How to Use Your Fear of Failure To Achieve Success

how to overcome and use the fear of failure to achieve success as an athlete

The fear of failure. It’s one of the three fears that holds athletes, coaches, and just people in general back from achieving what they want in life.  Being scared of failure is what causes a large amount of us to sit on the sidelines and be the status-quo instead of taking action and seizing the day. It’s what keeps us from taking a the risk.

The fear of failure is what can leave you sitting on the sidelines, feeling “numb and paralyzed”.  It’s what keeps you from taking the risk, making plays,

Why does the fear of failure hold people back?

Maybe its your parents, your environment, or some experience that you’ve had in life that forces you to back inside your comfort zone when you feel like you’re stepping out of your shell.

However, when it comes to athletes, the fear of failure is stemmed from two things:

  1. The fear of letting your teammates and coaches down.
  2. The fear of looking ridiculous because you fail miserably in your attempt.

Whatever the reason is, there’s a simple way to overcome your fear of failure. You don’t write the top 10 reasons down on a card or try to remember the advice from the 40 ways to overcome it. All you need to do is one simple thing:


Having a fear of failure is good. It’s what keeps you going.

Your fear of failure is what keeps you awake at night – planning, thinking, and obsessing over what you need to get done in order to be successful.

It’s what keeps you in the gym, training as hard as possible because you’re afraid of becoming a nobody.

It’s what makes you show up early to practices, workouts, and games so that you can prepare yourself to outperform everyone. Your fear of failure is what stops you from making shortcuts and taking the day road in life.

Embrace your fears and use them to your advantage. Use them to motivate you to  practice and train so that you can execute and outperform everyone else who wants to achieve the same things you want to.

Keeping a fear of failure will force you to keep working, to keep training, to keep pushing yourself every day.  It will force you to become better, faster, stronger than ever before. Your fear will make you prepare for your competition.

You need to be scared of failing and you need to feel like there is someone trying to chase you down. If you want to be a successful athlete, you have to be absolutely terrified of what’s behind you.


Your fear of failure should make you scared of being a participant instead of a performer.  It should make you afraid of being average, being just “OK”, being normal.

What your fear of failure doesn’t do is make you afraid to take action.  Afraid of looking stupid in front of people? Shouldn’t bother you. People can’t remember what happened 15 minutes ago in today’s world.  So, go out and fail – but learn from it and make adjustments.

Are you afraid of letting others down, such as your coaches or teammates? You shouldn’t be. Don’t play the game for their approval.  Play the game because you want to be at the top of the mountain.  You want to succeed in life.  You want to be the one that makes a better life for themselves.

If they’re let down because of your failures, its because of a flaw in themselves. Its not because of a flaw in you.


There’s no such thing as being the same. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. Use your fear of failure to take action.  Use it to get up and move. Nobody cares if you fail in practice, in the gym, or in games.

What you need to be afraid of is being the same person as you were yesterday.  You need to be petrified that you’re going to blink your eyes and its going to be a year or season later and you’ve made no progress.  That thought needs to be your worst nightmare so that you go out and take action and push yourself every day to become your best.

Get up and make moves. Quit making excuses and listening to your feelings. Get up – go – and take action every practice, every workout, and every game.  Go out and fail. Go out and trip up and look stupid.  Take the risk and want the ball when the game is on the line.  Winners always want the ball.  Use your fear of failure to propel you to take action and don’t let another day slip through your fingers.

That’s how you use your fear of failure to achieve success.

For more articles on how to overcome your fear of failure, achieve success, and become the best you can be, check out these articles:


Contributes to the “new culture” of sports and helps motivate you to achieve your potential.