenario where you can control the outcome and dedicate yourself to failing.

It could be a school test or just a game night with friends. One of the best ways to cope with failure is to actively expose yourself to it.

7. Break Your Project Into Smaller Tasks

Sometimes, dread of failing looms large when tasks or goals are overwhelming. Breaking down daunting projects into manageable chunks can help you feel more in-control.8 It can also help to reflect on aspects of success that are within your control so you can make effective choices and actions to set yourself up for achievement.4

8. Change What’s Not Working

List your typical work habits and approaches to tasks. Then, be honest with yourself in evaluating what works well for you and what gets in your way. Choose to do more of what works and replace what doesn’t work for you with different actions. This reflection and decision-making process will help you feel in control of your tasks and yourself, something that can be motivating and empowering.

9. Stay as Focused as You Can to Block Out Negative Thoughts

It’s difficult to concentrate on what you are doing right now, in your present moment, when your mind is whirring with negative self-talk about what is already over or what might or might not happen in the future. Focusing on the task at hand in any given moment helps you keep abreast of your current actions rather than ruminating over thoughts and feelings about imagined consequences and perceived shortcomings.4

10. Establish a Calm Body & Mind

Phobias are anxiety disorders, which means they feed off of resting levels of stress, worry, and tension. To combat this, actively practice relaxation techniques and find calm.

Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation are all wonderful ways to decrease stress. At the same time, place more emphasis on your diet, sleep, and exercise to get your body in its best state.

Professional Treatment for Atychiphobia

When you notice that the fear of failure is disrupting your life, reaching out for help could be beneficial.10 Visiting with your physician or mental health professional can help you learn more about your own fear of failure and develop positive ways to overcome it so that it no longer interferes in your life.

Sometimes, if anxiety is high or you are also experiencing a mood disorder like depression, your physician may suggest medication to help with your brain and body’s neurochemical activity.6 Medication alone, however, doesn’t treat fear of failure.

Working with a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral approaches can be helpful in exploring your fear of failure, coping with related stress, and identifying and letting go of negative beliefs and emotions underlying the fear.6 Mindfulness interventions (like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) have also been shown to help people deal with and overcome fear of failure.10

How to Find a Therapist

Finding a therapist can seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. You can ask your primary-care physician for recommendations, or trusted friends or family members could also have suggestions for you. You can also use an online therapist directory to help you locate professionals in your area.

Additional Resources

Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional wellness. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy may be compensated for referrals by the companies mentioned below.

BetterHelp (Online Therapy) – Are your fears or phobias negatively impacting your life? BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you. Get Started (Online Therapy) – Don’t let fears stop you from living a fulfilling life. The standard plan includes a weekly 45 minute video session, unlimited text messaging between sessions, and self-guided activities like journaling. Recently, they added instructional Yoga videos. Get Started (App) – Mindfulness and meditation can change your life. In a few minutes a day with, you can start developing mindfulness and meditation skills. Free Trial

Choosing Therapy’s Directory – Find an experienced therapist who has your best interests in mind. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance, and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you find the right fit. Find a therapist today.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp,, and

For Further Reading

  • Harvard Business Review
  • UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: Overcoming Fear of Failure at Work
  • UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: How to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Failure
  • Krishnamurti Foundation

10 sources

Choosing Therapy strives to provide our readers with mental health content that is accurate and actionable. We have high standards for what can be cited within our articles. Acceptable sources include government agencies, universities and colleges, scholarly journals, industry and professional associations, and other high-integrity sources of mental health journalism. Learn more by reviewing our full editorial policy.

  • American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Fear of failure. APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from

  • Strack, J., Lopes, P, Esteves, I., & Fernandez-Berrocal, P. (2017). Must we suffer to succeed? When anxiety boosts motivation and performance. Journal of Individual Differences, 38: 113-124. Retrieved from

  • Rowa, K. (2015). Atychiphobia (Fear of Failure). In I. Milosevic & R. E. McCabe (Eds.), Phobias: The psychology of irrational fear. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.

