Overcoming Fear

by Kim Maglinti on June 2, 2010

Standing at the edge of a cliff

I’m honored to be a part of a collaborative exploration with a group of inspirational writers.  Each one of us serves in the realm of personal growth and development.  We’d like to share our personal experiences in what we have learned from our biggest fear. I hope you resonate with at least one of our stories.

False Evidence Appearing Real

Last week, I attended a graduation.  I witnessed 240 high school seniors graduate – they were excited, rambunctious, invincible and fearless.  They appeared ready to take on the world.  It took me back some years, causing me to reflect on what my biggest fear had been and what I’ve learned from it.

I feared failure.

Doing What I Was Supposed To Do

Always one to have my ducks in a row — I completed college, I held decent jobs for decent pay, fortified my investments, maintained a social calendar — but something was missing. Eventually each j-o-b became unfulfilling. I job hopped, learning what I cared to learn in various industries until I became bored. A girlfriend of mine would call me on occasion and joke with me, ‘So, what certification have you got this time and what job are you holding down now?’ I played it safe. I opted for the regular paycheck and I was going for the illusory ‘golden handcuffs.’

I had copacetic relationships, but they were often two-dimensional.  Not all of my relationships.  I did have a tight knit group of supportive friends, but I also maintained surface-y acquaintances (a.k.a Emotional Vampires) with little regard for healthy boundaries.  Voted ‘Most Considerate’ in middle school, I tended to please others rather than ruffle feathers with strong opinions.  I often played the role of caregiver, mediator, liaison, and problem solver – anything to keep the peace.

I lived my life according to other people’s expectations, other’s opinions, and what they wanted for me.

Looking back at it now, I think how B-O-R-I-N-G it was playing by other people’s rules and not my own.  I began to ask myself:

  • “Whose should am I living by?”
  • “Am I living by what I deem I should do or what someone else claims I should do?”
  • “Am I doing this (insert activity) out of obligation or desire?
  • “Am I really engaged, interested, fulfilled, and present minded in what I’m doing?

Lessons Learned

No one is responsible for me except for… me.

I am responsible for my happiness, who I am, what I do, and what I have in my life.  Anyone familiar with the famous line in Jerry Maguire – “You complete me.” I say to anyone in my life, “I am whole, in and of myself. You complement me.” Family, friends, or otherwise ;)

Take risks and be bold.

It’s been said, ‘we are boxed in by the thinking conditions of our mind.’  God bless my parents, they have both passed on. They wanted the “best” for me, but would flip if they knew I’m a solo-preneur, going it alone.  They came from a world of guaranteed pensions, social security, and corporate funded medical insurance.   I feel alive building my practice, building my business, learning and sharing with like minds, and facilitating positive change with my clients. I surround myself with friends and loved ones who encourage and support my endeavors.

There is no failure, only feedback.

On many occasions I held myself back from experiencing and living out situations because I didn’t want to make a mistake or I didn’t want to be judged. Who can’t use acceptance and appreciation? Everyone wants to feel valued. My biggest take-away from overcoming my fear of failure is: You make mistakes, you find the lesson the mistake was meant to illustrate, then you move forward in a better direction.

“When you know better, you do better.”  — Maya Angelou

Image via epSos.de on Flickr

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben June 2, 2010 at 8:20 am

Wonderful Kim!

I completely hold to the belief that there is no such thing as failure or feedback (or results as I say). Something only becomes a failure when you attach that label to it.

Responsibility is also paramount to success, no matter what you attribute success to. You have to do it and take control otherwise you’ll be taken my the current of life like everyone else

Reply

Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

Hi Ben,

We attach some amazing ‘stories’ and meanings to situations, don’t we? It’s important to remind ourselves of that and to take responsibility. Spread the word! Your point would help many :)

Thanks again for your contribution!

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Greg Blencoe June 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

Hi Kim,

It’s an honor to participate in this blog collaboration with you. And thanks for the insightful post!

