Does Fear Cause Failure?

by Susan Johnson

Fear is partially a healthy response.  After all, if you have a lion chasing you, you want that fight or flight response to kick in and help you to think critically and act swiftly.  However, too often in our daily lives, we can get caught up in fear and let it run us.

What began as a healthy response now whispers in our ears various phrases of self-doubt.  “You are not enough.  You can’t do it.  You are not as good as….You are a failure.”  Are you a failure?  Never – just don’t give in to the negative self-talk and let it overwhelm your innate brilliance.  We all have our own unique gifts and it is easy to downplay and degrade them.  The key then is to take charge of your thoughts and emotions.  Remember that at this point the lion that is chasing you IS you!  Your very own negative thoughts and fears, which by the way influence your actions negatively as well, are the very ones able to take you down that spiral into failure if not checked and re-focused.  In the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth talks about how successful people have a “grit,” the very definition of which is passion and perseverance.  Don’t allow negativity to carry You to a hole so deep that you can’t climb out.  Take hold of that healthy determination to keep going despite obstacles until You reach your goal.

“Easy for you to say!”  It isn’t easy for me to say this at all, because I too struggle with a negative mindset and continually work my way back to being positive and going toward my goals.  In those dark days it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other and not be completely self-critical or blame others or the circumstances.  So how do you take that lion by the tail and show him who is boss? Start with intention.  In The Power of Presence, Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, Angela Duckworth writes about presence and intention. Make the intention right now to move through the world with a positive nature, knowing that despite any setbacks success is imminent.  You will use your gifts to their fullest – stay the course! Secondly, journal before bed.  Why?  Because over riding your subconscious is very important in taming the lion called fear.  By journaling what you are grateful for that day, you set your internal needle to positive.  Then write three intentions in your journal next to the three things you were grateful for that day.  These three intentions should be for week to come.  For example, I am positive and happy, or I am a successful businesswoman.  What you write goes into your subconscious if you do this as the last thing before bed.  You can change your intentions as needed, but don’t overwhelm your subconscious with things that aren’t attainable.  Throughout your day take inventory of your thoughts; are they positive or negative?  If they are negative, turn them around.  Positivity will propel you forward!  As I said before, fear does not have to cause failure – keep your thoughts and emotions in check.  As I tell my clients, give yourself “grace and space”.  You need grace through the difficult times so you don’t judge and criticize yourself and space to make mistakes, work through them and keep on moving forward.  Cheers to your success!

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Susan Johnson of Invigorated, is a Dallas-based Vibrant Living Coach, and speaker.  You can connect with Susan on Facebook:, LinkedIn:, email:,, or by phone M-F from 8am-5pm at 520-405-3403.