Social Anxiety: 6 Steps to Reduce Fear of Failure

Dealing with social anxiety can be incredibly difficult. Humans naturally seek connection and interaction with others as social beings, but social anxiety makes meeting this need challenging. It amplifies our pre-existing fears of being judged or failing in social situations. 

How does social anxiety enforce fear of failure? Have you ever had to give an important speech or presentation and nervously powered through it? Or maybe you had trouble communicating on a first date. You don’t have to let social anxiety control your life. There are steps you can take to manage and reduce its impact.

Step #1: Change The Way You Look At Failure.

Woman in White Long Sleeve Shirt and Blue Denim Jeans Sitting on Table

Failure can lead to opportunity. There is a popular children’s cartoon that teaches a valuable lesson that applies here. One of the main characters states, “Being really bad at something is the start of being really good at something!” Look at this idea in a real-world scenario.

Let’s say you applied for a job you wanted but didn’t make the cut. If you look back at the process and assess it, you can figure out what you need to work on for next time, like understanding that some interview questions come up in most job interviews. So you can have some pre-vetted answers prepared for your next interview. Having the time to build up your weak points could also increase your confidence on the next go around.

Step #2: Don’t Self Sabotage. 

Step 2 is closely linked to step 1. After experiencing a setback in a job interview, some individuals may become disheartened and decide to refrain from applying to similar positions, avoiding the pain of failure. This behavior is known as having “avoidance goals.” You should steer clear of them entirely.

There is no need to completely abandon your aspirations for a dream job due to one negative experience. Remember, you have the ability to rectify those mistakes. Instead of avoiding that particular job market, set a realistic goal for the future, such as enhancing your performance on your next interview.

Step #3: Eliminate The Unknown.

Most experts recommend avoiding the worst possible scenario. However, understanding the worst-case scenario may be beneficial regarding the fear of failure. Try making a list of your goals and the potential ways they can go south. Seeing these negative scenarios in writing can make them seem less scary, and you can also prepare for them by devising a backup plan.

Step #4: Never Stop Learning.

Here’s another step that can pair with step 1. Have you ever heard of the phrase “upsell?” Upselling is when you learn new skills to increase what you can offer to potential employers. This idea can also be applied to other social situations. How? People usually make friends with other people who have similar interests or skill sets. Upsell yourself by increasing your knowledge about the things you already enjoy. Your confidence will increase, and you can potentially impress a new friend.

Step #5: It’s Okay To Have A Back Up Plan

Having a potential backup plan if things go south can alleviate the potential pain of failure. Didn’t do well on that interview? Make sure to make notes for yourself and strengthen what you struggled with. Was your first date a dud? Get back on the horse again when you’re ready and have some planned conversational points. Having a plan B can alleviate a lot of the anxiety surrounding failure. 

Step #6: Fear Of Failure Is A Normal Part of Life

Rest assured that it isn’t only people with social anxiety who fear failure. Everyone will experience fear of failure at some point. Knowing that can bring you some comfort the next time you face a difficult social situation.

If you would like to learn more about social anxiety and how to reduce the fear of failure, feel free to contact me.