I like being reminded of looking at fear as False Evidence Appearing Real. This mindset really helps weaken the fear.

I think a lot of people will be able to relate to your story about how unfulfilling that going the standard route can be. I think you are providing a wonderful example to others who are wondering if they should also go out on their own and pursue their dreams.

And I completely agree that if you try, there is no failure, only feedback. I only view failure as not trying. You learn so much when you “go for it.”

Furthermore, I really like what you said about “You complement me” versus “You complete me.”
.-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..What I have learned from my greatest fear: Dams remind me a lot of the human mind =-.

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Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

Hi Greg,

The honor has been mine. It’s great to have you as part of this community and I’ve valued your contributions.

This has been an exercise of discovery and vulnerability in the hopes that someone will resonate with it. You complement me and inspire ‘going for it!’ ;)

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Ben Weston June 2, 2010 at 10:42 am

Copycat!! =)

Honestly Kim, I feel like this is something you could have pulled straight from my mouth (albeit less eloquently as you put it).

I absolutely love your variation of the Jerry Maguire phrase, “You complement me.” Perfect!

Also, I’m really glad that you’re going for it and facing your fear of failure. I’m right here with ya!

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Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Hi Ben,

I remember the mistake of making the other person more important than my needs, instead of being an equal. I made others responsible for my happiness when all along it was my responsibility. As an analogy… if I wasn’t happy at a party… I was free to leave ;)

Thank you again, for your Light!

Reply

ayo June 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm

hi kim,
how are you?
first of all i must apologise for not completing my post on………
reading your article gives me a perfect mirror image of myself and I thrived on the need to be a) accepted b) please others because i thought that would bring acceptance laugh!!!!
in addition to the lessons you’ve highlighted i have also learnt to think constructively about who i am & what i do. I’ve also embraced the fact that I cant be perfect but I CAN ALWAYS DO MY BEST.
It’s great you initiated this project kim and thanks for thinking of me when considering various contributions
enjoy the rest of the day
.-= ayo´s last blog ..Lessons Learned From Our Greatest Fears =-.

Reply

Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Hi Ayo,

No worries — life happens :) I appreciate your presence and link love.

This has been an interesting exercise. When writing, it can seem so vulnerable, then it turns out that others are experiencing the same thing. Empathy beats sympathy ;)
Be in touch!

Reply

Baker June 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm

In many ways I too can relate well to your story of not feeling fufilled in certain jobs that I was feeling obligated to do for others. It wasn’t until I began to look within for my own answers, that my life began to blossom into a clearer space with more opportunites. This is a wonderful story you share that I can relate with and I’m sure many people can as well. Excellent article Kim!

Reply

Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm

That means a lot Baker! As I mentioned to Ayo, it can feel so vulnerable when I’m writing. Your work has actually inspired ‘stepping out’ more.
Much love and gratitude :)

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Faizal Nisar June 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Hey Kim! This was really a good post. Two things in this post really stood out to me: “we are boxed in by the thinking conditions of our mind” and “There is no failure, only feedback”. I think realizing those two things and accepting them is a great accomplishment for anyone in life. It opens your mind and makes you capable of so many things that are impossible in other people’s eyes.

I also heard your interview on Hulbert’s site…that was awesome!
.-= Faizal Nisar´s last blog ..Embrace Your Power Challenge: Week 1 =-.

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Kim June 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Wow — thanks for taking a listen Faizal.

The two points you mention are often at the tip of my tongue when I talk to clients. It’s wonderful when someone comes to those realizations — even better when you can facilitate the positive change as you know in your coaching.

Thank you for contributing. It’s good to have you here :)

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Claire - Gratitude Connection June 3, 2010 at 4:17 am

The fear of failure can be overwhelming (I know!). It can seem easier to never try anything new, than to risk trying and failing. And yet, if you buy into the idea of fear (as opposed to feedback) then surely never trying anything new is a “failure” in inself. That change in perspective can help to release you from your fear.
.-= Claire – Gratitude Connection´s last blog ..Today I’m grateful for… =-.