  • Martin, A.J. & Marsh, H. (2003, March). Fear of failure: Friend or foe? Australian Psychologist, 38(1): 31-38. Retrieved from

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

  • Cohen, E. (n.d.). Fear of failure. Dr. Eliana Cohen Psychology Corporation. Retrieved from

  • Davis, T. (2018., March).Three ways to overcome fear of failure at work. Greater Good Magazine: Greater Good Science Center. Retrieved from

  • Lamon, L. (2018, April). The psychological fear of failure (guest post). AnxietyUK. Retrieved from

  • Benninger, M. (2019, Ma).The psychology behind your fear of failure. Blinkist Magazine. Retrieved from

  • Peterson, T.J. (2016). Break free: Acceptance and commitment therapy in 3 steps. Berkeley, CA: Althea Press

update history

We regularly update the articles on to ensure we continue to reflect scientific consensus on the topics we cover, to incorporate new research into our articles, and to better answer our audience’s questions. When our content undergoes a significant revision, we summarize the changes that were made and the date on which they occurred. We also record the authors and medical reviewers who contributed to previous versions of the article. Read more about our editorial policies here.

  • Originally Published: December 31, 2020
    Original Author: Tanya J. Peterson, NCC, DAIS
    Original Reviewer: Naveed Saleh, MD, MS

  • Updated: January 24, 2022
    Author: No Change
    Reviewer: No Change
    Primary Changes: Updated for readability and clarity. Added “Causes of Atychiphobia” and added five new tips to “Tips for Overcoming the Fear of Failure.” New material written by Eric Patterson, LPC and reviewed by Dena Westphalen, PharmD.

If you are in need of immediate medical help:


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5 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

For better or worse, there are lots of ways to feel like we’ve failed: the social failure of being rejected, the romantic failure of being dumped, the career failure of being fired. No matter what perceived failure we fear, the possibility of it looms large and makes us do our best possum-playing-dead impression to avoid even trying.

But how to move forward? Here are 5 ways to move past “But what if?”

Method #1: Pinpoint exactly what you’re afraid of.

“What if something goes wrong?” or “People will hate me. ” or “Something bad might happen.” Fears of failure are often vague. And just like in X-Men, when a fear is indistinct and shape-shifting, it’s impossible to conquer.

Therefore, to fight your fear, get specific about what “failure” really means to you. “I’m going to get fired and I’ll have to move back in with my parents” or “I’m going to flub my presentation and the whole office will realize I’m incompetent.” Once your fear is sufficiently narrowed, it becomes much easier to challenge it or plan around it. It might even sound so unlikely that it ceases to be a fear.

Method #2: Answer your “what if?” questions.

“What if I fail my midterm?” “What if I actually get fired?” “What if I get caught doctoring photos and test scores so my kid can get into USC?” Well, OK, maybe that one is uniquely specific, but the question probably should have been asked.

Often we’ll voice our worries with all sorts of “what if” questions. Therefore, to get over your fear of failure, actually answer the question: If your fear came to pass, what would you do? How would you cope? Who could comfort you?

If you’re worried about failing your midterm, think about how you’d cope if that actually happened. You could get help from the TA, plan out a study schedule for the final, and not stay out until 3 a.m. before the next exam. If you’re worried about getting fired, think about how you’d cope if that actually happened: you’d tighten your budget, look for another job, and ask friends and family for connections and opportunities.

When you answer the “what if” question, you work through the worst-case scenario and come out the other side with a plan. Suddenly, you know how you would either rectify the situation or take care of yourself and move on, which instantly makes things less scary.

Method #3: Don't just visualize success.

You heard that right. Conventional wisdom says to get your dream job, picture yourself nailing the interview and putting up your feet in the corner office. To hit your PR, picture yourself crushing it with every mile. Right?

