Fear of Failure

For as long as I can remember, my biggest fear has been failing… failing my parents, failing my teachers, failing to live up to societal expectations, and most of all failing myself. I can honestly say that my fear of failure made me work hard at every task I ever undertook as well as held me to a high standard. But with striving to succeed comes the pressure of perfection.


Growing up it was not as much of an issue because school came naturally to me and I chose not to participate in any activity that I knew I would not do well in (looking at you, team sports). I made sure that I was the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the best person that I could be. Little did I know that I was ultimately setting myself up for my biggest failure ever. You see, that pressure to be perfect led to my anxiety getting worse and worse. I ultimately started developing panic attacks and severe anxiety disorder because I was so afraid of stepping outside of the bubble that I knew I could succeed in.


That bubble was my safety zone and I knew that I would do fine in it. When college came, so did too many decisions and too much pressure. Every college visit and campus led to a panic attack full of tears, anger, and physical illness. I came home disheartened and completely unsure of how on earth I would be able to go to college. Not a single campus out of the near 20 that I visited made me feel comfortable and unafraid. I was terrified that I was going to fail at my seemingly biggest milestone yet.


This fear of failure made my school decision for me, as I knew that I had to stay close to my parents. I chose a school that was under an hour away from them and still had one of my biggest panic attacks before moving in my freshman year. However, that year I challenged myself in ways that I never would have imagined, and I grew by leaps and bounds.


My fear of failure kept me from choosing a school that I was truly passionate about and for that reason I will always live with questions of what if I had not been so scared. While fear can be a motivator, it can also inhibit you at some points. But I have made the decision to never again let fear rule my life. Instead I will fully embrace the uncertainty of life and say yes to as many things as possible.