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.
- Ben Weston of Creative Courage
- Ben Lumley of 6 Aliens
- Ayo Olaniyan of Discovering Purpose
- Therese Miu of ThereseMiu.com
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?
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