Atychi-what? Overcoming Atychiphobia

Over the years, dozens of professional advocate wannabes have talked to me about fear, including

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of doing the wrong thing for a client
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of losing their savings
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of making a mistake in their work
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of standing up to authority
  • Fear of failure

If your fears stand in the way of your success, then you have only two choices:

  • You can either give up and decide not to move forward with your dream of becoming a successful, professional, independent advocate.
  • Or … you can work to overcome them.


Atychiphobia is the word for a persistent fear of failure. In the past, I’ve also described it as the paralysis of analysis – the idea that you can’t move forward because your analysis of what might happen is failure.

If you are in the “give up” group then don’t bother reading the rest of this post.

This post is written for those who are brave enough to face their fears; those who know their advocacy is vital to the patients they will help, who dream of helping people professionally to improve their health care and cost outcomes, and is therefore worth the effort to overcome their fears.

I hope that means YOU!

If you are fearful of any aspect of starting and growing a professional advocacy or care management practice, then it stems from only one thing: the inability to control an outcome.

Pause. Think about that. Repeat: Fear stems from feeling as if you cannot control an outcome.

What I’m not going to do here is psychotherapy. We’re not going to figure out WHY you are afraid.

Instead, what I am going to do is give you a different way to look at your fears, and I’m going to suggest to you that YOU can control how you think about them. Therefore YOU can face your fears head-on – and overcome them.

drainLet’s begin with one of those fears at the top of this post: the fear of losing one’s savings. Let’s break it down:

Starting an advocacy business can be expensive. There are many expenses incurred early, before paying clients become available, and that means many of us have to dip into our savings to get started. The fear comes in when we worry about having to dip into too much of our savings, or that are are forced to use credit cards, without enough paying clients to cover our expenses, pay off those credit cards, or otherwise put us into a financial hole.

Those who “over fear” the loss of money may never actually get started with their advocacy businesses.

What’s the solution? To think through the fear – to master it. Like this:

Lather, Rinse, Repeat for each of the fears listed above, plus others you think of for which you need to develop solutions, too.

The difference between those who launch and succeed, vs those who never launch is merely this exercise… figuring out how to neutralize those fears… figuring out how to overcome your atychiphobia.

Your attitude about success or failure will determine the outcome. Or, as the far more eloquent Henry Ford said,

So – what are you afraid of? It’s time to figure that out. And while you’re at it, figure out how to neutralize it, too.


*One way to overcome your fear… Take a course to learn how to capitalize your new practice! Giving Your Practice a Healthy Financial Start

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