“YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP.”
Maybe this is a strange reading of the chemical burn scene from Fight Club, but when I think about overcoming fear of failure, I think of this.
It took me 25 years to give credit to my lifelong dream of being a singer. The thing that kept me from it all this time was simply the fear of looking stupid. I was afraid of being judged, and this applied to my entire life - it was really all-consuming.
One path to overcoming the fear of failure is exposure - to experience failure, over and over again, and sit with that feeling each time. This is the part that reminds me of the chemical burn - it requires a great deal of mindfulness in the moment. For me, it meant forcing myself to experience to the feelings of shame and rejection, the ugly memories, the self judgements, the desire to escape into distractions or get shitfaced and forget about it.
It’s like jumping off a waterfall - you have to force your body to move before you feel ready. Push through the discomfort.
The best outcome of these exercises is that you learn that you can have these feelings and live through them. I’m still afraid of failure, but I don’t let those feelings hold me back as much. I’ve also found that in many situations, I PERCEIVE less failure in myself - not because I make fewer “mistakes” but because I don’t see them as a big deal.
So what if I hit a wrong note at open mic? Things like that become less devastating the more exposure you have to them. But I also did a lot of work to rewire my brain for self-love and confidence. So I wouldn’t say exposure alone helped me. Either way…
First, you have to give up.
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