In 1864, a brutal winter hit the town of Panguitch in Utah (then called Fairview). The people in the town would soon starve if they could not get needed supplies. So rescue parties were sent out to the nearest towns. One party went north but had to turn back due to worsening weather. The other party intended to go west over the mountains 50 miles to Parowan. To get there, they had to travel through miles of thick snow with their feet sinking at every step.

The journey was exhausting.

As they grew tired, they began to feel hopeless, so they decided to ask for divine guidance. They lay quilts on the ground and knelt to pray. As they did so, they noticed something unexpected. They were no longer sinking through the thick snow. This sparked an idea. What if they could use the quilts to travel without exhausting themselves so much? So they found a way to use the quilts like snowshoes which eased their journey to the next town.

When we try to solve a problem, it’s easy to miss out on the less obvious solutions.

Similarly, when we want to find the beliefs that cause a fear of failure we can easily miss out on the less obvious beliefs. That’s why I’ll show you a kind of belief that few people know about which can contribute to a fear of failure. They are called survival strategy beliefs.

A survival strategy belief is a belief that helps you cope with another belief you have

So for example if you formed the belief “I’m not good enough” then you might later form a belief that allows you to feel good enough such as “What makes me good enough is achieving.” Another Example is a person who forms the belief “I’m not important” later developing the belief “What makes me important is achieving.”

But why do people form survival strategy beliefs?

First, we form a negative conclusion about ourselves, such as “I’m not worthy” or “I’m not good enough.” This usually happens in early childhood. These beliefs say something is fundamentally wrong with you. And if something is wrong with you on this basic level, that also means that you are missing something that would help you survive.

If you really are flawed in such a fundamental way, how would you make it in the world?

So of course, the mind being a problem solving organ will pick up on anything that might be a solution to this problem. The solution at first, comes by total accident. People you care about notice that you’ve done something they value and praise you for it. Maybe they praise you only when you do things “exactly right.” If so, you may decide “What makes me goodenough is doing things perfectly”. Or maybe you get praise only when you show your intelligence by getting right answers. Then you may conclude “The way to be good enough is to be smart.”

Once a survival strategy belief is formed, you then feel the need to fulfill that strategy on a constant basis. You may feel the need to achieve, to do things perfectly, to seek the approval of others. And no matter how much positive feedback you get, it’s never enough.

And how does this connect to fear of failure?

Once you form a survival strategy belief like “What makes me good enough is doing things perfectly” on one level it can feel like your survival is threatened if you do not fulfill it. If you aren’t able to do things perfectly, like the belief says you must, then you will feel “not good enough.” The scary thing we’ve been avoiding now rears its ugly head. Once you become acquainted with the fact that your survival strategy won’t always work, you can now fear failure.

How do you identify a survival strategy belief?

One way to find your own survival strategy belief is by asking “What do I have to do to be good enough, or worthwhile or important?” Take that answer and use it to formulate a survival strategy belief that starts with “The way to x is y.” In that sentence X is the belief and Y is the behavior or outcome. So for example if your answer to “What do I have to do to be good enough?” is I have to achieve, then you would write your belief as “The way to be good enough is to achieve.”

To get rid of a survival strategy belief, you use the Lefkoe Belief Process, as with all other beliefs. It’s a lot to cover in this article. However, you can get videos that guide you through the process here:

To sum up, survival strategy beliefs contribute to the fear of failure. They do this by first helping you to feel like you’re fixing the problem created by another belief. However, this strategy won’t always work. Once you know this, you can start to fear that the strategy may not work at times.

You can identify a survival strategy belief by asking “What makes me good enough, worthwhile or important?” And then putting your answer into the form of “The way to be [belief] is to [behavior or outcome].” You can eliminate a survival strategy belief by using the Lefkoe Belief Process.

The rescue party leaving Fairview, Utah did succeed. The supplies they brought back from the neighboring town provided relief from the prospect of starvation. When you discover and eliminate a survival strategy belief, you will also feel a great sense of relief. We are often told that the craving to do more created by this belief finally goes away, once we help a client eliminate it.

Next steps

In January 2020 we’ll be offering our training program called Lefkoe Method Training 1. In that program, you learn how to eliminate your own beliefs as well as those of others. If you want to find out more, you can go here: To take part, you will need to join the waiting list first. A link to join the waiting list is also on that page.

And as always, our program Natural Confidence is available. It helps you eliminate 19 beliefs that cause fear and prevent you from having confidence. It also, helps you eliminate a few survival strategy beliefs. You can get it here: