It wasn’t as though I always believed myself worthy of success. Growing up, I was always scared of success. Because if I could succeed, then surely, I could fail. The fear of failure is crippling. Things I never relayed to my parents, why I hated the “P” word so much (Potential, in case your mind went other places), why I always performed up to, but not fully, my capabilities all through school. I always held back. Because fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointing my parents, teachers, and mostly, myself. My fear kept me from being the straight A student I could have been and that harmed me more than failing ever could. I stunted myself because of fear…and I let that trend continue as I got older.
It took going through hell-fire to learn how to fail without fear. To learn how to live without fear. It took doing things that scared me the most to realize the experience and the journey is so much more satisfying because I *did* them rather than fantasizing about them. I feared failing when I went back to college. I was a young single mom to three children. But I had an amazing support system and that gave me just enough confidence to take that leap and apply. I got in. I feared failing my classes because I did not want to waste the money and the time that I had. College is expensive! And I was paying for this, securing all the grants and loans, on my own. This was my debt, my educational burden to bear. And I won’t lie, I failed some classes. Oh did I ever fail some classes. But, I didn’t let that discourage me enough to quit. Instead, I used that to propel me forward to do better, so I could graduate. So I could get my degree. And I did it. I rocked my senior seminar class, wrote a thesis that led to me acing my senior seminar class, and that was a great accomplishment in my own eyes. And I got my degree.
Post graduation, I was afraid of moving forward into the big, bad world to get a real “big girl” job, because what if no one wanted me? What if I thought I could do it and was wrong? What if I…FAILED?!?!?! SURPRISE…failure happens. I’ve had a few jobs since graduation. One of them I was actually fired from because I was not performing to the standards of what the owner of the company thought was necessary. It wasn’t that I was not doing my job, it was that my job expectations and duties kept changing and zero effective communication took place. But I also don’t handle micromanaging very well and he was slightly…well, super extreme type A and had a really condescending and slightly explosive attitude. And as humiliating as it was to get that pink slip, I was more relieved than anything because I wasn’t happy there. I wasn’t respected and I never would be. So getting fired was amazing. ALL that stress was simply gone. And guess what? I didn’t die.
I still do things that scare me. Just to try it. I traveled to NOLA all by myself, twice, to vacation in the city. I loved that time to myself and wish to return to NOLA so bad I can taste it. I fell in love with a city when I did something that scared me. I went to a haunted house that had zombies who chased my husband and me. It scared me. I cried. I didn’t die. But I do know that I will N E V E R visit a haunted house again because I do N O T like any of that shit. I contributed to an anthology that was recently published. THAT was scary! But they didn’t reject the essay I wrote. And it was reviewed well. So I conquered, at least a little bit, that fear of failure.
There is still so much more that I can and want to do. And now I know, for the most part anyways, that I am capable, I am worthy, I am better than good enough. As long as I do not let fear dictate the steps I don’t take, as long as I continue to maintain confidence and realistic expectations, I can do what I want and need to do to succeed.
Don’t let fear take away your ability to move forward. Don’t let your insecurities steal from you life experiences that are rewarding, gratifying, once-in-a-lifetime events that you will regret skipping over. Let that fear drive you to push past the boundaries you have set because who knows? You may find that pushing past this fear has led you to the most successful time in your life.