In my work, every person is not only a unique, irreplaceable creation, but presents to me a new chance to serve that person according to the practices, techniques, and philosophies I have faith in, that I believe in, and that are in agreement with my “gut”.
Yet every time I meet a new client, a part of me trembles in fear of failure. It’s a small part, but it’s there. Even now it rankles me, after having gotten positive feedback, the gratitude of clients, and the knowledge that I’ve served not only as best I could, but I’ve served well.
Yet that tiny voice still pipes up with a
OH NO! What if we don’t do a good job? What if something bad happens? What if, what if, what if?
I’m guessing many of you have that voice as well. It’s the parent of a great deal of anxiety. For some of us, that voice is so loud we’d rather turn down opportunity than risk that voice being right.
Sure, you may be nodding your head, “fear of failure, I’ve heard of that.” Ah, but have you heard of its unholy twin, fear of success?
It too becomes a cesspit of anxiety. See, success means people see us as capable, competent, reliable, and all these terrific things—things we may not feel that we can live up to.
Plus, if we become successful, the agonies of failure become all the more severe, don’t they?
These twin fears provoke anxiety and stress.
People often deal with that kind of stress by maintaining the status quo rather than face up to the anxiety, the stress, and the fears. Some people adjust by becoming dulled to opportunity.
Others though grow restless and the fears keep arising, keep needling. That’s not a bad thing. Discomfort is the mother of a great deal of personal improvement. No discomfort equals no change.
Thus, our conversation turns to not just what to do if we’re afraid to undertake a venture, but how to deal with fear itself. To do this, I suggest we pay close attention to the immediate moment.
Be mindful of it first by paying attention to the core we’ve established over the last series of blogs: bring your focus to your body, your breathing, the tumult at the front of your mind. Instead of working to still your mind, allow silence to develop. It’ll come once you stop feeding the chaos.
At this point, we can start talking about extended mindfulness.
Yes, if we have a project we might undertake that we would love to do—but we fear we might fail—and we’re torn between our fear and our desire to do something, we must also consider the project and the fear, and yes—the future (which I know sometimes it seems like I don’t believe such a thing exists!) Read more on fear
The fear is just an emotion, a sensation inside your body. What you choose to do with it, affects how you move forward with your project.
If you are working on autopilot, the fear may consume you, affect how you think about the project, and may result in a lost opportunity.
If you see it for what it is; an emotion, you are then in a position to change to it, to calm it.
You are in control when you are doing this. This control allows you to move on with the project and take opportunities.