I was going on one of my monthly ‘jogs’, which after about 5 minutes pretty much turns into a walk, and it just came out of nowhere and hit me: My fear of failure completely hinders me from living.
I remember one year, at our youths camp in Wales, we were canyoning – which is the best thing ever. If you have never done it, you totally should! And after walking through streams, zooming along zip lines and sliding down waterfalls, the final thrill was before me. To climb up and then proceed to jump 20ft into the water. Now, this was optional, but once you had started to climb – there was no going back.
Now, I really enjoy this kind of thing, but, I’m actually kind of scared of heights. So, as I was climbing up, I was praying to God (with every breath) that I wouldn’t fall off and die or that I would have the strength to move my next limb and not embarrassingly get stuck midway. The thing is, I’m not so scared of heights that I won’t climb them. But with every step I take half of me regrets the decision and the other half is determined to make it to the top. And this time I did.
After defeating the challenge of reaching the top, my victory was short lived. Before I knew it my feet were hung over the edge and as I looked below and all I could see was a deep blue abyss to greet me. And I realised – I have to get down. I had been so fixated on getting up that I forgot that what goes up, must come down. And in that moment I was completely overcome with fear, a million thoughts ran through my mind of how I could get out of it. But, before I knew it the man told me to jump, and so I did. I jumped.
In that moment, fear could have so easily overcome me to the point where I would have frozen and become completely stuck on top of this really high rock. And although it may not have exactly been the fear of failure, the way to approach it is the same. You’ve just got to jump.
I’ve come to a point in my life where everything is changing – I’m actually becoming an adult. And it’s scary. I’m scared of many things; being inadequate in my job, not learning quick enough, not making a difference, not managing my money well enough, living in my own home – the list goes on. Basically, with all the change comes a multitude of opportunities to fail. And the fear of failure is a pretty big one for me. I mean, no one likes to make a mistake or get something wrong. But, that’s what exactly stops me from doing anything exciting. And that’s what hit me. The most exciting opportunities come with the biggest chance of failure. Does that mean I should give into fear? No. Do I? Yes. Is it easy to overcome? Of course not. It has got to be a conscious decision! We have to choose to live life, to do the things that excite us most, to climb that massive rock, jump into that big blue abyss, take a risk, and stand face to face to failure and say ‘you have no place here’.
If I hadn’t faced my fear of heights and climbed that big rock, I wouldn’t have made it to the top. And if I hadn’t of jumped, I would probably still be there. Stuck. But I did it, and it gave me the confidence and bravery to go up there and do it all over again. You see, throughout our lives we are presented with opportunities to accomplish and experience great things. And I know it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do – to overcome fear. I don’t know about you, but, I want to be someone who can celebrate victories, or at least say I tried. Opposed to being someone who stays at the bottom of the rock because I’m scared of ‘what ifs’ and miss out. So even if am scared to try, or even if I fail, I want to always remember the saying;
‘What if I fall?’ ‘Oh, but my darling… what if you fly?’