An Open Letter To Myself, How To Combat Your Fear of Failure

I have failed many times in my life, and I will continue to fail, but that doesn’t scare me anymore. I used to have the mentality that life could only be so good until the next failure came around, but that mind-set can be more harmful than the failure I fear. 

Something I say to prepare myself for the next set-back life brings me is “your accomplishments, good or bad, do not make you the person you are.” When thinking of the people I love and the people who love me, I know they do not stay around because of what is on my resume. Understanding that the people who hold value in your life are there because of your personality and not your titles is something that should make you think higher of your emotional intelligence instead of test scores or job positions. Doing something like listing the reasons you love yourself, or should, can help you better understand that there is more to life than the things we brag about. And if you initially can’t think of any, start with the fact that you look for self improvement (because you are reading this article) and that is admirable. 

Busy culture, Clout Culture, all of the things we praise and admire about today’s work environment does nothing but perpetuate feelings of competition and self-doubt. Although it's easier said than done, don’t let this affect your self-worth. The “Girl Boss” persona does not benefit anyone, especially those who aren’t in the same phase of life. There will be times when you feel on top of the world and while you’re there, don’t look down upon those who aren’t there with you. Respecting and encouraging the people who are around you will help you to learn to respect and encourage yourself when you are in that position as well. Fundamentally, it goes back to treat others the way you need to be treated when you’re in their shoes. 

When something good happens to you, or you get the position you’ve been wanting, it can be easy to think “I don’t deserve this,” or “Now that I got it, the only thing I can do now is disappoint them.” This is an extremely self-sabotaging mind-set that convinces yourself that all of your hard-work was just luck.  Remind yourself that everything you’ve accomplished thus far is because of your own persistence and passion. This will help you to realize that when things aren’t going your way, that you’ve been there before and you are capable of bouncing back. Give yourself credit when credit is due.

I believe that the scariest part of failure is the embarrassment that follows. “What will people think of me, when they realize I didn’t get it?”, “I wish I would’ve never tried because now they know I’m incapable.” The way we are perceived by the people around us is what gives us a sense of community, but if we think too highly of the community and too little of ourselves we can get caught up in what people think. Understanding and believing in yourself is the fundamental piece of this puzzle. There is nothing you are incapable of, including failure itself, so when it happens, don’t let it influence how you feel about yourself.