Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Big Bad F-Word

No, not that one.  Failure.  My greatest fear.  I've never had many phobias.  Heights don't bother me.  Crowds don't ruffle me.  I don't mind tiny spaces, or bridges, or snakes.  And unlike my husband, I'm pretty comfortable around clowns.  (Don't judge, it's a common fear.)  But failure?  Yikes.  I'm terrified of it.

I suppose it comes from being a bit of a perfectionist.  I like things done right, and done right the first time.  To fail means that I've done something wrong, and I hate to do something wrong.  It gnaws at me.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I hate that feeling.  So whenever I find myself standing on the threshold of some potentially life-changing decision, there's always that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. 

"What if you mess this up completely?"

Many times I've found myself backing away from the edge of opportunity for fear of mistakes I might make.  A couple of times, I've turned around and completely walked away.  Why?  I've been asking myself that for years.  I know in my heart that every failure is a learning opportunity.  Messing up is not the end of the world.  You get up, dust yourself off, and try again.  Some of my best successes have come from just letting go and jumping in over my head.  But the fear still lingers.

I told myself at the beginning of last month that this would be the Year of No Fear.  I would do all the things that I've always wanted to do without worrying about making mistakes.  I'm not talking about climbing Mt. Everest or anything, but just doing the unexplored things that I know I have a knack for.  I anticipate rejection letters, and I've told myself it's okay.  Everybody gets them, but the successful people don't let them get them down or make them quit. 

I have a choice.  I can live my life in security and look back with regret, or I can embrace the unknown, take some risks, and possibly find even greater happiness.  Am I going to let my life be ruled by fear?  Or am I going to live? 

I choose to LIVE.

*A special thanks to Hilary for the awesome quote this morning.  Rock on, creative chick!*

1 comment:

Hilary Blackwood said...

Read "Letters to a Young Artist, Building a Life in Art" by Julia Cameron...It's written as a letter from a mentor to a mentee and discussing many things typical to writers, poets, musicians, painters, etc...Page 94..." I have never met a real artist who hasn't gone through discouraging times, sometimes discouraging years. Art is a calling, a spiritual calling, and like any other vocation it is subject to the dark night of the soul...."

And hey, I've got several publishing rejection letters if you ever want to look one in the face...I have a nice little stack of them....

http://hilaryblackwood.blogspot.com/