Is the Fear of Failure Holding you Back?

Chloe Delaunay

Most of us have suffered from a fear of failure at some point or another and some of us live with it on a daily basis, but have you ever thought about how this fear of failure could be holding you back in life and your career?

I work with many clients on this issue. In life, we’ll often try to ignore this feeling or bury it somewhere we think it won’t get to us, but it always finds a way of rearing it’s ugly head!

Of course, this fear is there to protect us, a part of the fight or flight response and indeed it can protect us from making bad decisions, but it can also highlight some positives. Sometimes fear indicates we are doing something that is important to us, that we are learning and growing, and can confirm that we’re outside of our comfort zone – and when we’re out of our comfort zone this is often when we have our best ideas!

It’s what we do with this feeling of fear that is really important; do we hide and run away, or do we embrace the feeling of being out of our comfort zone and use this opportunity to push ourselves and go for what we want rather than settling for what we have?

How do we push past this fear?

Well, generally we all want to learn and grow, we all have career aspirations and will want to move forward. There are a few things we need to get specific on to set the wheels in motion to getting past this fear:

Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What’s holding you back? What do you need to let go of to enable you to move forward? What are your core values? Are they congruent with what you want? What benefits will these changes bring you and others? And on the flip side, what are the downsides to you not taking action? What will you and others miss out on?

Once you’re clear on these things you can start to plan your path. Once you start to plan, put steps and goals into place, things seem less frightening than before.

Ask yourself, are you more committed to your dreams and aspirations or hanging on to that fear of failure?

It’s also critical to note; in order to move forward we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, be open to learning and growing. Work on keeping a positive mindset, understand that we all have failures, but any failures we do experience can teach us valuable lessons and help us to grow. Finally, and most importantly of all we must learn from our mistakes and recognise the value in them.

How do we know we are letting a fear of failure rule our lives?

Worrying about how others see you– this often leads to procrastination or paralysation. Learning to stop worrying what others think and managing other people’s expectations will free you up to do what you want to and need to do for you.

Procrastination or avoiding responsibility– often a fear of failure will affect our motivation, ability to properly manage workload and our productivity. It also squashes any desire to take on new challenges and new responsibilities for a fear we won’t perform.

Feeling discontent and unproductive– when we are overwhelmed by fear we often find ourselves feeling unhappy with work, our careers and our personal lives too. Fear of failure can also spark depression.

Taking time to reassess every so often is vital to make sure we are on the right track and not letting ourselves succumb to our fears. Once you have reassessed you’ll have a sound starting point for change and growth.

If you’re feeling it’s time to assess or reassess and would like some help, please contact me at for your free assessment tool.

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