Perhaps not. A series of studies by Gabrielle Oettingen, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg and NYU, challenged that wisdom. For study participants who were looking for a job, anticipating an exam, or facing other challenges or opportunities, having positive fantasies about those things was, on average, associated with lower effort and performance.

Our positive visualizations are idealized versions of our goals—in our mind’s eye, success is total and complete, costs are negligible, exertion is light, and the number of newbie "oopsies" are few. With this idealized image in mind, we may lose motivation to dig deep or focus our energy. Starry-eyed dreamers sometimes forget to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

What to do instead? Oettingen pioneered a technique you might have heard of: mental contrasting. Therefore, in addition to picturing the achievement of your goal, also visualize the obstacles that stand in the way.

For example, imagine the satisfaction of accepting your diploma to "Pomp and Circumstance," but also picture the hours of studying and the number of times you’ll have to resist the urge to scroll through TikTok instead. Do indeed visualize the applause after giving the concert of a lifetime, but focus on the toil of practice and waitressing to make ends meet while launching a career in music.

In short, picture your desired future, but also reflect on the obstacles that stand in the way of that future. When you only do the former, you’re fantasizing. When you only do the latter, you’re perseverating, neither of which balances the drive and hard work that make you succeed.

Method #4: Focus on the process, not the final product.

Shooting for the stars is admirable, but sometimes you have to cool your jets. Setting a punishing, sky-high goal seems like it should fire up your motivation but all it causes is procrastination.

So instead, set a goal about the process, not the end result. Instead of, “Get 100,000 views on this video I made,” try, “Learn all I can about what makes good video content.” Instead of “Get my dream job by May” go for, “Attend three networking events a month. ” Aim for experiences: learning, trying, mastering, rather than just a quantitative endpoint. Indeed, if you aim to experience, you can never go wrong—plus, you come away with truly valuable knowledge. And that is never a failure.

Method #5: Remember failure is fleeting.

When we say we fear failure, what we truly fear is being a failure, which we perceive as something permanent and irredeemable. With the possible exceptions of the Harvey Weinsteins and Enrons of the world, this is incredibly rare.

By contrast, the experience of failure is temporary and changeable. It doesn’t feel good while it’s happening, but you always learn something—and then? You get the opportunity to reinvent yourself. From Bill Clinton to Martha Stewart to General Motors, our society loves a good redemption story.

To wrap up: failure isn’t an end, it’s a stopover. Even if we do fail, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and think about what we learned in the process, like how having sexual relations with that woman or taking private jets to a government bailout might not have been the best move.

So specify what you’re afraid of, answer your "what ifs," visualize your obstacles along with your successes, and go easy on yourself. Failure won’t stand a chance.

How to overcome fear of failure and develop a growth mentality

Millions of people suffer from this condition. Emotional symptoms include feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, panic, and fear. It's atychiphobia, but most people call it the fear of failure, and it's largely instinctive. We are inherently risk averse, what scientists call safety aversion.

In today's world, we rarely face physical risks, and as a result, our brain tries to protect us from things like embarrassment and failure. Our ability to tolerate discomfort, even emotional discomfort, is so low that most of us prefer to eliminate all risks rather than take an alternative path that could bring more benefits. But choosing the safest options is more dangerous than you might think. To succeed, we must change the way we deal with failure.

The need for failure

Google, one of the most innovative companies in history, has attempted to identify the most important characteristics of successful teams. Their study, dubbed "The Aristotle Project," reached out to many people. What did you manage to find out? Psychological safety turned out to be the most important feature of the most productive teams:

“In a team with a high level of psychological safety, participants feel confident when they have to take risks in the presence of each other. They know that none of their colleagues will judge or punish them for making a mistake, asking a question, or suggesting an idea.”

So there is an obvious connection between innovation and willingness to fail. In this era of change, companies that refuse to take risks end up falling behind competitors or going bankrupt. It is very important for survival that the willingness to take risks is an integral part of the culture of the organization. There are many examples in modern history when giant corporations died out like dinosaurs due to lack of innovation.

