Fear of Making A Mistake
In this episode, I am going to discuss the fear of making a mistake - also called ‘atelophobia’. I will discuss how this fear develops, common symptoms and experiences, and what to expect in the healing process.
As with most fears and phobias, people with atelophobia dedicate a large portion of their time and energy to neutralize their fear. People that fear making a mistake also often become so concerned about making mistakes that they wind up falling behind at work or other areas of their life paradoxically.
So in this episode, I’ll cover the fear of making mistakes, the different ways where it can manifest, and common behaviours that reinforce it.
All right. Hello, and welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about fear of excessively doubting about making a mistake, right? So, you know, obviously mistakes are something that happened as, as part of life, right. And in every aspect. And you know, what happens sometimes with anxiety is that we get so consumed about making mistakes, that we just worry and worry and worry and worry about it. And to the point where it can become very unhealthy, right. It can start taking up all of our day. In fact, while we're doing something we're so worried about making mistakes, oftentimes it can actually lead to us making mistakes, right. Because what happens is, is that we get so consumed by whatever it is we're worrying about, that we're not even focused on what we're actually doing. So, um, you know, in this episode, what I want to talk about is just some, um, kind of practical ideas when it comes to, you know, if you're struggling with this fear, you know, some kind of initial action steps.
So, um, you know, the first is, is, you know, really starting to detach from that, that voice in our head. Right? Because again, that voice in our head is always, you know, especially with anxiety starting with, what if right? And that's, those are the thoughts that you really want to look for. Right? So like, what if, what if, what if, right, because when you are, you know, operating and doing something, you know, you're, if you're consciously and mindfully aware of what you're doing, you're going to know if you, if you messed up, right. Because you're going to be present, you're going to be there. What anxiety does, is it future paces, an idea, or, you know, and so like, what if I make a mistake in the future or it, what it does is it goes and takes us in the past, right. That's where anxiety lives is the past and future.
And so starting to become conscious of where your mind is trying to take you if you're not present. Right. I mean, like, that's, that is the key sign that that's that's anxiety. Right. Um, because if someone you're not present, that's actually, when you're most likely to, to make an air and this can come with anything, right. Whether it's work-related or, um, you know, with making, uh, you know, when you're cooking or leaving something unlocked. Right. I mean, like there's so many ways that that plays out, right. Fear of making a mistake. Um, so the first step is really just making that, um, you know, that space between you and your thoughts. Right. And really recognizing when those thoughts are popping up, what they're popping up about, and then where you go with that. Right. So you start analyzing the past and trying to remember something, or do you start, um, you know, trying to make sure that you don't do something, so you're going and doing a behavior again and again, because what we need to remember about anxiety is, is that the behaviors we engage in are what reinforced the thoughts.
And then that actually makes the thoughts keep coming, which then produces the anxiety response E or the response even more. And then that leads us to doing the same behaviors. And that's that loop that we get stuck in. So the first step is really seeing, you know, a being cognizant of your, of your thoughts, right? Realizing that you are the one that's experiencing them, you're the one that's hearing them. And then stepping back and saying, okay, well, what are the behaviors that I'm engaging in that are reinforcing that? So fear of making mistake is going to lead to a lot of checking behaviors, you know, very common or avoiding doing things because you're afraid of making mistakes. So if you're entering, you know, important data at work, you know, you might ask that, you know, you might ask a colleague to do that. Um, you know, just because that fear is, is, you know, that anxiety is too much, or it feels like it's too much, the problem is, is that by asking a colleague to do that, you reinforce the idea that you're not capable of that or whatever, or that it's too dangerous for you to do that.
And then again, you limit your life, your life becomes smaller and smaller and smaller. Um, so it's really important that, you know, recognizing those behaviors while they make you feel good in the short term, they're going to lead to that loop building. Right. And, and that fear being reinforced in your brain to continue producing those thoughts. And then, so, so the, so the first two steps, you know, just to kind of summarize right. Noticing your thoughts, right. And then also noticing the behaviors you're engaging in, right. And what those are, avoidance behaviors checking, controlling, or any kind of reassurance. Right. If you're constantly looking at something again and again, to reassure yourself that you didn't make a mistake. If you're doing that in an unhealthy way, that's actually going to reinforce the fear. And then finally really looking at kind of what's underneath all of that anxiety, right?
Like, what's, where's that fear where they go, what does making a mistake actually lead to? Right. And that's in the taking back control program, right? You have restored, mine's like, this is a big exercise we deal with when it comes to core fear exercises, right. Where it really comes back down to, you know, like, what are you really afraid of? Because making a mistake is just making a mistake, but it's, what's that going to, what, what, what happens underneath that mistake, right? Are people gonna reject you? Right. Are, you know, you know, are people gonna think poorly of you or they can make fun of you? Like, is it going to lead to some catastrophic event? And so once you begin to really understand what you're really afraid of underneath that idea of making a mistake, then what we can do is start to do, you know, exposures to that specific thing.
Right. Whether it's through narrative, um, narrative therapy, as well as, uh, you know, thought loops, um, using like, you know, imagination to really, um, target that specific event and do the exposure to that. And so, um, you know, and, and if this is sounding, if this is new concepts to you then, and no problem, we have some, obviously some additional resources [email protected] In fact, we'll include them down in the notes, um, to make sure that you have access, uh, we have additional trainings as well as, um, you know, downloads and PDFs and all, all sorts of stuff to help you on this journey. And so it's a very common, um, fear, right. And, but, but again, those three things are going to be very important overcoming that fear. So understanding, you know, diffusing from the thoughts, understanding the behaviors, all the behaviors you're engaging in mentally and physically, as well as, um, yeah, making sure we're taking it to kind of the root of what we're really afraid of in the exposure.
So really understanding that not just the mistake itself, what you're afraid of, but also underneath that, what you're really afraid of as well. So, um, yeah, no, thank you for time to, uh, take, thank you for taking the time to be with us on this episode. Again, I know it's a short one, but again, in this series, I really want to address, um, you know, many different subtypes of fears to really help you understand, uh, your experience, if this is something that you struggled with. So my name is Matt, and, uh, thank you again, and please check out the links below for additional resources. And I'll see you guys on the next episode, take care.