Fear. Failure. The Fear of Failure.
It's painful. Heart-wrenching. Disappointing.
But what if we were thinking about failure and fear all wrong? What if they could also lead to your most successful and creative breakthroughs?
I'm not talking as a psychotherapist or a guru or a teacher or a healer. I'm just an honest, open woman walking through life, seeing the world as it is. I'm a business owner, so risk-taking and making strong decisions for my team and clients is supposed to be second nature. I'm also an actor, so breathing through vulnerability and rejection in front of an audience that is ready to judge me is part of my job.
But I'm also scared down to my knickers of making mistakes, disappointing the ones I love, and waking up tomorrow morning and realising I've gotten it all wrong.
How many memes and quotes are out there that ask us to have courage, take risks, let go, and take action?
Let's be real. All of that looks good and well on a slick Instagram feed, but the fantasy of always being ready and courageous for any adventure simply wasn't true for me. The real slog of waking up earlier and going to bed later everyday to 'hustle', getting into debt trying to fuel a 'dream', and losing touch with friends and hobbies to 'stay focused on the grind' was just too much for me.
And still I felt like I wasn't doing enough.
No matter how much early meditation and yoga I do, I'm still afraid that all this 'hard work' won't materialise into whatever my version of success looks like.
I'm a business owner. A creative professional and an artist. A wife. A sister and a daughter. A friend. I have bills to pay. Clients to please. Customers to serve. Partners to negotiate with. Family to love.
And I'm scared. This isn't millennial entitlement. I want to make my dreams a reality, but somewhere when I'm churning the wheel, I get stuck. Anxious. Afraid to move forward, unable to move backwards.
This is where fear and failure come in.
My whole adult life, I've felt trapped, or I've been slow-moving, because of fear. But lately, I've had this epiphany (maybe due to all that meditation and yoga, maybe due to acting class, or maybe as I get older I've just stopped caring about what people think).
Instead of immobilising me, what if I allowed fear to just be a feeling. What if it wasn't going to stop the law of attraction from working? What if it wasn't something I needed to crush down before I had breakfast in the morning? What if fear wasn't necessarily false evidence of anything? What if I allowed fear to just be a normal feeling that comes through my body and a vital part of moving forward?
Maybe fear is an incredible and invaluable tool for my imagination.
Maybe my fear of failure is honing my vision and fuelling me with what I need to prepare myself for the future. Maybe fear is a vibrant stage for my mind's eye to play out different scenarios - and a laser for me to make sure I choose the decisions that are best for me.
And maybe any 'failure' I encounter on this stage is just as much of an illusion as any 'success'. It could just be a learning tool, or a stepping stone on the path to my goals. Or it could be an absolute necessity to uncovering who I am in the darkest times, in my weakest times.
See, I'm learning how to embrace all sides of myself, to continue working without the reward. I'm learning to love the me who doesn't book the acting job. For the 10th time in a row. I'm learning to honor the me who gets angry and emotional and hyper-sensitive. And to listen to what I have to say in those moments. I'm learning to be gentle with the me who fails and is terrified of starting over.
Maybe if I just learned to breathe through the feeling of fear, I could learn to write a different story. It can be a guide telling me what direction I need to go in. I could learn that I am a creator in my own story.
The courage to play on the stage of life is something I have to choose everyday. It takes guts and daring.
That courage needs fear to balance it. That courage needs fear to survive.
So I'm going to embrace it. I'm not going to 'let go' of my fear anymore as I realise that I have no need to mask any emotion that rolls inside me. I'm just going to continually breathe and move through it. I do believe it will take me closer to my goals in the most human and real way possible.