Let's talk fear of failure. We all have it to a degree, but it's how we deal with it that counts.
A few years ago, I went to a counsellor to discuss how I was feeling generally unproductive and unmotivated in my life. I was genuinely concerned about having attention deficit disorder or another similar issue that was holding me back. After a little diagnostic test, it was shown that I don't. The test did show that I am a type A personality and very hellbent on perfectionism.
This was a surprise to me because I don't like to work very hard. It's not easy for me to admit that on a public forum like this, but it's true. As much as I love to be seen as a hard working, intelligent, high achieving individual, I only work as much as I have to in order to give that outward appearance to others. This is not because I don't want to be a hard worker, but there is always something - something just out of my mind's reach - that is holding me back from all those things that I truly want to achieve.
But, the counsellor said fear of failure is a very strong restraining force for many perfectionists. We are so afraid that whatever we put our hand to might not come out to our standards or to the high standards of others, that we don't even try.
Lately I've been heavily reflecting on my inner self. I've been thinking of my true inner values, my desired outcomes, all my goals and aspirations, and contrasting it with my behaviours. I've been struggling for years now with the disconnect between what I want from myself and what I actually *do*. It's been difficult.
This morning it clicked, though. It was like jumping into a very deep, very cold pool.
I am so afraid of failure, so afraid of looking bad in the eyes of others, and so deeply afraid of letting myself down.
I'm also very heavily extrinsically motivated. I'm a people pleaser. I get my sense of value from others telling me I have value.
Right now, I'm not sure exactly where this leaves me. I'm not sure if it's possible to change where I get my self of self-worth from externally to internally. But I do know this: It's time to say a big old fuck you to fear. It's time to say that it's okay to be afraid of failing but to go ahead and try anyway. It's time to realize that nobody will judge me on my outcomes as long as they see I am trying.
And I will always try. I'm too young to lay down and play dead and accept the status quo. I must move forward and live without fear.