4 ways to overcome fear of failure after a poor review

Performance reviews can bring a mix of emotions, both before and after. If your review is below what is expected, this can result in feeling defeated, anxious and worried. These emotions also can create a fear of failure at work. We’ve asked business experts for their advice about how to gain confidence, keep a poor review in perspective and how to surmount your feelings of failure.

Realize the review doesn’t define you

We all know it’s not easy to hear constructive criticism about your personal attributes and performance.

“The one thing you should not do is become highly defensive or self-critical about what you have heard,” says Angelique Hamilton, HR Consultant, and a life and organizational development coach.

“We all view ourselves more highly than others may view us. The review will shed light on areas you may have overlooked and not focused on. You are not a failure.”

Process the feedback and act on it

Hamilton says the best approach to take after receiving a less than stellar review is to identify the areas of improvement defined in the review. “Use the assessment as a learning opportunity,” she says.

Take it one step further and schedule a time to meet with your supervisor to discuss the feedback, ask how you can improve in the highlighted areas and create a personal development plan.

“Over the next review cycle, incorporate your personal development plan into your business goals. It will give you a chance to improve your performance and enhance your self-development,” adds Hamilton.

“When you accomplish your goals, it will be a success for you and your company.”

Keep the feedback active-oriented

Understand the criticism may be action-oriented and not related to your personality.

“It’s important to look at that feedback objectively because reviewing feedback should be about actions and not characteristics,” says Amelia Ransom SPHR, senior director of engagement and diversity at Avalara. “This means it should be something a person can actually change.”

For example, “You’re mean” isn’t feedback. “If you receive feedback that’s personality-driven, ask your manager to reconstruct your review so that isn’t the case,” she says.

Embrace your future as bright

Have a positive mindset about performing well in the future. It’s vital to overcoming fear and performing well at work.

“Don’t leave the review and think it’s time for you to just give up,” says John Rampton, founder, and CEO of Calendar. “It’s never time to give up. It’s time for you to shine.”