Dr Victor Thompson
Fear of failure, for runners and non-runners
A recent podcast interview with Runners World UK, on the topic of Fear of Failure in runners got me thinking about this area. (If you want to listen to the full podcast, check it out here.) Here’s my blog entry on the fear of failure in runners – which will relate to more than runners, quite possibly all sportspeople. Maybe even you.
First off, what do we mean by Fear of Failure?
A fear of failure is a fear, stress, or anxiety around making a mistake, an error, fool of yourself, of coming up short, of disappointing yourself or other people.
How does a Fear of Failure show itself in runners?
A Fear of Failure can show itself in several ways. If this is you, then you are likely to go easy in training, not pushing yourself that much. You won’t set any goals, or if you do, these are easily achieved, so you don’t risk non-achievement – failing. You are likely to dodge races, or if you enter them, you race well within your limits, probably finishing relatively fresh and not feeling that satisfied with your performance. A bit of relief. But not much satisfaction. Perhaps this sounds a bit like you?
If you fear failure, what are the consequences for you?
It won’t be a surprise, that all this leads to is feeling somewhat unsatisfied with your running and run performances. You achieve less. You feel less of an upside to running. You likely see and hear about others setting themselves challenging targets, entering races, pushing themselves and you look on with some envy, mixed with a bit of fear.
When you overcome a Fear of Failure, what good will happen?
Freedom! You are released to go for it. To enter races. To push yourself. To go for it! You relish the challenges. You face up to these. You get more from yourself. You feel more satisfied – no matter what time you do – knowing that you did your best. That’s all that counts. But that counts for a lot.
I think you will agree, that a Fear of Failure is limiting in many ways. The good news is, that this is a limiter that can be helped. If you are held back by a fear of failure in sport, then get in touch, or read more on my site on the types of sports psychology help that I offer.
Until the next time, take a bit more control over that mind of yours. Go do it.