Tag Archives: fear of failure

Perfectionism, Fear of Failure, and the Need for Love and Approval of Others: The Secret Issues that Hold Us Back

In this post, I’ll continue discussing the issues that hold us back from really going for our dreams, from really pursuing the things that we know will inspire and fulfill us.  In my previous post, I talked about procrastination and how it relates to perfectionism.  In this post, I’ll go deeper into that discussion, revealing the layers beneath our tendencies toward procrastination and perfectionism: the fear failure and the need for love and approval of others.

Two Kinds of Desire for Excellence

In my last post, I talked about how perfectionism is often a mask for us to avoid the anxiety of finishing something that we’re working on and putting it out into the world.  At this point, you may be saying to yourself, “Well, I just want my work to be the best it can be before I consider it done and ready to share with others.”  That makes sense, to a point.  However, there are two kinds of desire for excellence that I’d like you to consider.  One is motivated by a creative impulse, the aspect of us that gets an inspiration, an idea in our heads of something that we want to create and we want to realize that vision and bring it into the world.  This feels exciting, inspiring, and it motivates us to action.

The second kind of desire for excellence/perfection comes from a need for approval, love, and appreciation, from ourselves and from others.  We hold a standard up for ourselves and we tell ourselves that once we reach it, that’s when we’ll actually be worthy of love and acceptance; that’s when we’ll actually be worthwhile as a person.  This is the slippery slope, the tricky part that you should really be aware of.  Often, we may not even be consciously aware that we’re doing this to ourselves.  Here’s how to tell: you’ll know when you’re coming from this place when thinking about your goal creates any level of anxiety in you.

Level III: Fear of Failure

That anxiety is coming from a fear of failure.  Fear of failure encompasses so much more than those three words seem to convey.  We are afraid that if we do not fully realize this vision in our heads, the absolute perfection of what we want to create, and if it does not meet some kind of external standard of perfection, often defined by other people, then we will not be worthy of all the love and appreciation that we deeply desire. 

Level IV: The Need for Love and Approval of Others

There are so many layers to this.  Beneath the fear of failure is a deep desire for others to love and approve of us and what we do.  We want this because we have given away our power.  We think we need others to love and approve of us in order to feel good about ourselves.  We have placed these barriers, we’ve created these hurdles that we have to jump over (and sometimes they’re huge chasms that we have to leap across) in order to give ourselves permission to feel lovable and worthy as a human being.

Thinking about all of this, is it any wonder that we procrastinate on our dreams?  Holy cow, with so much at stake, it’s a wonder that anyone gets anything done. 

So now, we’ve talked about the four layers that hold us back from reaching for our dreams with consistent action: procrastination, perfectionism, fear of failure, and the need for love and approval. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering what you can do to fix this.  In my next post, I’ll tell you about some very effective ways to let go of these patterns and give yourself permission to really go for what you want and freely express yourself in the world in whatever way you are inspired.  Plus, my self-help program uses EFT to help you release yourself from these exact issues and a variety of others that may be holding you back from achieving your dreams.  You can learn more about my program here:  Your Inspiring Life



What Keeps Us From Going For What We Really Want?

Taking the Leap toward our Dreams

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and we were talking about our goals and how to get ourselves to take the next step to make our dreams a reality.  I told him about how I’d recently created my first YouTube videos by giving myself permission to do it badly and seeing what happened.  (If you didn’t see those posts, you can read them here). 

My friend is working on structuring a seminar on a topic that has really inspired him and helped him in his life.  He really knows what he’s talking about on this subject and has tons of information about it and his presentation keeps getting more and more detailed and informative.  Actually, I think this is a gentle, sort of secret way for him to actually write his book about this subject, without really calling it that at this point.  I think that’s his way of getting past the intimidating ideas we all tend to have about “writing a book.”  Anyway, it’s a great strategy and it’s working for him.  His creativity is flowing and he’s writing a lot. 

It Just Needs a Little More Work…

He really has come a long way toward achieving his dreams.  However, when it comes to the outline of the seminar he’s putting together, he keeps tweaking it and working it, rephrasing this and that to make it perfect.  I know I’ve done the same thing with my own projects; maybe you have, too.  Now, of course, some of this is absolutely necessary because it gives us time to work out exactly what we want to share and how.  However, I think it may also be that we are letting perfectionism delay us from finishing our projects, because once they are done, we will have to move on to the daunting task of actually sharing them with the world.  It’s interesting how we hold ourselves back from fully going for our dreams like this.  And it got me wondering about the deeper reasons why we would do that. 

What’s Holding Us Back?

There are so many little shadow issues that emerge when we get ourselves closer to a goal that we really want but that stretches us beyond our comfort zone.  If there wasn’t the stretch to it, we would have done it long ago.  But why do we feel this discomfort about something that really inspires us?  I think it’s because we invest so much of our future happiness in this goal.  In order to achieve it, we know it will require us to open up in new ways to the world and these thoughts activate intense fears about what would happen if we failed.  When it comes down to it, I think that the intense fear of failure is what’s really behind our perfectionism.  

In my next blog post, I’ll explore the relationship between procrastination and perfectionism.  I’ve got some interesting ideas about that and about how to overcome these issues that I’m looking forward to sharing with you in my next few posts.  So, see you then! 



Live Your Dream.  Your Inspiring Life