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Kim June 3, 2010 at 10:39 am

Hello Claire – Welcome!

It turns out many of us fall on the spectrum of fear of failure / fear of success. And, as you mention, it’s much easier to remain in our comfort zone. After all, safety and security are basic needs.

Thank you for stopping by! In a moment, I’ll share in your journal :)

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Therese Miu June 3, 2010 at 6:01 am

Hi Kim, What a true treasure you are! First of all a bouquet of gratitude for who you are & everything you do.
I love your insightful post. I learned so much from it especially the questions you asked yourself. WOW!
“Whose should am I living by?”“Am I living by what I deem I should do or what someone else claims I should do?”
It’s so important to be real with ourselves and see what path we are honoring. Is it to fulfill our greatest desire or is it to fulfill someone else expectation of us? I use to want to please everyone.

It’s just my personality. I discovered the best thing I can be to people is to be myself. PERIOD! And as soon as I have taken that path I also began to meet other people in that journey as well.
So glad that one of those people is you. Love how you tied in your story with your posts. I thank you for always sharing your authentic self. I see you shining so brightly.
Thanks Kim =)
.-= Therese Miu´s last blog ..Stepping out into the unknown-How I transformed one of my greatest fears =-.

Reply

Kim June 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

Hi Therese,

I appreciate your kind words. Your contribution and Light makes all of us shine brighter.

Your comment brings to mind part of a movie I saw years ago… ‘Each day we step more and more into our true Self.’ Experience, life lessons and trust in ourselves shape who we are. We have the power to take action to actualize our dreams. Thank you for being a great example!

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Keith Davis June 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

Hi Kim
Looks like everyone is blogging about overcoming fear.
Like the “False Evidence Appearing Real”
In other words we distort the facts to fit our view of the world – guess we all do that a bit.

Also like the “Take risks and be bold”.
Although I think the risks should be incremental and they should be taken in a supportive environment – build that confidence slowly.

I blog on Public Speaking and I’ve seen people tremble with fear… and still give a great speech.
We can’t always get rid of the butterflies, but we can learn how to keep them flying in formation.

BTW – are those your feet in the image? LOL
.-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Flying in formation =-.

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Kim June 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

Hi Keith,

You have a great sense of humor – LOL. No, those aren’t my feet :)

You make two awesome points 1. Take incremental risks in a supportive environment and 2. Keep those butterflies in formation!
That nervous energy can be harnessed for a great presentation, performance, etc. Sure… easy for me to say as a musician or dancer, but not as a speaker ;)

You’re a wonderful resource for those pursuing Public Speaking.
I appreciate you stopping by!

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Angela Artemis June 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Hi Kim,
I’m so glad I didn’t miss this article! It’s truly superb. I just retweeted it.

I feel like now you’ve read my mind!

My inner solo-preneur has been calling to me for a very long time too. I left corp. banking to become a commission only mortgage lender 12 years ago. I see it now as a baby-step I took toward being in business for myself. No experience will be wasted. I learned a lot about marketing myself to get business in the mortgage business.

The so-called “golden-handcuff” of health insurance scares so many people into staying in their jobs. I’m no longer letting it scare me. I’m so ready to move on!

I love this line: There is no failure only feedback. What a wonderful truth to live by.

Thank you for writing this terrific post.
.-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..Would Your Rather Have a Big House Or A Big Life? =-.

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Kim June 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thank you for the RT Angela.

Indeed, ‘no experience will be wasted.’ Hindsight being 20/20, I can see how each j-o-b, chance meeting, relationship, etc. somehow contributes to our current affairs.

There’s no doubt your new chapter as a solo-preneur will be successful with all the experience that you have behind you.

