The fear of not being good enough, otherwise known as atelophobia, is a very common fear.
In our society, which tends to worship the best and brightest, qualities such as perfectionism are viewed as highly attractive.
To us, perfectionists and other ambitious people are hardworking and passionate, and they deserve our respect.
Behind the scenes, however, lies a much darker image.
Many perfectionists and highly motivated people are being manipulated by their own desire for success.
They avoid certain things, overwork themselves and shape their lives around excelling at absolutely everything.
This endless journey to realise their own expectations causes great emotional distress, becoming even more pronounced should the reality of the situation fail to meet said expectations.
This fear controls your life
The fear of not being good enough is extremely problematic in the sense that you will never be good enough.
It is generally agreed upon that everyone makes mistakes, something that makes perfection entirely unattainable.
Not only that, but there are no people on this planet who do not experience complete failure from time to time.
And yet many people don’t get desensitized to the concept of failure and atelophobia is still very much a thing.
People with this fear avoid situations in which they might fail, for they much rather do nothing than experience failure.
The possibility alone is enough to absolutely terrify them.
They will experience stress whenever the slightest thing goes wrong, regardless of how impossible their standards were to begin with.
Does this sound familiar to you?
We all want things to go our way, but when this need starts bordering on an obsession then you have a problem.
Luckily for you, I know exactly how to deal with this fear.
You might never be good enough to be perfect but you really don’t need to be!
The fear of not being good enough can be dealt with, but it will not happen immediately.
After all, changing the way that you think is never easy.
1) Figure out what result is good enough for you
How much success is good enough for you?
This is actually a very serious question that overachievers should ask themselves and consider seriously.
As I have said before, we all know that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and yet you still believe that you are somehow above that statistic.
Sure, you might be saying that I am wrong, but the fact that you can’t accept failure tells a completely different story.
Striving to go past expectations is a good quality to have, but what are these expectations to begin with?
If nothing ever seems good enough to you then you will just keep going and still be disappointed by the result of your efforts.
For example, let’s assume that I work in sales and need to make at least 8 sales to make my boss happy.
I make 13 sales in one day and then 3 sales the next – This number averages to 8, and thus it is good enough.
If I didn’t have this mindset then the fact that I only made 3 sales in my second day would instantly make me think that I am a failure.
Defining what success means to you should be the first thing you do whenever you face a new task.
2) Make small steps towards success
Overachievers and perfectionists tend to expect too much of themselves.
Setting goals and doing your best to achieve them is great, and if you truly believe in your ability to achieve them then it’s even better.
That being said, the fear of not being good enough stems from the fact that sometimes you really are not good enough.
When you set your expectations impossibly high then you are only building up the foundations of your failure.
This would all be well and good for those who shoot high and keep at it even after failing multiple times.
Not you though, you can’t stand the thought of failure, you are scared of not being good enough.
In your case, shooting for the stars right off the bat is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.
Yet if your goals aren’t high enough then you won’t be making the most out of your potential.
In this case, I recommend setting smaller goals to accomplish in the near future.
That way, you can push yourself to accomplish your goals and experience successes and at the same time learn your limits and when to stop pushing.
3) Celebrate your successes
Look, people who strive for excellence and put in honest work in order to better themselves tend to do well in life.
This isn’t a matter of someone being particularly intelligent or talented, it’s just that hard work tends to work out.
If you are a truly dedicated individual then it is likely that you will succeed often.
So why are you so focused on your failures?
If you got a 95% on an exam, you would focus on the 5% that you did wrong rather than the 95% that you did right.
You wouldn’t do it so you could do better next time, either – Your need for perfection would drive you crazy.
The same could be said about every other aspect of life as well.
If you only barely met your deadline at work then it’s still good enough, and it is an achievement that should be celebrated.
Our lives are full of small successes, it’s just a matter of noticing and being appreciative of them.
This approach is extremely beneficial for overcoming this fear as well.
By being conscious of your achievements, the inevitable failures won’t make you feel as though you yourself are not good enough.
After all, you have so many victories behind you – How can you be a failure?
4) Consider whether or not the effort is worth it
It is true that, if we try hard enough, most things that we are trying to accomplish are within our grasp.
If we try hard enough to get in shape, we probably can.
If we try hard enough to excel at our job, we are likely to succeed.
Some people would call this phenomenon “The law of attraction”, I refer to it as the benefits of hard work.
That being said, sometimes the effort that we put behind our work is simply not worth it.
This is particularly obvious with perfectionists and overachievers of all kinds.
The Pareto principle states that, in many cases, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
In this particular case, it means that getting something done and doing a good job at it is many times more difficult than making it as good as it can possibly be.
For example, if I needed 5 hours of study to score 80% on a test, I would need 25 hours of study to get a perfect score.
In many cases, the difference between “done” and “perfect” is huge in terms of overall workload, and in many of these cases it is simply not worth it.
Only very specific tasks require us to push ourselves to our limit.
So instead of trying to do everything to the best of your abilities in every area in your life, to the point where it becomes an obsession, consider whether or not the end result is worth the hassle.
If it’s not, well, focus your efforts on other, more important tasks.
5) It’s fine to make mistakes
Society can be a truly ugly place.
Everyone is well aware of the fact that sometimes we make mistakes, yet we are expected to always pull through every situation.
Employers may fire you over the smallest of errors, your spouse might get angry with you if you accidentally forgot to do something, you might be rejected from a top university due to a mistake that was caused by your poor handwriting (I had that one happen to me personally).
That being said, most of these cases are relatively rare.
Your boss probably won’t immediately fire you if you make a tiny mistake, and your spouse is unlikely to just get annoyed with you for so little reason.
The point here is that mistakes and errors are a part of life.
We all seem to be aware of this fact, yet you can’t accept it when it applies to you.
All of the methods I talked about thus far have a lot to do with managing failure, and all of them are useful, but the truth is that until you learn to forgive yourself you are not going to get better.
Overcoming fear is a process
Many of us have been conditioned to excellence since a very young age.
Because of that, overcoming out tendencies towards perfectionism and our fear of failure is not going to happen overnight.
The fear of not being good enough is often rooted in the way that we were raised, and overcoming these feelings is not going to be easy.
The good news is that you are the person best equipped to help yourself.
I would highly recommend checking out the “Panic Away Program” for further help.
In it, you will find a great variety of methods, tips, and tricks to manage your fear better, including videos to demonstrate most of these techniques.
Before you go and do that, however, Here’s a quick question – Do you think that being a perfectionist is good or bad?
Be sure to write down your responses in the comment section below – I would love to hear from you!
If you got any further questions then feel free to contact me via Email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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