Falling Hard: A Fear of Failure
What is the earliest memory you have of falling? Was it when the training wheels finally came off your bike and you rode along the sidewalk for a few feet before tipping over onto the unforgiving concrete? Or, was it even earlier when you took your first baby steps and tumbled onto the soft carpet of your first home? Did you get back up and try again? Was the fear of falling again too much for you to continue on?
I’ve found that the older I grow, the more reluctant I am to fall. Once upon a time, I was a fearless faller with scrapes on my knees, elbows, and chin begging to get up and try again. I fell hard and often, and because of that I learned quickly how to fly.
The Effect of Fear
A reluctance to fall may come from the heartbreak of failure. We work so hard to create this easy life and never allow ourselves to break down boundaries because the chances of failing are higher and that is scary. We end up pigeonholing ourselves into this comfortable lifestyle where we stay at the same job for years and years, never pursue our dreams, and settle for complacency. We tell ourselves that this is what life is, because that’s all we’ve learned to know.
“The voices of condemnation, shame, & rejection can come at you, but they don’t have to reside in you.” - Lysa Jerkeurst
This fear of failure is the narrative that keeps you on autopilot. I mean, why would we want to crash and fall? That with the combination of fear of judgement from your peers and loved ones can leave you hesitant to go after your ideas and dreams. What if they don’t approve? What if I’m not taken seriously anymore? Picking up the pieces sounds hard, painful, and embarrassing according to the voice in our head.
But, we are not the voice inside our head and our lives are only as big as we allow them to be. While thoughts and hesitations are inevitable, we must recognize that the inevitable is not our truth and our thoughts are separate from who we are. In order to fly, you HAVE to fall a few times. That’s how we learn! Mistakes, failures, and losses are all apart of the journey to success. When we allow ourself to take these huge leaps into the unknown, we create space for growth.
Overcoming The Fear
More often than not, that fear subsides after we take the leap and realize that things aren’t so bad after all. We tend to take more risks when we’ve done a cost-benefit analysis of the situation and know that we’ll still be tip-toeing within our comfort zone. Usually, these conclusions are come to from situations we’ve visited before because we’ve conditioned ourselves into how to respond and what to expect and the fear subsides. What once stopped us, we’ve grown familiar with and approach fearlessly.
Rather than allowing fear to overcome you in that crippling way it loves to do, embrace it and sit with it. Notice its behavior and thoughts. Did you find your last obstacle was approached similarly? Chances are, it was. Knowing that your body and mind responded the same way last time you had fear and you were still able to overcome, is your current feat really that scary?
It’s that realization that we can harness to drive us forward with more ventures and more opportunities, we just have to take the first brave step to get the ball rolling.