Fearing failure and regretting the things that never were
“There’s freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky.” And you ask: “What if I fall?” “Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanson
The beauty of this quote almost takes my breath away – oh, but my darling, what if you fly? Many of us have a deep fear of failure, of doing something new, changing something important in our lives, just to find ourselves in the same place, or an even worse place, than the one that we started from. This fear of failure holds us back from taking chances and pushing for that change that we crave and ultimately the life that we dream of.
I have many times in the past been in situations where people have offered me a chance to do something amazing, fun and different. They have held a door open to an adventure of a lifetime. Something that had the potential to change my life in a small or big way. And I have looked at them with a smile and said: ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’ And in that moment really believed that is the right thing for me to do, only to realise afterwards that the reason I was saying no to these wonderful opportunities was fearing that the reason those people were holding up those doors were not genuine. That they were just making things up and feeling forced, by I don’t know whom… maybe the situation, to hold the door open. I said no, to save us both embarrassment further down the line. I guess in these cases it wasn’t even fear of failure, because I didn’t even contemplate going through those wide-open doors in the moment that they were held open. Instead, I guess, it was total fear of rejection and humiliation. I always regretted afterwards that I didn’t take the chance when I had it. Luckily, I have stopped rejecting those opportunities, as well as regretting the decisions that I have made in the past.
Equally many of us have a fear of success. We can smell the potential of everything we dreamed of becoming true and oh my, we could lead the life that we want. But that would also mean we would potentially ‘be out there’ and of course life as we know it would change – forever.
I have a dear friend who had a deep fear of success. I think she still does, but has worked on it a lot, so most of the time she is managing to say: ‘Piss off!’ to that fear… in a kind and loving way of course. Friends around her always knew her potential, just like she did, hence the fear of success, and knew if she took the plunge she would fly very high and she would be able to handle it. I think it was a relief for us all to see her take the steps needed, because she is flying up there right now and it is truly beautiful to see.
So, do you have a fear of failure or maybe a fear of success? How is this restricting your life? When thinking about taking a chance – do you focus on the fall or on the potential of flying?
In either case, I wish you luck in taking the plunge and enjoying all the learning that comes with that.
There is no failure if you take a plunge, only new experiences to learn from, whatever happens.