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Feeling Like a Failure

Embracing Imperfection: Reducing Burnout by Overcoming Fear of Failure

June 18, 20243 min read

"I haven't failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work" - Thomas A. Edison

The fear of failure can often drive us to overcommit and push ourselves beyond reasonable limits. This internal stigma makes us believe that anything less than perfection equates to personal failure. The result? Burnout, stress, and a perpetual sense of imbalance. Imagine feeling that ordering a pizza or going through the drive-through makes you a terrible parent because you didn’t prepare a homemade meal from scratch. This is just one of many examples where internal stigmas can negatively impact our well-being.

The fear of failure is a deeply ingrained belief that not succeeding perfectly equates to being unworthy or inadequate. This mindset can lead to:

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  • Overcommitting: Taking on too many tasks to prove our worth.

  • Perfectionism: Striving for an unattainable standard.

  • Self-Criticism: Harshly judging ourselves for any perceived shortcomings.

  • Burnout: Physical and emotional exhaustion from chronic stress and overwork.

Internal stigmas, like the fear of failure, can have far-reaching effects on our mental and physical health. They often result in:

  • Chronic Stress: Constantly feeling the need to prove ourselves.

  • Decreased Self-Esteem: Believing we are never good enough.

  • Imbalanced Life: Neglecting self-care and personal interests in pursuit of perfection.

  • Burnout: Feeling drained and overwhelmed by our responsibilities.

To break free from the cycle of fear and overcommitment, it's crucial to cultivate self-compassion and recognize that perfection is neither attainable nor necessary. Here are some actionable strategies:

Cultivate Self-Compassion

Practice Self-Kindness: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. Acknowledge your efforts and forgive your mistakes. This may mean looking yourself in the mirror and stating, “I forgive you.”

Embrace Imperfection: Accept that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and growth. Perfection is an illusion; striving for it only leads to frustration and disappointment.

Adopt the "Good Enough" Mindset

Prioritize What Truly Matters: Focus on tasks that align with your values and bring genuine satisfaction. Let go of the need to excel in every area. I encourage my clients to pick 3 tasks each morning to focus on. Everything above and beyond those three is a bonus.

Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable goals and break them into smaller, manageable steps. Celebrate your progress along the way.

Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude

Gratitude Journaling

Stay Present: Engage in mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing to stay grounded in the present moment. Taking a 5-minute pause each hour to perform a mind/body scan is effective for practicing mindfulness and helps reduce anxiety about future failures.

Cultivate Gratitude: Regularly reflect on what you are grateful for. Shifting your focus from what you haven’t achieved to what you have can enhance your overall sense of well-being. Start each day by asking yourself what you are most grateful for right now, then ask yourself why you are so grateful for it.

Celebrate Small Victories

Acknowledge Achievements: Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. This builds confidence and reinforces positive behavior. One exercise I run with my clients before bed each night is to ask them to write down three wins they had that day. No matter how small, they should be celebrated and reflected on.

Reward Yourself: Treat yourself to something enjoyable when you reach a milestone. This creates a positive association with completing tasks.

Addressing internal stigmas like the fear of failure is essential for promoting well-being and reducing burnout. By cultivating self-compassion, embracing imperfection, practicing mindfulness, and celebrating small victories, we can shift our focus from unattainable standards to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy. Sometimes, ordering a pizza is just what you need to nourish both your body and soul.

If you struggle with internal stigmas and find yourself burning out, contact us at [email protected]. Our certified coaches are ready to help you work through those negative, recurring thoughts.

Life BalanceFailureInternal StigmaBurnout
After experiencing burnout working long, stressful hours in the tumultuous oil and gas field, Megan decided to break out on her own and focus on health and wellness. Megan found a passion for teaching and coaching physical well-being but recognized the need to build mental resiliency in her clients, leading her to study positive psychology. Megan brings her passion for wellness back into the corporate environment by working with leaders to transform company cultures to focus on employee health and wellbeing.

Megan has studied various topics, from creating exercise and diet plans to building mental resiliency, understanding behavior change and creating engaging corporate programs. This led her to create Life Force Wellness LLC, a corporate wellness organization focusing on work-life balance and seven distinct areas of well-being. Megan has a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in psychology. She holds certifications as a personal trainer, health coach, nutrition coach, corporate wellness specialist, positive psychology practitioner, stress management, sleep and recovery coach.

Megan Wollerton

After experiencing burnout working long, stressful hours in the tumultuous oil and gas field, Megan decided to break out on her own and focus on health and wellness. Megan found a passion for teaching and coaching physical well-being but recognized the need to build mental resiliency in her clients, leading her to study positive psychology. Megan brings her passion for wellness back into the corporate environment by working with leaders to transform company cultures to focus on employee health and wellbeing. Megan has studied various topics, from creating exercise and diet plans to building mental resiliency, understanding behavior change and creating engaging corporate programs. This led her to create Life Force Wellness LLC, a corporate wellness organization focusing on work-life balance and seven distinct areas of well-being. Megan has a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in psychology. She holds certifications as a personal trainer, health coach, nutrition coach, corporate wellness specialist, positive psychology practitioner, stress management, sleep and recovery coach.

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