Hello! Victoria here doing a surprise guest post on the Self Mastery Series. I hope you’re enjoying the series so far. I want to say a HUGE Thank you to everyone who has commented and fed back to us so far; if you haven’t already we’d love to hear from you, comment below!
So todays post is all about two rather nasty ‘F’ words… Fear. And Failure. Blargh. Those two words alone can make me shudder; they leave a bad taste in your mouth and a distinct impression that one should find the nearest rock and hide under it.
For me, fear means spiders (gross!), I can’t bear them, and Mike is called to my rescue for even the tiniest spiderling dangling from its web. Something about the way they scuttle jerkily around, the way that they feel much like a stray hair when they touch your skin (yuck). As with most fears, I can follow the ‘spider’ thread in my life back to the moment when as a young girl I didn’t notice the gargantuan arachnid hiding in my dress until I was most of the way through putting it on. These days every item of clothing gets a thorough shake before I put it on.
Imagine your greatest fear, what is it? What is it that sends your brain grasping for its most basic of instincts: fight or flight? Now work back; where did it come from? Was it an experience, or perhaps a learned behaviour which you acquired over time? Whichever it is, identifying the cause of a fear can sometimes lead you to realise that your fear is irrational. I certainly know that my fear of spiders is! (At least, here in the UK.) What about your fear?
Just reading the word can send your stomach plummeting. For may of us, failure is a fear. It is a fear that sends our brain into a fight / flight frenzy when we need it to think rationally. It has robbed many of their wildest dreams.
I confess, I still struggle with my fear of failure. “Oh, my plans are too big, they’ll never work out. Why bother? Better not to be seen trying, just give up now whilst you’ve still got some dignity left.” Just some of the thoughts you may be able to identify with. But I refuse to give in to my fear of failure. You see, I have dreams, big dreams, to help people, to help the earth and to live in a way that is in harmony with all of my principles. These dreams drive me forward, even when for the most part I cannot even see where I’m going to put my next foot forward; I have faith that I’m moving in the right direction. This does not mean I don’t have fear. I still have moments where my only desire is to curl up on the sofa and be content with my lot, where the fear paralyses me and tells me I’m not good enough. But listen to me people, if you give in to the voice of fear of failure, you will NEVER reach your goals, because you wont even try. You wont try because trying and failing will be worse to you then never trying at all.
“If you give in to the voice of fear of failure, you will NEVER reach your goals”
If you rise above that voice though, if you knock it back time and again, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Simply by trying, and ignoring the voice of the fear of failure, you increase your chances of reaching your goal by 100%. As the saying goes:
“No Matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch”
In other words, just by lacing up those running shoes and stepping out the front door, you are far more likely to get into the shape of your life then the person sat on the couch flicking through fitness motivation on Pinterest wishing they looked like the models but fearing it would never be possible for them.
It’s a whole lot harder in your head
Often times, our fears are so much more overwhelming in our heads then in practice. Take my fear of spiders for example:
A few years back I was at a zoo with my parents. Whilst we were there we attended the ‘show and tell’ which boasted everything from a cycling parrot to mischievous ferrets and most animals in between, amongst them a Chilean rose tarantula. My fear of spiders had reached new heights by then, and I was getting frankly fed up of having to check every nook of my room before falling asleep each night. Right there and then I made a decision; this had to end. Bold as brass I marched up to the woman holding the creature, deliberately ignoring my screaming thoughts, and asked if I could hold the tarantula. I braced for impact. And a fluffy, delicate ball of fuzz was deposited into my cupped hands. My brain couldn’t quite compute all the messages it was receiving. It felt like I was holding a small, fluffy rodent, not a spider at all! The most bizarre thing was I knew full well that, unlike my house spiders, this giant was perfectly poisonous and dangerous, yet my fear had vanished. I was transfixed with that beautiful creature, and walked away from the experience feeling elated. I had HELD a tarantula; not just a spider, but a HUGE spider! I could do anything.
For weeks I swooped around the house happily capturing and ‘freeing’ as many spiders as I could managed. It was incredible.
Sadly the effects faded after some time and in the absence of a local tarantula I resort to my boyfriend to rescue me these days, but I haven’t forgotten the effect that experience had on me and use the same technique to tackle many things I still find scary today. I call my approach to tackling things, 20 seconds of madness.
20 seconds of madness
I’m not sure where the name came from, but the general principle is that in order to begin most scary things you only need 20 seconds of total madness, where you pull your big girl (or boy) pants on, turn the scared voice in your head to ‘mute’ and do it. I use this technique daily when talking to new people.
I convince myself on a regular basis that if I open my mouth in front of someone new I will trip over my words, say the wrong thing and embarrass myself horribly. Yet only this morning I was praised for my communication skills! I use the 20 seconds rule to pull my big girl pants on, approach who I want to speak to and open my mouth. By that point there’s very little point in going back, and leaving silently would be just as embarrassing as talking; plus, I might get something out of the talking so I stick with that option.
What I’m trying to say guys, is that ‘failure’ is a made up construct of society and our own minds. Our lives are constantly moving, be that towards or away from our goals, and for as long as you have breath and have willpower, you can dictate whether you move towards your goals, or away from them. In my eyes, every step taken towards your goals is a success, and should be celebrated as such. There’s no such thing as ‘failure’, only trying, or not. I sure as heck know which of those two I’m gonna do. What about you?
- Consider your fears, write a list if you want to and then think about how you came to have them and if they’re rational or not. (Don’t worry, some fears are totally rational and should absolutely be listened to!)
- Where you come across an irrational fear, write down 2 – 3 ways you could face that fear.
- Use the 20 second rule and face your fears!
- Write down your goals
- Consider what you’re worried will happen if you ‘fail’. Write it down if you want to.
- Now consider what will happen if you don’t even try. Where will you be in 5 years time? Write it down if you want to.
- Comment below on what your goals and ambitions are! We’re here to help and support you, to build a community of people who are saying ‘no’ to the voice of the fear of failure, so comment below and share your journey with us.
Keep plugging away at those goals,