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Fear of failure can hold back even the most capable of our teens and emerging adults. Though fear of failure is rooted in deeper issues that should be addressed in therapy, there are three things you can do in the meantime to address it.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cultivate a Growth Mindset. People with growth mindsets believe that intelligence can be developed and improved. They believe that they can get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed. Instead of shying away from challenges, they embrace them as opportunities to learn and improve. Every “failure” is a chance to grow.
  2. Break Overwhelmingly Large Goals into Bite-Size Tasks. Sometimes people to work towards their dreams because it seems way too overwhelming to do so. In this case, breaking long-term goals into short-term goals and then into small, totally doable tasks helps a lot. Then, just commit to doing at least one task a day to make concrete progress towards your goal.
  3. Practice Failing. Many people want to avoid that horrible feeling you get when you believe you failed. By practicing failing, you learn that you can tolerate that distress. You also desensitize yourself to that feeling over time. And a bonus is that, anytime you fail, you’re actually succeeding because you’re trying to fail!

Bonus takeaway not included in the video: Develop self-compassion! If every time you fail, you berate yourself and spiral into a depression, then it makes sense that you would never try to do things that might be a challenge. But what if you met “failure” with compassion instead? Then failing isn’t met with the double-whammy of not meeting your goal and hating yourself. That can make trying hard things a little more palatable.


Need someone to address the root cause of your fear of failure? Contact Dr. Crystal I. Lee for a free 20 minute consultation to see how she can help.