Responsibility is scary because it means you’ve to take responsibility for your choices, and that can be overwhelming, especially when it affects others. But the problem is that you’re already doing it! You’re already responsible for so much just by living your life. But also being responsible for others can make a big difference.
Responsibility Can Lead to Fear
It’s important to acknowledge at the outset that fear of responsibility is a common phenomenon. In fact, according to some research, fear of success is also common and can lead to anxiety, stress, and eventually burnout, which in turn leads to poor performance.
Of course, in many cases, poor performance can lead to failure. It makes you want to hide under the covers and pretend you’ve never heard the word “responsibility.”
So what’re some ways you can face up to your responsibilities? And why should you do it?
Fear of Responsibility Is Common
Fear of responsibility is common, especially among people who struggle with anxiety disorder.
Many people worry that if they allow themselves to be less than perfect and have everything under control, they’ll lose the respect of others. They also worry that failing at an important task will have dire consequences for them and/or others.
Focusing on these worst-case scenarios can cause a person to become overwhelmed by even relatively small tasks.
People with anxiety-related responsibility phobia may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning because their biggest fear is that something terrible will happen if they’re late for work or school.
Their thoughts often revolve around all the things that could go wrong during the day, which makes them feel anxious and stressed throughout the day – and as a result, they have a harder time completing their tasks or working well with others.
What Causes Fear of Responsibility?
Responsibility Can Lead to Anxiety
I’m not an expert. I share my own experiences, which may be different from other people’s.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with anxiety, panic attack(s) related to the topic, negative thoughts, or the feeling that you may have a mental illness, please seek medical advice or emotional support from a professional.
Intense fear is a natural human response to threatening or stressful situations. It takes you out of your comfort zone and can produce an emotional response. Stress is a reaction to intense fear that can be normal, but it can also become excessive, irrational, and overwhelming. When this happens, it’s could be stress or an anxiety disorder. That’s why it’s always best to seek medical advice.
There are many things that can trigger this particular fear, which is individual and can range from social stressful situations to work-related stressors to physical health problems like heart disease or mental health problems like depression or worse. Therefore, extreme fear of responsibility needs to be carefully examined.
Fear of the Unknown
Uncertainty is part of the game. When you take on responsibility, you’ll be faced with many situations you’ve never experienced before. You may have to make decisions that no one has made before, and you feel completely unprepared for them. You may meet people who’re very different from those you’ve met before. You may even find yourself in new places you don’t know.
- How can you prepare yourself?
- Be open to learning from others.
- Proactively develop a system for yourself and establish routines.
- Keep a positive attitude by remembering the things that come easily to you.
- Find a mentor to guide you through the growth process when you feel stressed or nervous.
- Make sure you have your priorities straight
Fear of Failure
If we’re honest, sometimes it’s our fear of failure that causes us to fail. We may be so afraid of failure that we don’t take the risk – and that’s not good, because failure itself is rarely as bad as we think.
Failure also teaches us more than success. It’s how we learn to avoid problems in the future and become stronger. Instead of being afraid of failure, you should see it as an opportunity to improve yourself.
We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all have things we’re not proud of, but we can’t let that stop us from trying new things and taking risks.
If you’re afraid, what you’re really feeling is humility. Humility is the perfect starting point to begin something new because it means you have the courage to admit that you don’t know everything and that you need help.
It’s also a sign that you respect yourself enough to be vulnerable to others and admit that there’s something you don’t know yet.
A large part of our self-esteem depends on our ability to accept and embrace the possibility of failure. If we don’t take risks, it’s because we’re afraid of failure, and that’s a good thing – it keeps us from doing (and saying) stupid things. But when those fears become so paralyzing that they keep us from trying new things, they’ve gone too far.
The fear of humiliation or rejection, if we fail, can be huge for some people. It can keep us from doing things before we’ve even started them, and if we let it get to us, it can undermine our confidence and self-esteem. If you don’t accept failure as part of the process, you’ll never get past the point where your fear holds you back.
But here’s the thing: To succeed, you’ve to be willing to fail. You may not have much success the first time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again until you succeed. It just means that you should learn from each experience so that you can do better next time! Remember that you aren’t alone, many have been down the same road.
Fear What Others Will Think if You Fail
Managing people or a project will always be difficult. It’s like you’re taking on a huge responsibility. You’ve to make decisions and do your best to do what’s best for everyone, but if you don’t please everyone, it’s not the end of the world. That’s not what you’re here for! You’re here to get results and help everyone do their best.
