When I was a kid, I was afraid of everything.
I would watch movies (even non-scary ones) and lie in bed at night freaking out about them.
I was scared to answer the phone because I didn’t know who was on the other end.
I feared going to school the next day in case my friends weren’t talking to me.
Being scared of getting older. Of what that meant, fear of the unknown or whether I would be able to handle it.
Crazy fears that my parents wouldn’t come home from work at night.
This stuff kept me up at night.
As I got older, the biggest fear I had was failure. Not getting high enough marks on my school and uni assignments, failing my dance audition, fighting with friends, or not getting noticed by ‘that guy’.
Wow that’s a lot to carry around. I’m probably lucky I didn’t have a nervous breakdown!
I’d like to say that my life has change a lot since my school years – and it has – but I still sometimes find myself paralysed by fear and failure.
So I decided to experiment a little and make them my friends instead. And I thought, maybe, this would help you too. Because you are wonderful, this I know, but sometimes when someone else admits something they’ve been freaking out about, it allows us to breathe a sigh of relief and think, ‘oh it’s not just me’.
Becoming friends with fear
“On the other side of fear is freedom”
I’ve decided to become friends with fear because I have been craving freedom for SO. LONG.
Fear is a feeling that, I believe, comes from our ego as a protective warning to stay away from the unknown. Our ego is trying to have our back but, in doing this, it is also keeping us small and trapped in a place we may not want to be any more.
Instead of fighting the fear, as we often tend to do, I decided to embrace it and take a leap of faith when I left my job to spend some time working on my business. A business that was not even established. A business that could not cover my wages yet. But by making fear my friend, I knew that I would find the freedom I was looking for and the rest would follow.
There is something really magical in facing your fears head on from a place of love instead of panic or worry or anger. It takes a lot of guts to be friends with fear instead of hiding from it or ‘taking it on’. When we come from a positive place, we are more likely to end up in a positive place. It kind of makes sense.
And I highly recommend it.
Be confident that you can handle anything that comes at you and watch how feeling the fear and doing it anyway becomes not only an excellent motivator, but fills you with a newfound strength you never knew you had.
Finding a friend in failure
“Remember that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success”
We’ve been brought up to believe that failure is a bad thing, something to be avoided at all costs. It’s time to get over that because every time we fail, we learn and grow and change, and next time, we’ll do better.
For the past few months I have been dealing with the fallout from the fear of failure that was instilled in me since childhood. Red crosses on incorrect answers, humiliation from not getting an A on an exam, the fear of not getting good enough grades to get into uni and then get a good job.
The constant looming fear of failure that I know has always made me feel within myself that maybe I’m not enough.
Now, intellectually, I know that failure is how we learn. But, as a society, we teach our kids that failure must be avoided at all costs. Instead of embracing how we, as humans, naturally learn by trial and error, we are socially trained to fear failure, which causes so many more problems!
And I’m done with it. So it’s time to add the idea of failing joyously to my friendship group.
It’s taken me a LONG time to get over this and I’m still working on the negative ‘perfectionist’ energy imbedded deep in my core when it comes to the concept of failure. But, I have decided that I want to befriend failure. I want to be so comfortable with failure that I learn to be the best I can be and that when the success comes, it will be so much sweeter.
I have to admit, when I added fear and failure to my friends list, along came freedom, joy, and relief. Relief that I am enough, and I am flawed and learning and a work-in-progress. I finally feel free to be myself. And that is the greatest friend of all.
So, are you game to make friends with the ‘enemy’?
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think OR give it a go and tell me if it worked for you.
P.S If you want to really get into it, I have three spots available this week for a free coaching consult. It would be a great chance to work out what’s holding you back! PLUS I’ve got a very special package on offer at the moment, if you’ve been considering doing some coaching and it would be so great for a conversation like this. Check it out here.
I love this post. I’m going through a transition with work at the moment and I’m mortified. I’m trying to stay positive and think that in a years time I’ll be in a better place if I just trust that life has better things in store for me! But that fear is a bitch, along with their friend failure…
Ahhh Billi, it is the best and worst feeling at the same time! As uncomfortable as it is, sometimes it helps to lean into the fear and see what is freaking you out and why that might be. We often shy away from looking head on at what’s going on but the results can be SO powerful!
I know! I think that if I were to make a change now, in a year’s time I will not be jobless, I will not be miserable or poor – as is my fear. I think back on every decision I have made or that has been made for me and I think how positively it has influenced my life in one way or another…. It’s just getting past that initial hump. I think once a decision is made, you just have to keep moving forwards because when you let what’s behind you keep you back, that’s the struggle. It really is true when they say that you are your own worst enemy when you let your fears hold you back, or in my case, hold me in the same miserable spot I’ve been in for two years now! Now is the time for change! Keep blogging to keep me sane and on track 🙂
That is such a beautiful way to look at it, Billi! I hope that it’s all going well and that you’re having luck with the forward motion. It’s so funny how the fear itself is so much scarier than the actual thing we’re fearing.
Feel free to email me any time, lovely x
These are the two friends I need to,invite into my life but I keep pushing them away. My two biggest blocks right now are fear of the how, when, good enough… And the paralysing worry about not reaching the point I am aiming for / living up to my potential and big dreams
Great post xx
Thanks, Deb! Ahh yes, I didn’t say they were EASY friends to make. Isn’t it interesting how our fears are so often contradictory? (the perfectionist block that often causes in action vs. the not reaching our dreams block).
I love this post 🙂 I am having been feeling all kinds of fear and failure lately. I am about my nutritional medicine studies and embark on getting my blog and projects up and running. I have never felt so scared in my life. I need to become best mates with fear and failure, so we can move forward together xo
Oh Vanessa, those big changes can be so scary! I wouldn’t have got through my huge transition from TV to my own business without my coach and my kinesiologist! Best of luck with it x
Beautiful post, and a lovely reminder that a little bit of fear is a good thing, as it shows you’re on the right path!
The fear of failure was my absolute kryptonite when I was younger. Having had a lot of external pressure to succeed in all areas of my life (school, sports, social..etc), the idea of not being the best was crippling. Fortunately I was able to do a lot of work on this through my teens that carried into my adult life. Learning to embrace fear, to let the feeling sit without overwhelming, and to burst through the other side with adrenaline surging through my veins and a wild smile on my face was revolutionary!
Thanks Jaime! I know exactly what you mean about that. I wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have to go through the crippling school years! Maybe that’s what we need to get us to where we’re supposed to be!? I’m so glad to hear about your journey, thanks for sharing!
Hi Katherine, thanks so much for sharing this post! It is really refreshing to hear someone actually TALK about this stuff openly because let’s face it, we all feel these things. I would also like to mention the disappointment of success (not just fear of failure), when it fails to deliver everything that we thought success could. What happens when you move past fear, and embrace some of the things that you really wanted to do and finally can, only to discover that these things were not what you really wanted at all? It was what others around you wanted, or what you thought you wanted? I think there is a deeper root cause here and we need to address what we’re actually going after. x
Hi Rebecca, great questions and I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I think it’s more about connecting with ourselves than moving past fear. The thing is, we are always changing. We have a tendency to tie our identity up with what we think we want or who we think we want to be. If we can let go of THAT as well as fear, we can be okay with knowing that we might change tomorrow and want to do something else. I think the deeper root cause might be knowing ourselves and knowing our WHY. What do you think?