It turns out that the experiences I’ve had actually enhanced my fear of failure.
I had always won in sports, flew through education, and got every job I had ever applied for. I used to think that this was me showing I was a success in life.
I have since realised that maybe the problem was I’ve always stayed within my comfort zone. I have never actually reached my potential or known where my level of failure begins.
Every day I am held back by a fear of getting something wrong or looking stupid to others.
The truth is no one really cares what I’m doing unless it directly affects their life. I know this to be true, but there is still some kind of ‘wall’ that stands to protect me from failure.
Will I ever know my limits if I don’t fail?
They say ‘do something every day that scares you’. I always thought I’d done that through my love of adventurous activities. When I dig deep the truth is those activities don’t really scare me. Yes, I am filled with adrenaline, but I am in control of those feelings. I know I won’t fail because I’ll always go to the highest heights, run the longest distance and swim in the deepest waters.
It’s the things I can’t control that are truly scary.
I am most afraid that when I fail I will feel anxiety over being a failure at something I’ve set my heart on. I’ll tell my family and friends my plans and then it won’t work out.
This fear leads me to self-sabotaging behaviours. I then avoid these big goals. FOR WHAT the fear of something not happening or fear of a feeling. It sounds so bizarre to write down. It sounds simple to overcome.
Yet I’ve been stuck in my fear trench for too long.
I’ve told myself enough times to hold back because what if I actually achieve my wildest dreams, what then?!
I’ve held myself back, because what if I don’t achieve what I set out to? What will people think?
What will I think of myself?
Will I let people down?
Then there is the far greater fear. To continue to repeat these patterns for the rest of my life.
Then I end up living a mediocre life staying within my comfort zone. I continue to listen to the limiting beliefs myself and others put on my life.
I believe I can’t achieve the life I want.
Then I look back and I regret that I didn’t try harder.
I regret that I didn’t remove the safety net and I regret that I lived the only life I knew allowing fear to control me.
Our brain is designed to protect us and keep us comfortable. If we step away from this safe space we are under stress. Our natural instinct is to feel safe. We then return to our safe zone. Our safe zones are the patterns we continue to repeat until they become habit.
I resort back to doing the things I know I can excel at. For failing would set off the stress alarm.
What if we reprogramme?
This time the stress alarm goes off.
Our reaction is not to return to our safe zone, but instead to continue to push through. To reach new levels of discomfort. To accept that discomfort is growth. That every time this happens we continue to take the most difficult path.
Week by week. Month by month. We continue down a less comfortable path. And we grow. We discover more about ourselves than we knew was possible. We achieve more than we believed we could. We find our limit. We fail. We pick ourselves up. We fail and fail again. Until one day we do something extraordinary and we reach our wildest dreams.
You’ll know if I’m following through on this because a major step for me is having my thoughts read. As I’m ready to click share I already feel the anxiety growing. I hear the doubters. The negative comments. I want to return to a place where my writing stays private, the safe zone, but then what would I learn from that?
Are you ready to fail? To learn? To discover your potential?