Some of the most brilliant minds were not only prepared for failure, but also welcomed it.

  • “In my company, failure is an option. If you don't fail, then you're not innovative enough." Elon Musk
  • "Celebrating success is great, but it's more important to learn from failure." Bill Gates
  • “You must be ready to act. You have to be prepared for failure and failure, otherwise you won't achieve much." Steve Jobs

The Importance of Mentality

Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He was admired by millions of fans from around the world. Even people who don't care about baseball might know that he set the record for most home runs. But did you know that he also set the record for most strikeouts?

"The batter had to defend the house, hit the ball like in the sister game of cricket," writes biographer Robert Creamer in his book Babe: The Legend Comes to Life.

“But for Root, the strike-out was a fleeting, albeit disappointing, setback. Protecting the house didn't mean much to him." His style of play completely overturned established ideas about baseball. In an instant, he changed the game, making it the way we know it now.

"Every strike gets me closer to the next home run," Babe Ruth once admitted. For Babe, failure was the tool he used to achieve success.

“Unless you start seeing failure in a positive light, your people won't want to make a big difference,” says Charlene Lee, lead analyst at Prophet's Altimeter. But in order to accept failure and accept it as an integral part of the team’s work, you need to change your mindset. Failure should not be viewed as a series of failures, but as a competitive advantage. In his book The New Psychology of Success. Think and Win,” Carol Dweck identified two mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mentality:

Fixed mindset Growth mentality
Core belief Intelligence is constant Intelligence can be developed
Problems Desire to avoid problems Desire to solve problems
Obstacles Give up easily Persevere in the face of failure
Labor Consider the efforts made useless Seeing effort as a path to excellence
Attitude towards criticism Ignore helpful feedback Learn from criticism
Success of others See others' success as a threat Learn from and be inspired by the success of others

(Chart based on Nigel Holmes chart)

A fixed mindset hinders growth and learning, while a growth mentality helps to perceive failure in a positive way and use it to move forward.

How to Overcome Fear of Failure and Develop a Growth Mindset in Your Organization

1. Take Every Opportunity to Learn

Rejoice in failure, because it gives you the opportunity to learn a useful lesson. After each project, get together with the team and discuss what experience can be used in the future. Invite participants to share which factors worked and which did not. If people are hesitant to share their opinion, start by discussing what you would like to improve on the next project.

As a manager or supervisor, you have an obligation to minimize risks. Help the team understand that you can't insure everything. A series of small failures will help you avoid a major failure in the future. This does not mean that we should strive for them. But it is important to remember that you learn from your mistakes.

2. Share feedback

Feedback is very important to correct your actions. The more often you get them, the better for everyone. Seek feedback from team members on a regular basis and provide feedback yourself whenever possible. By demonstrating your willingness to receive feedback, you set the tone for the entire team so that no one is embarrassed to speak their mind. When everyone learns to give honest feedback, it will become easier for them to receive it.

If you receive constructive feedback, take note of it and let the reviewer know you took advantage of their suggestions. People will be more willing to share honest feedback if it works. Keep in mind that feedback should not be limited to criticism.

3. Praise the process

When things are going well, the performers are usually praised for it. But it is much more important to praise the process that led you to success. In the words of Carol Dweck, “If you believe that intelligence can be developed with some effort, then most likely you will have a positive attitude towards such efforts.”

Even if the project did not end the way you would like, you still look for factors that you can comment on. Emphasize the level of motivation of the team members, praise the teamwork and drive to get things done, or say a few words about the team members' perseverance. This will help your employees not give up and tune in to the best.

4. Fight groupthink

When the fear of failure increases, people begin to hide their thoughts and opinions. They will seek not to change the situation for the better, but to avoid mistakes. The best ideas don't come out of nothing, but are chosen from many others, both successful and unsuccessful. For brainstorming to be productive, give your employees time to generate new ideas. The idea is for each participant to come up with a dozen or so ideas from which you can choose.

