Does your ADD/ADHD fear of failure haunt you?
While fear alone is often part of a person’s ADD/ADHD self-description, it’s the fear of failure that probably screams the loudest.
Comparisons to others without ADD/ADHD is a very familiar and common experience for someone with ADD/ADHD. For most of their lives they’ve heard negative responses to their behaviors, followed by the “why can’t you be like ___?”
The built in negative self-comparison skill is usually well honed by adulthood. You don’t need someone to say it because you’re judging yourself constantly.
So, the fear of doing something “wrong” is very strong.
Then add in the need to control. With ADD/ADHD, people constantly feel out of control.
Yet, they crave a sense of control.
And what better way than to establish control than by using a set of measurement tools that are so rigid and limiting that failure should be impossible.
And with that, the handcuffs come out, paralysis sets in and Boo! You’re frozen in the fear of failure.
Working yourself out of this quick sand is certainly possible and doable.
Practice the following steps from my ADD/ADHD Coaching tool box:
- Consider the source of your fear; is it based on reality, facts, prior experience or a projection in your mind?
- Going forward, journal “scary” experiences that you have faced successfully in the past so that you can reference them in the future. Poor working memory can cause you to think that you’ve never faced anything like it in the past, and with that you feel blindsided and off-kilter.
- Overlay the tried and true filter: “what’s the worst that could happen?” Listing the possible outcomes can help you weed out the unrealistic (and scary) images.
- Introduce the idea of re-framing your thoughts. Rather than using descriptive words and phrases that provoke fear, such as “sick with worry,” or “overwhelm,” or “yet another problem,” substitute forward moving words and phrases. “I’m facing a challenge.” “I need to break this down into bite-sized pieces.” “I’m sure that I’ve faced this kind of challenge before, and lived through it. I can do it again.”