Fear of Failure

I didn’t realise I had a fear of failure until my later years. It comes from a vulnerable place, a negative weakness and perhaps a touch of perfectionism.

I never thought too much about my studies in my youth and teens. During my Tafe courses: Childcare and Youth Work, I would stress but not fear as the work to me was understandable and easy and I got my first distinction and passed both courses with flying colours 🙂

I never felt good enough and trying new things is hard for me. I am often ashamed by my poor intellect (according to me and only me). I was always worried about not being as smart as everyone else and not understanding big words 🙁

So far these are mostly negative automatic thoughts and some PTSD from being bullied and called stupid so many times I believed it.

But I have developed a true blue fear of failure. I must succeed at every task that I begin, I must pass every subject and must never fail. I am so scared of failing my current module that I stress and rush through my assessment so I won’t fail, only to get a ‘Not Yet Competent’ result and feel so stupid and down. It is gut wrenching to fail something you have worked so hard on and been so afraid you would fail. ‘Not Yet Competent’ doesn’t mean fail, it just means I misread the word count for a few questions, needed to expand theories or correct a few minor errors then resubmit. It’s not a fail, but it hurts like it is.

On the resubmit the fear returns, what if I fail again? What if I can’t meet my deadline? What if I’m not smart enough to do this course?

So I Googled Fear of Failure and came across some interesting things:

Many of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time. But fear of failure (also called ‘atychiphobia’) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals.

You might experience some of these symptoms if you have a fear of failure:

  • A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects.
  • Self-sabotage for example, procrastination, excessive anxiety or a failure to follow through with goals.
  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence -Commonly using negative statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that promotion,” or “I’m not smart enough to get on that team.”
  • Perfectionism – A willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly and successfully.

(Quoted from Mindtools  https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fear-of-failure.htm)

Interestingly, I have all of these symptoms.

There are techniques to help control one’s fear of failure but if I told you what I know; my counselling days would be over before they begin. Book in for an appointment late 2018 🙂

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