Even MVPs have fears: Patrick Mahomes shares the childhood phobia that stayed with him.

The Childhood Fear Patrick Mahomes Carried into Adulthood

Patrick Mahomes, the superstar quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, is known throughout the NFL for his incredible talent, skill, and ability to make jaw-dropping plays look effortless. On the surface, he appears to be the picture of confidence as he leads his team down the field with pinpoint passes.

However, behind this confident exterior lies a childhood fear that Mahomes carried with him well into his professional career – a deep-seated fear of failure that originated from the pressures he faced from a young age.

Growing Up With Expectations

From a very early age, Mahomes was surrounded by high expectations. As the son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Pat Mahomes, he grew up in a household immersed in professional sports.

It was always assumed and expected that Mahomes would follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in baseball or another sport. The pressure to succeed was immense.

In addition to living up to his athletic lineage, Mahomes faced expectations from coaches and others in his community in East Texas. As a three-sport star athlete at Whitehouse High School, excelling at baseball, football and basketball, he was held up as the next great hometown hero. Everyone predicted big things for his future.

With all this attention and assumption of success, it’s no surprise that Mahomes developed a profound fear of failure. The thought of letting down his family, coaches and community terrified him. He was afraid he wouldn’t fulfill his potential or live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him from such a young age. This fear manifested itself in an almost crippling need to avoid mistakes at all costs as he rose through the ranks of amateur athletics.

Coping With Fear in College

When Mahomes arrived at Texas Tech University to play football, the expectations and pressures only increased as he joined a major Division I program. Now performing under the bright lights of big-time college football, every mistake would be magnified for all to see. His fear of failure grew stronger as a result.

To cope, Mahomes threw himself fully into his training and preparation. He spent endless hours in the film room studying opponents, working to minimize errors on the field. During practices and games, he played things safe and conservative, always looking to make the smart play over the risky one. While this approach helped limit mistakes in the short-term, it also held Mahomes back from truly letting his immense talents shine through.

Despite putting up huge numbers as Texas Tech’s starting quarterback for two seasons, racking up over 11,000 passing yards and 93 touchdowns, Mahomes still wasn’t satisfied. He constantly dwelled on the few interceptions he threw or drives that stalled. His fear of failure continued to plague him even as he rewrote the school’s record books.

Entering the NFL

The pressures only ramped up further when Mahomes declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. Now scrutinized and dissected by all 32 NFL franchises, every aspect of his game and character would be evaluated as teams determined his pro potential and decided his future career. Once again, the fear of letting people down and not living up to expectations loomed large over Mahomes.

When draft day finally arrived, Mahomes slid all the way to the 10th overall pick, where the Chiefs traded up to select him. Some saw this as a sign that scouts questioned his abilities at the highest level. But Kansas City coach Andy Reid and GM Brett Veach had faith in Mahomes’ talents and felt he was the perfect long-term solution for the franchise at quarterback.

Still, that childhood fear of failure followed Mahomes to Kansas City as well. As a rookie backing up veteran Alex Smith in 2017, Mahomes was too afraid to make a mistake in the limited action he saw on the field, playing it safe with checkdowns and avoiding risky throws. His development stalled due to this lingering fear holding him back from opening things up.

Overcoming Fear in Year Two

It was in his second season, after taking over as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback in 2018, that Mahomes really began his journey of overcoming that fear of failure which had plagued him for so long. Under Reid’s guidance, the coach encouraged Mahomes to trust his instincts and let loose on the field.

Reid helped Mahomes realize that real growth only comes from embracing challenges, learning from mistakes, and not being afraid to take calculated risks. With the full support of his coaches and teammates, Mahomes started to play freely without worrying so much about the consequences of failure. He focused solely on the task at hand rather than obsessing over potential errors.

The results were transformative. Mahomes shredded NFL defenses to the tune of 5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, earning MVP honors and leading the Chiefs to the AFC Championship in just his first season as a starter. He was no longer constrained by fear, instead playing to his full potential without hesitation.

Continued Success and Growth

In the two seasons since, Mahomes has continued building on that breakthrough year. He’s further developed his leadership abilities while learning from the rare mistakes that do occur on the field. With another Super Bowl title already under his belt just two years into his career, Mahomes has cemented himself as the standard at his position in the NFL.

Through it all, Mahomes’ ability to overcome his lifelong fear of failure has been a key driver of his success. He’s learned to embrace challenges, stay focused in the moment instead of worrying about potential errors, and trust his instincts without second-guessing decisions. While the fear may still lurk deep down at times, Mahomes has developed mental toughness and self-belief to the point where it no longer holds him back.

Now seen as the face of the NFL and one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, it’s easy to forget that Mahomes once struggled so mightily with a crippling fear. But his journey shows that even the most talented individuals face inner demons, and that true growth comes from facing fears head on rather than letting them dictate one’s path. Mahomes’ story serves as an inspiration for all who battle with confidence issues and the weight of expectations.

Lessons Learned From Mahomes’ Story

Through overcoming his childhood fear of failure, Patrick Mahomes has proven that immense mental strength can be developed over time. His experiences offer valuable life lessons that anyone can apply in their own lives and careers:

– It’s normal and okay to experience fears, especially when facing pressures from a young age. Don’t be too hard on yourself for having fears.

– Fears can be managed and overcome through self-awareness, support systems, and a growth mindset. Have faith that you can make progress.

– Stay present-focused instead of dwelling on potential mistakes. Focus solely on execution without worrying about outcomes.

– Embrace challenges and risks, as this is how the most learning and development occurs. Don’t be afraid to learn from mistakes.

– Trust your abilities and decision making. You know your talents and instincts better than anyone.

– True leadership emerges from facing vulnerabilities, not hiding from them. Be open about struggles in order to help others.

By following Mahomes’ example, we can all work to identify our inner demons, gain self-belief, and reach our highest potential without being

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