We welcome Kelly from our Intake Department as she shares a personal post about her fear of failure. Thank you Kelly for your vulnerability and willingness to share about your past and your promises for the future. We are grateful for your heart and wisdom.
Yesterday, I was confronted by and came face to face with “The Dreaded “F”…And while it was shocking, and scary, it was freeing and necessary. I’ve felt its presence for a long time… taunting me, reminding me of past shortcomings, bringing to mind times my best wasn’t “good enough,” breathing its hot, stale breath on the back of my neck, daring me to turn around and look it in the face so it could see the fear in my eyes and render me motionless. Instead of fleeing for dear life, I found myself nose to nose, eye to eye, and toe to toe with FAILURE.
Yep… the “f word”… To me, it was one that was even worse than the “real f word.” A word that at the very thought of it, had the power to send me into full-blown panic attack, complete with hyperventilating, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, nausea, the works! A word, that if mentioned around me, even about someone else’s situation, would shut me down quicker than E. coli at Taco Bell. Just thinking about it made me cringe. I think it started when I was a little girl. I don’t know why, or what, or who, or even exactly when, but at some point, I started to believe that the worst possible thing that could happen to me was to fail. So I decided somewhere along the way, that would NEVER happen. I worked to be the best at everything I tried… and if I wasn’t the best at it, then I didn’t do it. Growing up I worked to be the smartest, the funniest, the prettiest, the skinniest, the most talented…. and in turn, what I considered to be, the safest. I conditioned myself never to try anything that looked remotely different than the typical things I was good at so that I was nice and cozy and safe from failure.
Then yesterday afternoon happened… and I was rendered motionless for a different reason. I was staring, with jaw dropped, at this blonde woman on Facebook who I’d never met before, and she was shredding every bit of dignity I tried so desperately to preserve all these years, stripping away every bit of false security I’d been clinging to since I was a little child. The CEO of a major company was telling me that the only way to fail was not to try!!! She explained that growing up her father had encouraged her and her brother to *gasp* FAIL. They sat around the dinner table every night and shared with one another the ways they had failed that day; the things they went for that didn’t pan out, without shame or guilt or worry or sorrow, and they were rewarded with high fives and statements from their father like “High five, you tried something new today” and “Way to go, you failed, but at least you tried.” She then went on to discuss that she began to write down the hidden nuggets that were revealed to her each time she did something she didn’t want to do, or tried something she had been afraid to try. She added that these nuggets were INVALUABLE and not something she would ever want to pass up or miss out on, and I sat there head in hands, in sheer horror…I WAS A FAILURE.
You see, I had not failed at anything and everything at the same time. Though I had never truly tried something that had ended in an epic mess, I realized I had never really tried anything that had the potential to get messy. Sure, I’d made mistakes, but not because I’d been particularly courageous, or bold, or gone completely out of my comfort zone. It was more so because of the exact opposite, I’d never tried to do something that was so big and so bold and so beyond what I could plan for or comprehend that I might have to do some things that were unorthodox, uncomfortable, completely spontaneous, and out of order. See I had failed because I had not tried. I had failed because I had planned things out to a “t,” and if I didn’t see how it could happen, then I never believed it could, so I never tried to achieve it. I failed because I listened to people along the way that said “That’s a crazy idea” or “That’s great for so and so, but it won’t work for you.” I failed because I became overwhelmed with all the reasons something could or would go wrong instead of trying ways to make them work.
[Tweet “Failing because you’ve tried doesn’t make you a failure at all… it makes you strong.”]
So I am making myself a promise… I WILL FAIL BECAUSE I WILL TRY! Failing because you’ve tried doesn’t make you a failure at all… it makes you strong, it makes you smart, it makes you a doctor, or a lawyer, or a friend, it makes you a mother or a father, it makes you happy, it makes you healthy… it MAKES YOU! It makes me, and I will rest in this promise from His unfailing word “My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion FOREVER!” – Psalm 73:26