How to Overcome the Fear of Failure or Success

The fear of failure is something that I've always personally struggled with. The idea of not being "successful" use to tear me up inside. "What if I don't pass my classes? What if I can't support myself and I have to move home? What if I put all this work in and have nothing to show for it?" These thoughts of failure would constantly plague my mind. It got to the point where I was planning my life based on potential failures. Once I thought I graduated from the fear of failure, I encountered the fear that comes after failure -- the fear of success. I was fearful of what success would like if I obtained it. "What if I can't maintain the growth of my blog? What if people have expectations of my brand that I can't meet?" The dreaded, "What if," question would taunt me and lead me to plan for the worse, never expecting the best case scenario, and sadly, many of us are living and planning our lives based on this same mentality. 

 

Too many people find themselves living in the captivity of the fear. It often inhibits them from pursuing their dreams, moving forward, or making decisions. We become so fearful of what could happen that we talk ourselves out of doing the very things that we are called to do. How many times have you talked yourself out of something because you were scared of what might happen? 

 

I would like to propose that beyond the fear of failure or success, maybe the greatest thing that we are truly afraid of is faith. Behind the fear of failure and success is a fear of being faithful and trusting God with our hopes and desires. We're afraid of failure and success because we're relying too much on self-effort and not enough on Him. That is why we are so quick to assume the worst instead of expecting God's best. If we truly trusted in Him and in His guidance and promises, there would be no need to fear failure or success, because we would know that He's there guiding us every step of the way. We would know that He didn't even give us a spirit of fear to begin with (2 Timothy 1:7).  The problem occurs when we don't trust in that guidance and we put too much pressure on ourselves to make things happen. Where are you placing your confidence, in Christ or yourself?

 

When your hope is found in Christ, you don't have to carry the burden of your dreams and responsibilities on your own. You can trust that He is equipping you to do all that He is calling you to do. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 reminds us that we can trust Him because it's not ourselves that allow us to carry out good works, but it's God working through us. And we know that where we find ourselves struggling, God stands there to fill in the gap (2 Corinthians 12:19). Your talents and gifts will only get you so far. When you're not operating in the Holy Spirit, you will always be incompetent. 

 

"Stop relying on self-effort & learn how to overcome the fear of failure & success."

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So how do we overcome the fear of failure and success? 

 

1) Shift your perspective.  

How do you view failure and success? Do you view failure as something that's negative or positive? Is your definition of success based on a worldly standard? When you adopt a Kingdom mindset, you'll be able to see failure for what it really is -- a learning experience, and you'll be able to let God define your own version of success.  

 

2) Reduce the pressure.  

We don't have as much grace on ourselves as we should. Stop putting so many expectations on yourself. For a while, I was putting so many expectations and deadlines on myself that I wasn't allowing myself to enjoy life or the process that I was going through. Ask yourself, "Am I placing too much pressure on myself?" "Am I letting others (including family members) pressure me into doing some that I know that God isn't calling me to do?" It's so important that you give yourself grace to reach your dreams and goals in God's perfect timing, not on yours or others' timeline or schedule. 

 

3) Develop Godfidence.

If you're doing what God has called you to do and you're intentionally setting goals and taking action, there is no need to fear failure or success. God's Word says that He loves to prosper His people.

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who mediates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers." - Psalm 1:1-3

When you're actively following His instruction and you're trusting Him, His promise is to prosper you. That is why it's so critical to have faith. You can't begin to trust God if you don't have faith in Him. Faith is not about knowing the next step. It's actually shown best when you don't know what's going to happen next (Hebrews 11:1). In yourself you can only only do so much, but with God, He will prosper and elevate you in your perfect season. 

 

The best way to overcome any fear is to combat it with God's Word. I've put together a Scripture Guide to help you overcome any fears you may have that may be preventing you from walking in God's calling over your life. Click the button below to download yours for free. **(Please Note: If you're on my email list, you don't have to sign up to receive this guide. This download is available in the Resource Closet)**  

 

Are you letting fear hold you back in a certain area? Let's talk about it in the comments below!