Fear of Failure perhaps?

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    Good Day Everyone.

    I came across the tiny buddah page today whilst browsing “How to forgive yourself for mistakes you make at work.” – As my search criteria suggests, I needed a little pick me up after I made a mistake on a task my manager asked me to complete.

    I was, or rather am very relieved to have stumbled upon this site because it made me feel better to know that there are other people who have difficulty moving on or getting over mistakes or errors.

    Please forgive me for the lengthy “story” I’m about to share. I’m an introvert and for some reason I feel like I can share my thoughts on this page without fear of any judgement, and also in hopes that someone might offer an opinion or perspective that could be of some assistance.

    I’ve always been a perfectionist and so much of my self-worth is tied to my accomplishments, which up till now have always been academic.

    I’ve graduated two years ago and entered the workplace as an intern and it is in this environment that I’ve started noticing my anxiety or it has become more prevalent.

    I quickly learned and am still learning that achieving my goals aren’t as simple as they were back in varsity, I am making a lot more mistakes and bad judgements now than I ever did – not intentionally of course.

    I am not accustomed to not succeeding at a task on the first try, and also making oversights; as I usually pay attention to detail.

    Since I’ve started working, I realise that I have a lot to learn but I somehow can’t seem to stop making mistakes, like not reading an email thoroughly – resulting in my response not being exactly befitting the request made in the email, or sometimes forgetting to update details in documents that need to be changed frequently such as names, dates, and exchange rates etc.

    I perceive every individual I work with to be highly intelligent people that I would love to learn from. But every single time I make a mistake like the ones I mentioned above, I feel that I am disappointing them and myself and that I am unworthy of being in the position to work with and learn from them.

    This feeling seems to stay around for days and I constantly think about the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve tried paying attention to my feelings and thoughts whenever I make a mistake and I found myself thinking things like: “You’re stupid, how could you not notice that.” And “Why are you here? You can’t do this.”

    I want nothing more than to be successful but all these mistakes I make on a regular basis coupled with my self-doubt and persistent negative thoughts are making me feel like I’m in over my head and I don’t know how to get myself out of what seems to be a dark spiral.


    It only a mistake if you don’t learn from the experience.

    The “mistakes” you mentioned seem to come from a place of trying to do too much too quickly with an underling fear of not being perfect. I am a firm believer, having personal experiences that we create what we fear. Slow down, breath, create some space and you will find that you will become even more proficient at your job.

    The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes ah, that is where the art resides. Artur Schnabel

    “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them”. – Claude Debussy

    Allow life to be music

    Recommend the following book.
    ‘Stopping: How to Be Still When You Have to Keep Going’ by David Kundtz

    Perfectionist – holding yourself to standards that you don’t hold others to… (some might experience that as arrogance) … we love others as we love ourselves… what are you saying about yourselves when you apply the label of perfectionist as a part of our being.

    The One Thing You Need to Know to Overcome Perfectionism

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Peter.

    Dear fnsful:

    What you described is indeed a “dark spiral”- making mistakes increases your anxiety; increased anxiety leads to more mistakes.

    For the aim of making fewer mistakes, logic says, lower your anxiety. Calm will improve your memory, your focus, attention and bring about fewer and fewer mistakes.

    The key to calm following making mistakes is to practice empathy for yourself instead of bullying yourself with thoughts such as you mentioned: “’You’re stupid, how could you not notice that.’ And ‘Why are you here? You can’t do this.’”

    When you hear the bullying voice, replace it with the empathy voice, with thoughts like: It is okay. It is okay to make mistakes. I am intelligent and capable when I am calm.

    Think of the child part of you who made a mistake: don’t be mean to this child; be gentle and patient instead. Be loving and kind to yourself.


    Ane Krstevska

    Life is too short to get stuck in fear and doubts, why not be happy? From this uncertainty, we fall in fear and doubt mode which is a bad cycle and last forever. Just imagine the greatest stories of all time, how they would sound if the heroes inside were with little self-confidence and self-doubt?

    Never allow yourself to fail because of abandoning your story. Never allow your fear to push you away from your life path. You can change those habits of getting stuck in self-doubt and anxious thinking cycles only if you stay loyal to your story.

    But how you can change your life if your story works against you? Very simple! Change your damn story, create a better one. Become the hero of your lifetime, sing this famous song every day. Be proud of it and always be pushing forward. One of my blogs talks about this in more details:

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