Most Leaders Go Through This at Least Once, Usually More Than Once.
Fear of being overwhelmed – We all know it: that feeling of being overwhelmed. When you’re in charge of an entire team and suddenly you feel like you can’t do it. I’ve been there, and I know how scary it can be.
Make sure you prioritize! Stay organized and keep track of your work. Focus on the important things and delegate the rest when necessary. Once you’ve divided everything up for yourself, the feeling should go away as soon as you get down to business. If not, it’s best to talk to someone who’s experienced in your field, and perhaps learn from them – a mentor or even a therapist, depending on your stress level.
Lack of Freedom
Taking on responsibility is hard work and can come with sacrifice, and you may have to give up some freedoms you used to have.
You may have to cancel dinner with friends on Tuesday or go to the movies on Friday night. But it’s important to first weigh how much time you want to spend taking on responsibilities.
Only commit to them if you’re sure you can fulfill them. If you don’t, you’ll not only disappoint yourself but others as well, which can make things worse than they already were.
If you’re new to a leadership position, the first thing you need to do is earn the trust and respect of your team. This can be tricky because not everyone is naturally gifted at building relationships with others. If you struggle with this, here are a few tips on how to gain people’s trust:
- Stay true to your word. Your coworkers may not trust you yet, but they’ll be watching you and hoping you’ll show them that they should. This means keeping your promises – if you say you’ll do something by a certain time or in a certain way, keep it.
- Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. The best way to build trust is to show that you’re willing to share what’s going on inside you. This doesn’t mean you should spill your deepest feelings and fears, but being open with your coworkers about what’s going on in the company can help them feel included, which in turn builds trust and solidarity between all of you.
- Listen carefully. When someone shares their concerns with you or asks for clarification, don’t just give them a quick answer, but ask questions and listen carefully until you really understand what they’re getting at.
- Be as transparent as possible. If an employee comes to you with a tricky question, don’t try to lie or hide, and if you can’t give a clear answer, just be honest about not being able to. The same is true if you make a mistake. If you want others to be transparent with you, be transparent with them.
Fear of Not Recovering From Failure
The idea that you must be perfect, flawless, and never make a mistake isn’t only unrealistic, it’s unhealthy.
We all know people who have made at least one mistake in their life. Whether it’s small and relatively insignificant or big mistakes with far-reaching consequences, it’s likely that all of your family members, friends, colleagues, and bosses have had the experience of doing something wrong.
What separates people who’re successful from those who’re not isn’t their perfection, but the way they react when they do something imperfectly. Instead of judging themselves and being discouraged when they make a mistake, they learn from it and move on. They face adversity with courage and strength. They know they face challenges, but also that they’ve what it takes to overcome them.
As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Unless you’re in the military or risking other people’s lives, the chances of surviving a failure should be pretty high!
It’s true, when you take charge of your life, your life changes in a big way. Suddenly you have a lot more hard work to do, and you may feel the urge to run away and go back to the way things were before.
Remember that this new way of living will make you grow in one way or another, as long as you’re willing to take a chance. Life is unpredictable, and if you’re okay with that, then you’re probably okay with that. The most important thing is that you know yourself and your own limits because only you know what you can learn from this experience.
Leaders Often Work Under Pressure Because They’ve Too Many Tasks
Most leaders often work under pressure because they’ve too many responsibilities. You may feel overwhelmed, relaxed, or even anxious because you’ve so much to do. You often feel like you’ve too much to do in too little time, which can lead to a number of negative feelings, such as feeling like you’re going to fail or that you’re going to disappoint the people around you. If this is the case, remember that it’s not uncommon; many people struggle with these feelings every day! Here are some tips on how you can deal with it:
- First of all – remember that everyone at work has their own issues and stresses, just like you. Even if they seem calm at first glance, you can’t know what’s really going on in their head; this is true for both superiors (higher) and subordinates (lower). Try not to be influenced by the behavior of others when dealing with stress!
- Second, remember that every human being makes mistakes sometimes, no matter how careful they are! That doesn’t mean you should stop doing things because a bad thing might happen – but instead focus on learning from past mistakes so they don’t happen again in future situations.
It also helps me to always think first about what I’d do in the worst-case scenario. Most of the time, no negative outcome or traumatic event occurs then, because thinking of the worst-case scenario and knowing that I’d still be able to maintain control helps me control my negative emotions and fight my greatest fear.