Encourage divergent thinking and try to take your time when solving problems. And if the decision is made too quickly, encourage team members to think as big as possible. Designate someone as the devil's advocate. His task will be to challenge the most popular ideas and the flawlessness of the plan. And remember, diversity of opinion can be your greatest strength, so aim for it. Be sure to give each participant a chance to speak.

5. Encourage employee development

As a manager, you have a responsibility to provide opportunities for learning and development for your subordinates. Emphasize the skills of each team member and treat them as resources that others can use. This will not only have a positive effect on team cohesion, but will also make people want to live up to high expectations and help others.

Mentoring is something every team member should do. Have them regularly share their knowledge, especially experience gained from mistakes. By doing so, you can capitalize on failure and help your employees grow and develop.

We fail together, we win together

We have three core values ​​at Wrike: development, action and collaboration. Living by these values ​​has helped us develop a culture of growth and overcome the fear of failure.

  • Growth
    Growth mentality helps us overcome challenges and innovate. We set ourselves ambitious goals that help us move forward with each new quarter. We strive for the best all the time.
  • Action
    We, unlike many teams, do not spend time thinking about how things could have turned out. And small failures do not stop us. We put all our strength into work and in achieving goals.
  • Collaboration
    Each of us has something to share and teach, and we believe that collaboration is the key to our success. We use the strengths of each other, and this helps us on the way to the goal. We fail together and we win together.

It may seem like a paradox, but the most important thing a team can do to keep themselves safe is to take risks. Working together, supporting the drive to grow, and helping each other recover from our mistakes has been key to our growth and can transform your team in the same way. By freeing yourself from the fear of failure and developing a growth mentality, you are on the path to success.

how to prevent him from ruining your plans and career

You would have opened your own business a long time ago / wrote a book / started working in a new direction, but you are afraid that nothing will work out? Unfortunately, such experiences ruined more than one career and crossed out many dreams. Why there is a fear of failure and how to deal with it, says career consultant Ulyana Khodorovskaya.

"I'm afraid I won't succeed."

I hear this phrase from almost every client who comes with a request for professional change. I would say that the fear of losing is often the main reason for losing, that this is the first thing to work with, but ...

The truth is, I'm afraid too. Every time I assemble a new group, when I work with a fundamentally new type of request from a client, I experience the fear that "I will not succeed." I was afraid that “it wouldn’t work,” even when I sat down to write this article.

At one time I came to the conclusion that it will never be possible to get rid of fear by 100%. It can be taken into account and weakened (so as not to interfere with action).

In a sense, worrying about the outcome means that you are not doing a trifle, but an important thing for yourself. This is an indicator that the direction is right and the situation will really affect your life. Excitement can push you to extra effort, increased mindfulness, thorough preparation. The only question is whether it prevents you from moving forward or not.

See also


Tue, 10/04 Career

4 fears that prevent you from finding your calling

If you act according to the principle of "squeaking, but climbing" - that is, you are worried, but moving towards the goal - everything is OK, you can close this article. It will be enough for you to simply consider your fear as an inevitable stage of any project. You can even add it to your calendar: "Monday, 12.00: 30 minutes of anxious reflection and excitement about whether it will come out or not. " And move on in peace, knowing that fear will come and go, like rain, autumn, elections, and the coronavirus.

If fear prevents you from acting, then read on, this is written for you.

1. What happens if nothing really works out?

The worst thing here is the word “nothing”. It is associated with irreparable loss, despair and loss of faith in yourself forever. In practice, such an apocalypse happens very rarely, comes gradually and mainly due to great bad luck and inaction.

This fear can be dealt with in four stages.

