Overcoming the Fear of Failure – and the Fear of Success

Overcoming the Fear of Failure – and the Fear of Success

Fear of Failure

I don’t like to fail. I don’t know anyone who does, actually.

There have been times when I didn’t try because I was afraid I would fail. The latest example is this blog.

A mentor recommended I figure out why I wanted to blog, and come up with a few general categories that interested me. And then build a library of ideas so I wouldn’t run out of stuff to say and quit blogging. In other words, fail.

So I did all that, and still waited for fear I couldn’t keep up the pace of a weekly blog. The reasons were valid. They include time constraints with a full-time job and still wanting a life, and being too tired from all that to think of something to say. Even with a library of ideas at my fingertips.

And I don’t want to just throw words on the page. I want to add value, inspire, be helpful, and occasionally elicit huge belly laughs. And be the best blogger. In the entire universe. Ever.

So fear of failure kept me paralyzed for over two years. Until the thought of going to another writers conference and once again saying my website was “coming soon” caused enough shame that I delved in and started blogging.

So here I am. Being me. And accepting that I’m the best blogger in the universe – that Joni Vance can be.

If I move forward, what’s the worst that can happen?

I miss posting once in a while. Or I post late. Or I post something that doesn’t inspire or help anyone no matter how hard I tried.

If I move forward, what’s the best that can happen?

I feel successful because I started, and continued, blogging. And I get to connect with wonderful folks out there in internet land.

What price did I pay because of my fear of failure?

I got to feel like a failure for over two years because I was afraid I would fail...

And then I got to feel stupid for not realizing that lesson sooner.

I don’t recommend a path of inaction because of fear of failure or its consequences.

Fear of Success

I didn’t think I feared success. Until I thought about it.

  • If I’m successful, my goal would be to stay that way. Which means I can’t fail the next time.

    So the fear of success can be caused by the fear of failure.

    It took me a while to wrap my head around that one.
  • Another reason to fear success is that others will be envious, and sabotage (or be right down ugly) to end my success.

    Fear of people, who for whatever reason, want to see me fail.

    Oh, goody. Another fear to face.

How do I overcome it?

Ask myself the same questions for any fear I have.

If I move forward, what’s the worst that can happen?

If I move forward, what’s the best that can happen?

What price will I pay if I stay paralyzed by the fear – and not take action?

And one last question, which is really the critical issue: Why am I not turning the fear over to God and asking Him to help me do what He wants?

What a novel concept. Not. I have to be reminded of the real solution over and over.

But whenever I turn things over, trust God, and move forward, the fear usually goes away, or at least decreases.

And I get the real success I want.

Living free of fear – whether I fail or succeed.

What reasons have you been afraid to fail or succeed? How do you overcome it?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.

May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.  

10 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fear of Failure – and the Fear of Success

  1. I love your deep thoughts.

  2. You have hit the nail on the head by delving deep into what makes us fear. Both, success and failure do. I struggle with everything you wrote. Thank you for giving us the questions to ask ourselves when we are struggling and the real answer… turning our fears over to God. Great Post!

  3. Joni, I identify with your words! I’m struggling to get my blog going again and I find myself tinkering with a post, trying to get it perfect before I post it.

    God used your post to whisper that my words don’t need to be perfect for Him to use them. He can’t bless someone through words that sit in my draft file.

    Imperfect words, written by an imperfect person, used by a perfect God.

    • I understand completely. I have to remember, I write the words and God takes care of who reads them and when – and their impact on the readers. Praying for you as you begin to blog again. Looking forward to reading it.

  4. Your writing style brings a smile to my face, while the truth of your content makes me wince. Together they make me think.

    • Thanks for your support and your comments. Some of my life lessons are painful – and then I get to practice doing what God wants. I appreciate you!

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