Have you ever heard of atychiphobia? It’s a word I stumbled across recently and thought it would be very appropriate to talk about since most people struggle with this phobia.
atychiphobia (n.) fear of failure; fear of not being good enough
All of us struggle at times with the fear of not being good enough. You might remember times in your own life when you saw something you wanted to do but didn’t think you had a shot of accomplishing your desired goal. And this phenomenon seems to get stronger the older we get.
When Did We Stop “Just Doing It?”
Think back to your younger days. If you’re like me, there were tryouts for sports teams and music groups that you wanted to be a part of, but weren’t sure you had the talents and skills to make the cut. Even so, most of us tried out for those teams and groups anyway. Sometimes we made it, sometimes we didn’t, but the point is we tried.
As we get older our defeats can stack up and we get more susceptible to playing the comparison game. Every time a new opportunity comes up, we doubt ourselves a little more than before because of our past failures. The big problem comes when we allow our fears to overcome our ability to take risks and make an attempt to achieve something better.
Other times we give in to paralysis of analysis—that syndrome where we persuade ourselves that we’re productive when in reality all we’ve done is trapped ourselves in an endless loop of “planning” where we rehash the same ideas and concepts over and over but never take any real action.
So how do we break this cycle of going nowhere because we’re afraid we don’t measure up? Here are five quick tips to help you move in spite of your fears.
5 Quick Tips to Help You Move in Spite of Your Fear
1. Face your fears and go for it. Most of the time the best thing you can do to overcome fear is to just do what needs to be done. Stop overthinking and making excuses and just move. Realize that fear is often present because what you want to achieve is huge. You think the people who climb Mt. Everest or quit their job to start their own business aren’t scared? Of course they are! But they go for it anyway. [For more on this idea, listen to this great podcast episode from Chris LoCurto.]
2. Refuse to play the comparison game. Stop measuring yourself against the achievements of others. Why? Because it’s a game you’ll always lose. People have a tendency to compare themselves against mankind’s highest achievers rather than the middle to lower end of the pack, so of course we don’t measure up. How could we? Discard that way of thinking entirely and begin looking at yourself only. Ask, “How can I be better tomorrow than I am today?”
3. What’s the worst that could happen? Instead of wasting time analyzing things from every conceivable angle, just answer that question. Do the benefits of success far outweigh the risks of failure? What happens if you don’t take the risk? Even if you do fail, how bad will it really be? Most times the only thing hurt will be your pride. Use your fear as a motivational tool that leads you to be prepared for action.
4. Don’t worry about what others think. Stop worrying about what other people think when working toward your goals. Yes, be cognizant of honesty and integrity and don’t stomp on people along the way. There will always be critics and naysayers. There will always be people tell you to not reinvent the wheel. Stop listening to those people and move forward. Choose to be brave.
5. Don’t face your fears alone. Isolation is an echo chamber that does nothing but amplify our feelings of inadequacy. Instead, surrounding yourself with people who buy into your vision and support your attempts to do great things. No, you’re not looking for “yes men” types, but people who will mentor you, encourage you, tell you when you’re wrong, and cheer you on in spite of your deficiencies.
How have you overcome your fear of not being good enough in the past? What strategies and plans of action did you implement to accomplish your goals? Please share in the comments.
Also published on Medium.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.
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