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Fear is a normal emotion and one that is necessary for life. To have no fear is incredibly dangerous. But again it needs to be balanced. The unconscious mind cannot differentiate between real and imagined fear, hence someone’s reaction to an armed robber can be the same as their reaction to a TV image of a snake. The adrenaline reaction produces the same symptoms.

Fear of failure

The fear of failure is one of the greatest blocks to achievement. To many people the phrase “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” makes no sense. For them it can be infinitely preferably not to take the risk of hurt.

An example of this was a client who was fearful of rejection and so would not put herself forward for promotion. Her coach helped her to realise how this was holding her back and causing frustration, and so the next time a better job became available, she made the choice to put everything into getting it. She didn’t, and the rejection hurt a lot. But (and it’s a big but), she knew she had survived, and she was proud to have gone for it in such a way. A few months later an even better job was advertised and she went for it again, and got it.

Fear of success

Conversely you will find that some clients have a fear of success. This may seem odd, but there can be many reasons and it is important not to second guess what the client’s reason may be. But it could be due to

  • A belief that they don’t deserve it
  • A fear of how they will be perceived
  • A fear of having to then repeat the success
  • A fear of failure following the success (eg it’s safer to fail as there isn’t then a drop)


Irrational fears may include phobias and disproportionate ideas. For example a client may be afraid of flying. The first question to ask is whether they are afraid of flying or crashing. The first is a phobia, the second is disproportionate. In my practice I deal with both scenarios.

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