Fear of failure

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure: Things That Work

The fear of failure is an encompassing belief that irrespective of effort or attempt, one would definitely fail at a task, or in life.

According to Cleveland Clinic, the fear of failure is also called atychiphobia, a term coined by John Atkinson. Atychiphobia can be a positive thing as it helps us to plan, prepare and remain focused. However, if not controlled, it can put people in a perpetual state of inactivity, or a false sense of being careful which eventually leads to the feared failure.

I have had my own share of the negative effects of atychiphobia, but more importantly, I have learned how to overcome it over time.

In this article, I shall be discussing 5 tips on how to overcome the fear of failure; and also how to overcome the fear of leaving a job.  

Fear of failure

5 Tips To Overcome Fear Of Failure

Below are tips to help you overcome your fear of failure.

1. Start By Taking The First Step

Renowned writer Suzy Kassem is credited for saying “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

If you want to truly achieve your goals, then you must take the first step. Every journey starts with taking the first step. You don't get anywhere if you don't start. Taking your first step toward achieving your goal is pivotal to overcoming the fear of failure. 

The reason you are held down by fear is that you are fixated on the outcome of your actions. Whereas, every step you take is almost as important as the outcome. 

Mark Twain, the father of American literature puts it correctly when he said:“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Consider every task an adventure, one that can lead you anywhere. You will never really find out where this adventure will lead you unless you start. It is therefore important that you face your fear, by taking the first step.

2. Keep Moving Forward

Congratulations! You took your first step. Was it as bad as you thought? Of course not. But now, you must keep taking steps. Taking your first step is like starting the engine of your car. Now you must pull out of the garage and continue on your journey.

To illustrate the importance of moving forward, I will share a personal experience. I have heard people say they cannot live a solitary life. However, I wanted to, and like everybody I knew, I was at first scared. But I took the first step, and even though it was tough at first, I kept at it, and as days turned to weeks and I soon mastered living alone. I cannot begin to tell you how advantageous it has been to me.

3. Work Hard Despite Your Fear

One of the most important keys to being successful is hard work. The most successful people on earth are hard workers. However, what all unsuccessful people have in common is the lack of hard work. This means that if you work hard, you increase your chances of success.
Therefore, despite the fear of failure that has got you in a chokehold all this while, if you work hard, the chances of you being successful are very high.

Courage is therefore putting in the required work, in spite of the fear. 

Let the words of the legendary basketball coach, Tim Notke, guide you. 

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard." - Tim Notke

4. Perseverance Helps Overcome Obstacles

There are many obstacles to achievement. An insightful article by INC claims that there are close to seven main reasons people don't stick to their goals. Top of the list include the fear of humiliation, comparison to others, and self-doubt.

And so, where hard work fails, perseverance excels. In fact, perseverance outlives the fear of failure. In his book “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!” Robert Schuller explains the importance of perseverance. You must make a decision to keep going irrespective of circumstances, including intermittent failure. Doing this guarantees your success in all endeavors.

5. Prioritizing Your Day Makes Your Goals Achievable

There are 24 hours a day divided into 5 parts, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night. This division is nature’s gift to man, to help him manage daily activities.

Prioritizing your tasks and fitting them into the preferred time of the day is wise. Working long hours often lead to a breakdown. The aftermath of a breakdown is zero work done which is a guarantee for failure. Most people have failed due to a lack of prioritizing leaving them traumatized and believing they are failures.

A publication by California Coast University stresses the importance of prioritizing activities for the day. As an employee and also one passionate about my dream, my day job often leaves me spent. I am left with very little time to work on my goals. 

However, prioritizing has helped me balance my work with passion. I always wake up with a plan for each day and I stick to it. At the end of each day, I review myself, to keep myself accountable.

How to Manage the Fear of Leaving a Job

Leaving a job is one of the scariest things most employees face, and it ranks high among the toughest decisions most people ever make.

A report by hrexecutive states that more people are afraid of leaving their job because of rising inflation. The fear of leaving your job is rooted in real-life concerns. The livelihood of your family is dependent on the job, as it is a source of security, food, and shelter.

Consequently, you would realize that your family is more attached to your job than you are. Hence, whenever you talk to them about leaving it and working for yourself, you never get any positive response.

So, how do you deal with the fear of leaving your job? I will be talking from experience. Below are a few ways to successfully leave your job.

Create Multiple Sources Of Income

First, you must create multiple sources of income. The book Multiple Streams of Income by Robert G Allen, emphasizes wealth creation via the creation of several means of income. Making multiple sources of income alongside a daytime job might seem impossible. However, if you focus on alternate sources of income that wouldn't require your physical presence, then you are on your way to quitting your day job safely.

Managing Expenses

A thorough understanding of expenses and what is required in the home on a monthly basis is necessary. Personally, there is a budget for my home and on the 1st day of every month I hand over fixed sum to my wife. Doing this gives me the flexibility I need to grow my other sources of income without the burden of sudden expenses.

Planning My Activities

Often time, the biggest hinder to leaving a job is the habits formed from years of being an employee. I had to break most of these habits. When at work, I try to accomplish as many tasks for the day as I can, while allotting other activities to the spare time I have.

A New Way To Look At Failure

Nobody likes to fail. Failure sucks, truly, but, it also teaches us a lot. if we are open to learning from them. Failure also opens up opportunities beyond your imagination. Take 5 minutes and note 5 areas you believe you have failed in. Under each, pen down what you have learned.

When we learn from failure, we improve ourselves. We can make better plans and execute them better, keeping in mind the lessons we have learned. Successful people all have one thing in common, they never surrender to situations. They overcome odds and obstacles to achieve their goals.


The fear of failure is human. However, it must never be allowed to dictate our lives. For many, the fear of success is more compelling than the joy of success. Unfortunately, not trying at all makes one a failure.

Therefore we have two options, either we do all it takes to succeed risking failure, or not do anything and remain a failure.

 So, chin up, take the bull by the horn, and begin taking action today.