As long as I can remember, whenever someone asked me what my biggest fear was in life, I would say “fear of failure”.
I was a 13-year-old saying she was afraid of failure and for years, I stuck to that answer not knowing there were some deep rooted issues hidden behind that response.
It wasn’t until the age of 18 that I started to address this fear through the help of journaling, self-development books and time.
So why was I afraid of failure?
Simple. I was a people-pleaser and I constructed this image of what it meant to be a “perfect” daughter, friend, sister, student, ect. through society’s expectations and ideals of success. This explains some of the “Type-A” personality traits I developed growing up. I was meticulous about every choice I made in order to craft a perfect image of myself.
Now, I can safely say this fear no longer stifles me. It took some hard work and adjustment to get where I am today and I wanted to share steps that helped me overcome my fear of failure.
With a lot of things in life, we have a skewed perspective.
When it came to failure, I was conditioned to believe that it was bad. When something is deemed “bad”, you naturally try to avoid it at all costs. This hurt me in many ways because I missed out on a lot of opportunities and experiences in order to avoid the possibility of failure.
So I worked to change my perspective. Instead of viewing failure as a bad thing, I view it as a necessary part of my growth.
I used to find comfort in roles and titles.
Roles and titles are often clear and defined with general characteristics needed to be sufficient in said role, so I used them as my safety net. For example, a perfect student was already defined by society, so I adjusted to be just that.
The work to recover from my fear lied in the act of detaching from these safety nets. I had to remove myself from the person I thought I needed to play to protect me from failure.
What did I want?
When I was younger, I remember being carefree (like every kid is), but the older I got the more that spirit got suppressed. From my point of view, this happened due to other people projecting their limiting beliefs onto me and society’s soul-crushing rubric to living .
I often hear people say that your 20s is a time to unlearn everything that you were conditioned to believe while growing up, and I’m starting to find truth in that.
The day I asked myself what I wanted out of life and who I wanted to be, everything changed. If I no longer had an image to live up to, then what was I afraid of failing at?
You can’t fail at being yourself.
After shifting my perspective from viewing failure as bad to a necessity, detaching from the roles I thought were needed to be successful, and re-discovering what I wanted out of life, I came to the realization that there is no failure behind being myself.
If I make it a goal to be authentically me, then there’s no image to live up to, there’s only an image to just be (and it takes less effort which is a bonus).
I am by no means perfect and I still have fears I am working through, but by working through my biggest fear of all — failure — I discovered I can overcome anything and so can you.
If this post inspired you in any way, don’t hesitate to connect via instagram or in the comments. I would love to hear from you!