Fear of Failure: The Lies We Tell Ourselves and the Truths We Discover

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The Fear of Failure is something that can truly hold you back. It can actually be dream-crushing. And it can be disguised as confidence! When I read The Essential Habits of 6-Figure Bloggers, there was one blogger that stood out to me. Allie Bjerk’s words from the Prosperity Lab just spoke to me in Chapter 16. I totally identified with her!

Bjerk talked about how in school/college she would write her papers or study for her tests just the night before. She did well enough. But, could she have done better?? By procrastinating and not completing things until the deadline looms, you give yourself an out. It’s a form of fearing failure! If you don’t do as well as you hoped, you have an excuse, “Well, I did do it the night before.” or “I did procrastinate forever before starting that.” 

You can’t ever really truly “fail” if you never put in 100% of the effort. Holy crap. A-ha moment! Lightbulb! It took me reading about someone else doing the exact same thing I’ve done my entire life for me to realize I really do have a fear of failure. It is disguised in my habit of procrastination! And I always mistook it for me having confidence in myself! I “know” I am awesome, so I don’t have to work harder than right before the deadline. Talk about cocky! LOL!

Lies we tell ourselves….

So how can this look like confidence? Well, it can look like success. It can look like strong decision-making. But it can also be dream-crushing. And you can easily lie to yourself about what it truly is.

Here are some prime examples from my life: 

  • I only applied to ONE college. 
  • I switched my major because a different one interested me more.
  • I am a serial hobbyist. As soon as I “master” one craft, I move on to another.
  • I “need” deadlines to get anything done.
  • I don’t plan ahead for anything.
  • I tell myself “everything happens as it does, for a reason.”

And here are the “lies” I told myself about each of these:

The lie I told myself about college: I applied ‘early action’ to the one college that I fell in love with because I knew if I didn’t get in, no big deal. I still had time to apply to other colleges. Well, I got in, so I didn’t have to apply to other colleges. Wahoo! The Deep Down Truth: I didn’t have to put myself out there and possibly “fail” to get into other schools by applying to more than one. Not that my school was a “safe school”. I really did love it and it was a perfect fit for me. But who knows if I could have gotten in somewhere else? What if I had pushed myself?

The lie I told myself about my major: I switched majors because I was just more interested and intrigued by Art History. The Deep Down Truth: I took two Psychology classes (my chosen major at the time) and received a B+ and a C+ (utilizing that giving it my best 85%/trying the night before habit). I took ONE art history course and received an A. There was no way I could major in something and not get “good grades” in those major classes, right?! That would be a “failure” on my part. So I switched. I told myself, I was destined to be an art history major, because everything happens for a reason, right? Including, good grades. LOL!

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The lie I told myself about crafting: I’m a jack-of-all-trades. I am creative and want to learn to do more than one craft! I’ve always been easily distracted and I need shiny new things to keep my attention! The Deep Down Truth: I get just good enough at something like cross-stitching, felt applique, quilting, kids arts & crafts blogging, book blogging, etc that I can say, “Look what I accomplished! Isn’t it amazing?” But, I never go to that next step to truly master or become an expert at anything, because what if I try to get better and I can’t. What if I’m only destined to be mediocre at quilting? (LOL! These realizations are slightly on the ridiculous side to me now that I am thinking about them. I mean who is really going to judge my quilting skills?)

And the honest no holds barred truth…

I already touched on needing deadlines to accomplish anything, because I have a built-in excuse for only getting to a certain level of accomplishment. Planning ahead falls into that same category. I seriously get claustrophobic, and paralyzed when I think about planning ahead. It’s like I just.can’t.doooo.it. The thought of planning out the content for this blog ahead of time?? EEK! Why is that? Why do I feel that way? Because. What if I plan it all out and then I don’t accomplish what I set out to do? Fear.of.FAILURE.

I tell myself “Everything happens for a reason.” Well, doesn’t that take the “blame” off me then? If something didn’t go my way, it’s the Universe telling me ‘something’, right?

So, where I thought I had confidence to try all these new things and master them, could really be seen as my attempt to keep failure at bay. And it’s funny, when I read Allie Bjerk’s chapter in The Essential Habits of Bloggers, none of this dawned on me. I simply read it and shook my head in agreement, “oh yeah, I do that whole procrastination thing too. Hey! I’m not the only one!” It took re-reading the book, writing a blog post on the book, and literally just laying in bed mulling over all the information in my head to have this a-ha moment. 

By not trying or stopping when you only get so-far, in a way, you’re killing your own dreams. You’re never giving yourself a chance to reach for them. Can you imagine what your potential might be if you just went for it? Went “all-in”. Planned it all out. And then FOLLOWED that plan! 

I have goals y’all. I have dreams. I want THIS. This blog. This business. This right here to be a true success. I am speaking here and now to say, I will NOT move on from this without giving it the full-attention, planning, goal-setting, and attempt at success it deserves. You have just witnessed a #mindsetshift. 

Now, to see how it all plays out. But, first….I think I need another cup of coffee. (Baby steps, y’all, baby steps.) 😉 

….to be continued—->

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