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Don't Let Fear Stop You: 4 Tips For Embracing Failure As A High Achiever

Take Away:

High achievers are wired to strive for success and constantly push themselves towards excellence in pursuit of their goals. Sound familiar? Despite your accomplishments, you may find yourself facing intense pressure to achieve more, do more, and be more which can lead to increased self-criticism, feelings of inadequacy, and even anxiety. In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies to help you manage and navigate how to be more accepting of yourself and offer tips on embracing failure.


Table of Contents:

1. Understanding the impact of failure on the high achiever

2. It's okay to fail: managing fear of making mistakes

3. Don't let fear stop you: 4 tips for how to overcome failure


Understanding the Impact of Failure on the High Achiever

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It's Okay to Fail

It is important to understand the underlying factors that can contribute to feelings of failure in the high achiever. High achievers often set very high goals for themselves, constantly compare themselves to others, and seek external validation, which creates high pressure situations in which they must succeed.

In cases, where the impossibly high goal is met, the pressure is ramped up to make the next goal even higher. If the goal is not met, then the emotional storm hits. Feelings of shame, embarrassment, disappointment, judgement, and even frustration can be triggered. This in turn, negatively impacts self-worth, increases anxiety around failing, and can result in a spiral of biased, irrational, and negative thoughts and emotions. Being able to recognize this spiral and get in front of the emotional storm, is the first step in learning how to break free.


It's Okay to Fail: Managing Fear of Making Mistakes

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Fear of Making Mistakes

In the pursuit of excellence, high achievers often develop a paralyzing fear of making mistakes. This fear can come from a desire to maintain a perfect perception by others or a strong need to avoid judgment or criticism. Wherever the source of the fear, it is important to understand its roots. In fact, the fear of making mistakes can be deeply ingrained in high achievers. Some common elements of this fear includes:

  1. Perfectionism: High achievers often hold themselves to impossibly high standards, and fear that any mistake or imperfection will undermine their achievements.

  2. Fear of Failure: Failure is perceived as a personal reflection of their worth and competence. High achievers may associate mistakes with being incompetent or unworthy, leading to a fear of taking risks and trying new things.

  3. Judgment and Criticism: High achievers are often highly sensitive to judgment and criticism from others. They fear that making a mistake will result in negative evaluations, rejection, or loss of respect.

  4. Loss of Control: Mistakes can disrupt the sense of control that high achievers strive to maintain.


Don't Let Fear Stop You: 4 Tips For How To Overcome Failure

When confronted with feelings of failure, it's important to shift your perspective. You must understand that setbacks and failures are a big part of our development and how we grow and learn. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of what went wrong, assess the situation objectively and identify not only what went wrong but what can you learn and how might you do differently next time. This can help you not only embrace failure but enhance your resilience and problem solving skills. Research states that fear of failure is associated with a range of maladaptive self-protective strategies.

White piece of paper with block letters that say no more fear
Don't Be Afraid to Fail

If you are ready to kick your fear of making mistakes in the butt here are 5 strategies to consider:

  1. Cultivate Self-Compassion

High achievers are often demanding and super critical of themselves. Treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance like you would a good friend is an excellent way to cultivate self-compassion. In addition to engaging in activities that bring you joy and nature your well-being, it is also important to develop a supportive network. Remind yourself that setbacks are natural and not a reflection of your worth!

2. Challenge Negative Self-Talk

One of the most significant contributors to feeling like a failure is negative self-talk. To manage this, it will be important to identify negative thoughts, challenge them, and replace them with positive and realistic alternatives. Remember, high achievers often have an internal dialogue that is overly critical and harsh. Make sure you are challenging these unrealistic expectations with evidence. Don't forget you are more than your perceived failures!

3. Set Realistic Expectations and Goals

As a high achiever, you may find that you often set unrealistic expectations for yourself that creates higher levels of anxiety and self-doubt. Let's try doing the opposite. Set realistic goals and establish manageable steps to achieve them. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks and celebrate all the milestones along the way no matter how small. By setting attainable goals and focusing on your personal growth, you can foster a healthier and more sustainable approach to success.

4. Seek Professional Support

Managing the emotional weight of failure can be challenging. Consider working with a therapist that specializes in working with high achievers. Therapy can provide guidance, offer coping strategies, and create a safe space for you to explore your feelings of failure.

As a high achiever battling feelings of failure, it's important to recognize that failure does not define you. Remember success is not only measured by achievements, but also strengths, resilience, and personal growth gained through challenges. It's time to keep moving forward and embracing who you are flaws and all.

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Anxiety Therapist in Houston
Don't be afraid to fail, please reach out!

If you are in Houston , New York, or California and you would like to explore treatment options for embracing failure please contact me and schedule a free consultation today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

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