How to Overcome These Ten Symptoms of Fear of Failure

Fear of failure cripples tens of millions of kingdom citizens. Yet, the promises of Jesus await overcomers. Let’s tlka about how to overcome fear of failure.


Fear of failure is, among other things, fear of man. Failure is what you see in other people’s eyes more than what you see in the mirror. Knowing what you should be and do and being and doing that as a priority in the kingdom of God is the accurate measure of success. Fear of man is a trap that often asks you to diminish others and yourself to protect yourself from a sense of inadequacy. Doing nothing is better than feeling inadequate whe you are fear of failure mode. Overcoming fear of failure begins with disrupting the cycle.

Think clearly for a moment about whose disapproving voice you hear. Envision who disapproving eyes you see. Now, shift your vision to Jesus, shift your hearing to Jesus. Shift your thinking to “every thought in obedience to Christ.”

Often, the voice you need to hear and the eyes you need to see will stand in front of you. Jesus has representatives of His overcoming courage who will speak to your heart and look into your eyes to impart strength and courage. Never be hesitant to seek help from Jesus by seeking help from His representatives.


Failing makes you worry about your ability to pursue the future you desire. Inadequacy itself, naked and ashamed as you feel, remains in the forefront of your mind. What you want seems impossible, so you reject the first steps or daily practices that lead to the impossible. You avoid getting your hopes up because your hopes leave you feeling more inadequate.

Return your life to God’s priorities. Know that God works all together for your good when you prioritize His purposes. Know you can be and do what you need to be and do in Christ when who you are and what you do is consistent with Father’s will.

Rebuild your courage around what you know and believe instead of what fails to materialize daily and doubt about your capabilities. At the same time, you learn the higher and greater things needed to live in your ultimate.


When doing is your measuring of acceptance or value, you project disappointment and devaluation into the eyes of people you would like to see approve of you and what you do. If you build identity in what you do as a basis for being valued, loved, or accepted, and fear of failure remains part of the mix, you will see and hear disapproval where it does not exist. You will project your fear upon people as if they feel like you suspect. You will find yourself judging people about what they think of you when they are not thinking about you at all.

Find some new leaders. Find some new friends. Break the cycle. Shift your environment to meet your inner greatness more than to sooth your inner weakness. Stop playing to your weakness. Move into overcomer mode!

Loving losers? Stop! What you have done is seek a lower level of expectation, but the same syndrome controls your mind. You just moved yourself further down from the place of overcoming when you sought a lower level of approval.

Acceptance is not based upon performance, in the first place. A leader who loves you will not reject you because you don’t measure up. They will press you into the courage to improve. They will test your metal with fire and discipline, beat on you with the hammer to increase your tensile strength, then plunge you into cold water to shock you into a new level of usefulness. Yeah, they will act like you are better than you– right now–because they know you are better!

They will convince you. You will start seeing the overcomer within your heart instead of fearing the failure you envision in your mind.


Getting identity or self-approval from what you do– a performance-based self-value system– provides an inaccurate measurement of your capabilities and possibilities.

That is, your fear of failures keeps you from preparing, doing, and finishing what needs doing, so you start normalizing that experience. You start thinking you have topped out when you are engaging your best and highest in producing your ultimate.

Break fear of failure by setting meaningful, measurable, and meritorious goals in the condition you experience right now.

Start producing little successes. Stop getting up thinking you are not ready to climb Mount Everest. Run up a small hill several times before running up a slightly bigger hill. Recapture your confidence in your capacity. Stop listening to the reports of world records broken in running up hills while you are training.


You choose the people whose opinions count. Stop attempting to please people you do not even like, who would not care if you were successful if you were, or hold you in contempt with a perverted soul tie based upon false expectations or misuse.

By soul tie, in this sense, I mean soulish bondage to their assessment of you. That probably means a parent, teacher, leader, or peer with whom you have fallen into a false relationship. Your father or mother is God. Your peer isn’t your king. You are not a slave to anyone. You cannot live in bondage to other people’s emotions.

Redefine your relationship with these people so that you maintain love and honor for their appropriate roles in your life but jettison the bondage chains that keep you in fear of their disapproval.


Do not do the “My throat is really bothering me” thing just before you sing a special song that says, “I fear a big failure here and provide you with a great excuse for recognizing that failure.”

“I ain’t much” and “this is gonna be a mess” are ways of protecting yourself from fear of failure because you live in expectation of it. You will live up to your false expectations. You will start believing in your own excuses. You will become the person of your fear instead of the person of God’s purpose.

Stop apologizing for being yourself and start living by what you will be when you overcome. The overcomer’s mentality is the faith-foundation of an achiever.


