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Fear of Professional Failure and Addiction

A businessman sits on the steps outside his office with his head in his hands.
Fear is a reality of life. The question is do you avoid your fears or do you face them?


Fear can only exist in the future. That’s because we fear things that haven’t happened yet. And, in this world, there is plenty to be afraid of.

There are many different strategies for getting past your fears. But fear of failure at work can be one of the toughest to conquer. There’s good reason for that. Losing your job, for example, results in both a loss of income and a huge blow to your self-esteem.

Fear of Failure at Work and Addiction

Fear is like a fork in the road. When we’re faced with it, we have two choices: Face our fears or numb ourselves to fear.

We numb ourselves with all kind of things. Shopping, binge eating, web surfing, drugs and alcohol.

Then there is the other option—facing your fears. Consider this quote by Winston Churchill:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Another way to phrase that, courtesy of French writer Victor Hugo, is: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.”

The big question, then, is how do you master your fear?

How to Face Your Fears

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to fear. Finding exactly what works for you will take effort. Here are some strategies that have worked for others:

  • Acknowledge your fears. Take time to think and actually zero in on your specific fears. Podcaster and best-selling author Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting,” and says it can be more important than goal setting. He outlines how to do that in this TED talk.
  • Be vulnerable. Brene Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston and author of the best-selling book, “Daring Greatly.” In it, she argues that we cannot be truly courageous unless we are willing to be vulnerable. If we’re willing to let people see who we really are, it’ll allow us to walk in the arena and live life to the fullest.
  • Address stress. Stress and fear often feed off of each other. Exercise and meditation are two powerful ways to deal with stress and stop the vicious cycle of fear-stress from getting out of control.
  • Visualize obstacles. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people who visualize what’s in store for the upcoming week feel more energized and accomplish more than those who don’t. Think of a specific work situation you are afraid of. Visualize it happening, allow yourself to feel the fear and then see yourself moving forward. The study found that visualizing obstacles yielded better outcomes than simply imagining that everything would go smoothly.

Getting the Help You Need

It’s true that everyone has a choice in how they react to the challenges and fears of life, but that’s not quite the whole story.

Once you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, your brain has changed in a way that can make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stop using on your own.

A good treatment program can give you the tools you need to get your life back on track, including coping strategies to deal with life’s difficulties without numbing yourself.

About The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver where you can find the help you need to rebuild your life. Our team of experts works together to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of addiction. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

Tap button to call The Raleigh House.

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