  1. First, figure out what you might not be able to do. What specific result will you not achieve and in what time frame? The more clearly you define your "bad" result, the better. For example: “In two years I won’t get a leadership position”, “I won’t find a job within a year”, “Not 5000 people will visit my event, as I wanted, but only 300” and others.
  2. Now you can answer the question: “Why do I define THIS result as bad?”. What specific consequences will it lead to - monetary losses, temporary, reputational? Also, be as specific as possible. For example: “I'll write a bad article for Happy Monday and they won't want to work with me anymore. And my target audience will decide that I am not competent, and will not go to me for consultations.
  3. In the third step, ask yourself, “What can I do to prevent this? How to insure yourself, who to turn to for help and support, how to strengthen yourself in this process? There are already a lot of options and space for action, and therefore less room for fear.
  4. And finally, “What will I do if I really get this particular bad result? Is it lifting for me, can I stand it? What resources do I have to deal with the consequences? Who will help me in this situation, and what can I do on my own? What's my plan B? How can I avoid the problems I faced last time?”

If you were able to answer all these questions for yourself, your fear turns into a clear understanding of the risks and a consistent plan for dealing with them. And this is already much easier.

2. I didn't succeed before, therefore, I won't succeed now

It can be painful for us to relive our past mistakes. We know that this experience is inevitable, but it can be very unpleasant to experience it, no one taught us to be calm about our own mistakes. Therefore, we are afraid of situations that threaten future failures, everything is logical.

What can help if you are afraid to move forward for fear of making mistakes again? Detailed analysis of the previous situation.

See also


Wed 26/08 Development

10 useful tips on how to develop self-confidence

  1. The first thing to do is to structure the situation of the previous error for yourself, briefly and clearly. What were the actors? What happened? In what order?
  2. Next, you can look at the consequences of the situation. What were your losses: monetary, temporary, emotional, reputational? Short term, long term? How did this situation affect you in general?
  3. On whom did the result depend? Was it purely your responsibility, or did someone share it with you? Hint: it almost never happens that the responsibility lies with someone alone. There is someone who set tasks and deadlines, there are colleagues and their contribution, clients, our overall workload, finally. Clarify for yourself what you really should be responsible for in that situation, and what not.
  4. Have you had the opportunity to do things differently? Did you really have the knowledge, resources, contacts, strength, time, in the end, to influence the course of events? If so, why didn't they manage to use them? What was missing?
  5. What conclusions can you draw for yourself for the future? How will you act to avoid such mistakes in the future? What knowledge do you need to get, who to turn to for advice, so as not to get into the same situation again? What responsibility will you no longer take on?

If you manage to analyze a professional mistake on these points, then the fear of failure decreases in size and gives way to a plan of action - specific, clear, understandable. After all, mistakes are indeed inevitable. Our task is to do everything to cope with them.

Fear of failure can also be due to the "impostor syndrome". What is it and how to deal with it, Ulyana Khodorovskaya tells at the master class.


3. This is not fear

If you looked at the previous two blocks and didn't recognize your situation, perhaps we are dealing not with fear, but with protection. Such an internal unconscious cunning to avoid a dangerous situation.

See also


Thu 07/16 Career

How to improve the skill of positive thinking and what it will give

  1. You may not have enough resource right now. Ask yourself, are you exhausted, are you rested? If you have a million small tasks, a vacation was a long time ago, and a new big deal is on the horizon, fear will protect you from overspending. Recipe: relax, and then think about the new.
  2. You may lack information about the situation you are afraid of. The risks, the price you will pay for participating in the project, or the benefits that you will receive as a result are not fully known. In this case, the situation will have to be clarified first, and then proceed according to the scheme from point 1.
  3. The fear “I won't succeed” may be a disguised fear of success. And suddenly it happens, what then? You may have to work more than you are ready for, or face challenges that are not comfortable for you right now. In the end, you may have to be a completely different person than you used to think about yourself. In this case, you can ask yourself: “What exactly scares me about possible success?” And then proceed according to the scheme above.

Sometimes all of the above can be difficult to handle on your own. In this case, you should seek help from a coach, psychotherapist, career consultant. Or - just to friends who have already been in a similar situation and successfully coped with it. They can not only support you, but also give you important tips and share experiences.

I think that the fear of failure cannot be overcome once and for all.

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