Prioritizing Is Key
Most of us have some level of responsibility to take on. Maybe we’ve to mow the lawn or help your child with homework. But what you do when you know you’re not up to the task often complicates matters.
I’ve found that worrying about a task I can’t handle is a kind of reckless behavior – and thus something I definitely don’t want to do. It gives me an excuse not to act, which then leads to me doing even less than if I’d just gotten going. So I try to remind myself that sometimes it’s okay to not do something perfectly – because the real power comes from knowing that you did your best, even though you weren’t sure you could really do the task.
I’ve found that this practice helps me better decide how much time to spend on tasks that scare me – and whether they even need my attention.
The Common Symptoms of Fear of Responsibility
- Difficulty concentrating. Your brain is busy thinking about the things you need to do and can’t focus on anything else.
- Difficulty sleeping. When you finally get to bed, your thoughts are still circling around all the tasks in your life. Sometimes it feels like there’s a never-ending list of things that need to get done, and your brain doesn’t want to stop thinking about them!
- Irritability. Especially when you’re stressed out because you’re taking on too many tasks at once, you may snap at people or get angry over little things. This can make it harder to find help for what’s stressing you out or scaring you!
- The paranoia of rejection. It’s easy to worry about what other people will think or say when you make a certain decision or take a certain action. But in reality, it’s not your job to worry about others’ reactions to your decisions – and it’s pretty hard to predict others’ reactions anyway. It’s really your job to figure out what choices are best for you and stick to them. That’s all you can do.
How to Overcome the Fear of Responsibility
If you have a fear of responsibility, try to identify the source of your fears and eliminate them. If you think you can’t handle it alone, it might be a good idea to talk to a friend or family member you trust.
Self-confidence and self-esteem go hand in hand with overcoming the fear of responsibility. Try to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat healthily, talk to a therapist if needed, think positive thoughts, take deep breaths, and try to meditate regularly. These things can help combat fear when it occurs.
As mentioned above, I can only speak about my experiences and I am not a health or mental health specialist. If you’re worried about your well-being or feel ongoing negative emotions, be sure to talk to a professional.
The Positive Factors
The good news is that many people are afraid of responsibility. That’s right, many of your friends who seem to have it all figured out and make great decisions are actually just as scared as you’re. In reality, fear is what drives us to make the best decisions.
Before we make a decision that seems risky, we often feel a sense of dread and fear to protect us from making a bad decision. Fear is a natural reaction when we’re faced with unknown circumstances or negative consequences.
Unfortunately, many people let their fears lead them to make bad decisions or even avoid making a decision at all. This often happens during adolescence, when young adults are working toward independence for the first time in their lives. They don’t want to leave the safety of their parent’s home because they’re afraid of being alone or failing without parental help. They may also be afraid of disappointing their parents if things don’t go perfectly.
At this point, it’s helpful to learn about the positive aspect of fear: it can help you understand that your feelings are much more powerful than outside forces that can affect your life if you let them take over without reason
Not Everyone Is Made to Take on Great Responsibility
For some, responsibility is a blessing; for others, it’s a curse. If you fall into the latter category, don’t worry: you’re not alone!
10 Tips on How to Handle Better Your Responsibility
- Learn to recognize your limits: Say “no” to people who try to put too much on you
- Delegate tasks whenever possible
- Set priorities and stick to them – don’t let others tell you how and when to do the things that need to get done
- Take breaks when necessary – even if it doesn’t seem necessary now, it’ll be necessary later in life if nothing changes (and yes, I’m talking about myself here…)
- Gain confidence as a leader
- Work on your skills.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you haven’t done something before.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Almost all of the best leaders I’ve worked with had an accepting attitude toward failure: they were willing to learn from their mistakes and didn’t let it dampen their work ethic or commitment.
- Don’t be afraid to learn from others The learning and teaching that happens between people is essential to a team’s success, so don’t ignore it!
- Know when to take a break from responsibility
It’s important to take breaks from responsibility. For example, I like to play chess to distract myself, but I also know that it’s important to take time off so I’m re-energized and ready to tackle the next project. It can be very tiring to be stuck in a rut and not seem to get anything done at work or even at home. I’ve also found that meditation is helpful. When I find the time, I sometimes take a meditation retreat to review my priorities and re-energize.
I’ve also heard that exposure therapy can be very effective in combating your greatest fear or extreme fear.