Thank you for your kind “feedback.” ;)

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Hulbert Lee June 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

Hi Kim, thanks for sharing your story with us. I think many people can relate to that feeling of getting out of college, finding the right job, and playing it safe because we fear failure. I know I can relate to this because my family has mocked me when I told them that you could make a living off of blogging, which doesn’t require a college degree. I know it’s true because I’ve seen people do it before, but it just doesn’t go through their heads.

I’m glad you remind us to go out and take risks, do what we desire and want to do, but also take full responsibility with it. I especially liked what you said at the end in that there is no failure, only feedback. That’s so true; our mistakes and our failures are there to help us learn and move forward in the right direction. Thanks for this post Kim!
.-= Hulbert Lee´s last blog ..Kim Maglinti – Blogger and Creator of Mindset Success Coaching (Interview) =-.

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Kim June 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Hi Hulbert,

The day will soon come when you have passive revenue and you’re sipping drinks by the ocean. You can toast to all the naysayers ;)

I’m glad you resonated with the post. It appears to be a natural progression to live by our family’s expectations as we transition to independence.

As we travel our path, receiving feedback allows us to correct our course and keep on track. (Haha — I have the train analogy in my mind this week). Thank you for stopping by!

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Dia June 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Kim for this very insightful article. I like what you said, “No one is responsible for me except for… me.” This is so true. Thanks for sharing
.-= Dia´s last blog ..What should I do with my life? =-.

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Jean Sarauer June 7, 2010 at 5:46 am

I live by the ‘no failure, only feedback,’ philosophy too. I still have moments where I hold back from stepping out in a new direction, but then I remember that by playing things safe I’m really giving up my freedom and my power. That usually straightens me out in short order :)
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..6 Things That Get Easier About Blogging if You Just Keep Going

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Kim June 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

Hi Jean,

It’s not all ease and effortlessness. I can tell you’re a conscious gal who’s empowered to straighten things out as needed.

I appreciate your contribution!

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rob white June 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

Hi Kim,
I love your perspective on the “you complete me” idea. The biggest insanity of humanity is to believe we are not whole and complete. The world voice will indoctrinate us with ideas like “you complete me”… there is no power in that. ” On the other hand, “I am whole, in and of myself. You complement me.” is very empowering. I continually remind myself, If it is to be it is up to ME.

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Kim June 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

Hi Rob,

That infamous line struck a chord in me and I’ve held to my revision since :) You’ve got it dialed in Rob and you’re an inspirational resource and teacher. I appreciate you stopping by!

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Ricardo Bueno June 9, 2010 at 3:51 am

I like that: “There is no failure, only feedback.”

I think that once you learn to open up and let go (in varying aspects of life) things get much, much easier. I’m willing to take new risks knowing full well that if something doesn’t work, you get up and move on unscathed but having learned from your mistakes.
Ricardo Bueno´s last [type] ..Repetitive Awareness Marketing

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Kim June 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Hi Ricardo,
I absolutely agree — opening up and letting go allows us to get into the flow of things much more easily and effortlessly. The key is to be aware of the lessons in situations.

Thank you for stopping by and contributing!

Reply

S. Ali Myers - Soulful Body & Mind June 12, 2010 at 4:49 am

Kim,

I love your outlook.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. Fear is also ESTABLISHED in us everyday (get a job or else, go to church or else, graduate or else etc). I believe what triggers fear is the unknown. When something is in the “dark”, we have the tendency to become uncomfortable or unsettled. The majority of time, when we do expose ourselves to the “unseen”, we assimilate into whatever we were afraid of. Like G.I. Joe claimed “Knowing is half the battle”.

Keep up the great work!

Bye, for now.

- Ali
S. Ali Myers – Soulful Body & Mind´s last [type] ..Are There Really Ghosts?

Reply

Kim June 12, 2010 at 8:21 am

Hi S. Ali,

Thank you for the kind words.

Everyday messages can generate negativity, doubt, and fear, which is why it’s so important to mind our inner dialogue and environment. May we identify and master our fears.

Thank you for contributing!

Reply

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