Fear of failure fades out your view of your goals and God’s assignments. You focus upon “what if I fail,” and who you are if you fail instead of “who I am” and “what it takes to succeed.”

Nothing empties your soul of God’s blueprints like fear of failure. Do what you fear. Overcome!

I ask people to write something when they finish one of the courses in the Kingdom Leadership Institute. []

You would think Dr. Don was asking people to amputate their left feet! It is like pulling teeth or enduring a poke with a hot iron. They fear their writing will be inadequate, they will be judged as a person by what the students communicate in seventeen paragraphs, or they will have to answer for these words the rest of their lives.

So, I demand they overcome! I insist they move past all those irrational fears of failure. Overcomers are the beneficiaries of special, select promises from Jesus.


Fear of failure requires the most creative juices of your mind just to come up with excuses for not even trying. Not showing up at all because of some imagined physical, mental, or relational crisis marks the chart of your daily lifestyle.

Stop making excuses that make no sense! You will never do much of anything if you give in to whatever it takes to stop you. Overcome just to participate, and you will overcome while you participate.

One time, I had a high fever and weakness so severe that I could not get out of the seat when I went down from my hotel room for my ride to the venue where I would preach. One time, I didn’t go. That is of mention here because it was one time. The rest of the time, I went.

I have gotten up to preach when I couldn’t remember my own name, preached better from that condition, got healing or a beginning point for overcoming because I just refused to quit.

You cannot overcome swinging in a hammock of excuses with a soft drink in your hand. You gotta say no to your weakness and yes to your strengths. You gotta give God and grace a chance to kick in and push you forward!


Procrastination is often a fear of failure symptom–not always, but often enough to mention it. Your distraction has mental impetus from fear. You avoid what should become your focus. You turn away from what you should hug up close. You put on tomorrow’s calendar what should be your first task after breakfast.

Fear of failure will make giants out of ants, an all-day event of a five-minute tire change, and justification for accomplishing nearly nothing.

People who live by making phone calls, knowing that nearly all those calls will end with “no thank you,” to get to the 1 or 2% who will listen to them long enough to make an appointment or close a sale often find a thousand good reasons not to make phone calls at all.

“Nobody wants to talk early in the morning,” so they wait until 10 AM. “People all at some appointment at this time of day,” so they wait for a lunch break.

“People enjoy an uninterrupted lunch,” so they put off making the first call until 1:30 PM. And so on…

All this time, you are reading, working on your pitch, and motivating yourself to endure hundreds of “no’s,” right? No, you are not. You are blowing your time on time-killing distractions, watching game shows, or playing video games on your smartphone. You are talking trash with someone who you think understands your call reluctance as well as you do who is secretly wondering why you are a quitter.


My basketball coach told me several times that I needed to practice as I played in the games. He knew that I lost my fear of failure when the adrenaline kicked in but feared failure when the coach watched the drills that produce greater, more consistent skills. Apply this principle to fear of failure.

Fear of failure leaves you with a long trail of unfinished projects left lying about because you ran out of whatever you needed to endure the process required to finish them. The initial events discouraged you so much that you got busy with something else.

Not all unfinished projects are the wreckage of fear of failure, but this one of the symptoms of the syndrome that becomes evident when the others are present. You tend to run out of what is needed to finish because you fear the finish will never live up to your expectations.

In conclusion, the Bible calls you “overcomer,” and that identity is part of the identity from Christ that targets you for His greatest promises. Start walking in overcoming today!

The learning curve always bugs me. As a perfectionist–someone with a tendency that is a weakness I must intentionally overcome–the first steps look so clumsy to me and the outcome of the first finished product so embarrassing compared to world-class leaders that I wish to quit.

I must lead with my overcomer strengths instead of my “I’ll just embarrass myself more” weaknesses. I must never see failure as the outcome of my efforts. I must grab hold of continual improvement. I must do my homework on skill development and problem-solving. I must get the following finished product better in measurable ways.

I must also recognize that my singing will not match Andrea Bocelli’s. I must know that what I can accomplish with the tools at my disposal will not match what can be done with multi-million dollar tools and computer-generated expertise.

My fear of failure and my perfectionism must both get into the bull ring. Worn down by my continual redirection, like a red cape moving the bull to weariness, I plunge the swords into the spine of these monsters.

I stand back to the applause that comes to overcomers, knowing that failure is not my friend.

Like David in failure, I never pout or doubt. I encourage myself in the Lord and ask the right question when faced with horror: “Can I pursue the pirates that stole my entire life and get it all back?”

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Dr. Don

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