Owning a Fear Of Failure: 3 Months In

I never really saw self-improvement as something one has to work towards.

In my mind it was a process that happened unconsciously: as if going about my daily tasks and chores I’d be assimilating all the information and advice going on in the background (you know, the important stuff that’s on the TV and Pinterest ;), and then one day I’d emerge butterfly-like from a cocoon, magicked into the perfect version of myself with no effort on my part required.

But that’s not really how it works, is it? That’s not how we become better people. If you want to stand the test of time as a person you can be really proud of – operating at your full capacity of awesomeness – then it’s important to consciously push yourself to be the greatest you can be.

I know, I know, it only took me 32 years to realise this, I’m a genius. You can thank me later.

These last couple of months I’ve been doing just that with the folks at AXA PPP healthcare: they’re encouraging us to take hold of our fears and use them as a force for good, so using a key fear of mine we’ve identified together as leverage, they’ve been helping me work towards improving aspects of my life that I’d like to change or improve.

I’ve been working with one of their top Health Coaches, Becky, to talk through the fear that affects me the most, and have been implementing changes that will empower me to live, as the millennials say, my best life. So far, it’s been a totally invigorating and illuminating experience, and I’ve been surprised at just how effective these small changes have been. Having the accountability of my check-ins with Becky have been so helpful and she’s been truly motivating and supportive of my goals.

Most of the issues I have in my day-to-day life – imposter syndrome, work/life balance struggles, motivation, family guilt – come from an inherent fear of failure.

Together, Becky and I have identified most of the issues I have in my day-to-day life – imposter syndrome, work/life balance struggles, motivation, family guilt – come from an inherent fear of failure. Basically, I don’t like doing things unless I’m going to be a rip-roaring success at them, which can be limiting to both work and my personal life.

With Becky’s help I set out some goals on our first call, working towards health and work objectives, and in our second call a couple of weeks ago we assessed how I was going on these and expanded on them further.

Feeling more attuned to the way my brain works already, it was funny to note on this second pow-wow the guilt I felt from having not achieved every single point Becky had set me on the first. Though I’d gone some way towards reaching my work goals – hitting targets we’d set together – I’d failed on a couple of the exercise-based ideals. I felt awful that I hadn’t achieved my potentials that we’d set myself, but Becky totally set my mind at ease and told me I was brilliant to achieve what I had in the last few weeks, even if I hadn’t hit every single bullseye. And I needed to hear that!!

Fear of failure

We talked a lot about the things that motivate and keep me happy, and what I can do to increase the frequency of these in my life. I really value and enjoy positive human interaction (something I lack on occasion as I work from home) so we made a goal for me to try and see more faces, and if this is impossible to look back on lovely emails and communications from the past. We also talked about tracking the time I spend on various tasks so I can reassure myself that I’m putting the hours in at work, and logging my days on an app she highly recommends, Daylio.

Becky also sent over to me some tools to help day-to-day, an Actioning Worksheet as well as some tips to follow to increase Work/Life balance. I’ve been working through both these and I can’t wait to see the effect the tips and ideas have on the way I approach my fear of failure.

I’ve so loved my time working with Becky from AXA PPP healthcare so far. Not only is it brilliant to have her to be accountable to, but I’ve got a new confidence when approaching my fear of failing, my worry that I might not do well. Goal-setting and confidence-building like this has been invaluable and it’s already helped me reach some really important milestones.

I can’t wait to see what April has in store – bring it on.


Huge thanks to AXA PPP healthcare for working with MTT.


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  1. Becky sounds great- I need someone like this in my life! I’m a bit of a perfectionist and also can feel overwhelmed and paralysed by the fear of failure, and sometimes it can stop me from just getting on and having a go at something.

    Posted 4.10.18 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Becky has been absolutely amazing! Fear of failure can be so paralysing some times, you’re absolutely right x

      Posted 4.10.18 Reply
  2. Maria wrote:

    This is really interesting. I would never have thought about the benefits of a having a health coach but it sounds like it’s making a really positive change for you. I can never seem to escape the mum guilt and balancing work/life can be a bit of a challenge at times too.

    Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  3. Maria wrote:

    This is really interesting, I never really thought about the benefits of having a health coach but it sounds like it’s been a really positive experience for you.

    Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  4. Wow this sounds amazing! I could definitely do with taking some of tips on board particularly goal setting; I tend to amble along! X

    Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  5. Rachel wrote:

    This sounds amazing. I can identify with your fears – sounds like I need a Becky in my life :) x

    Posted 5.14.18 Reply