What makes you scared of failure?

I am petrified of failure.

I thought I might be, but I did not understand the extent of my fear until I talked to my sister.  She said they were discussing flaws among a group of women.  Someone pointed out that she was a perfectionist – an extreme perfectionist so much so that she was building a wedge in her family.  The leader responded, “what makes you so scared of failure?”

As my sister recounted the story to me, I gasped that she would use this specific example to explain the leader’s profound insight.  The question echoed over and over in my head.

What makes you so scared of failure?

I was all prepared with my blog notes to discuss all the things people do not tell you about success.  I know success.  I live success.  I breathe success.  Everything I touch has been blessed for as long as I can remember.  I speak blessings.  I pray for blessings.  I embrace blessings.  Therefore, for half a second, I thought I could be an expert.  In reality, I am just a regular girl desperately afraid to fail at anything.  Or maybe trying not to fail at everything so I spend every waking minute perfecting processes because somewhere along the line I convinced myself that failure was not an option.

I even wrote about it.  I wrote that Success is a Habit and Failure is NOT Final.  I battled “acceptable” addiction…And my fear still paralyzes me, even now.

I do not sleep well.  I do not focus well.  I prefer summer because during summer, I have no ideals.  I have nowhere to be, no one denying results.  I take thousands of pictures, only a handful of which reach any form of social media…because being on the beach is perfection.  It does not require any add-ons from me.  The sounds of the water, the sand beneath my toes, the sun creating beautiful shades of brown.  All perfection.  All absolutely beautiful with or without me.

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Yet, when I come home perfection relies on me.  My children must be well-balanced.  My students must learn.  My home may not fall apart and neither may my composure.

Truth is, at times my children drive me insane, and I grow tired of being the teacher to whom they assign the tough students because I can get through to them.  And I would always prefer to be home even if “home” is in complete disarray because my home has no expectations.

My children do not yet know that other moms prepare healthy afternoon snacks in cute containers pre-prepared by the week.  They do not understand that eating cereal at 5PM as an afternoon snack followed by chips and dip straight from the bag with no portion control is not normal.  They do not know that other mothers teach their children to make their beds every day, and they do not have to search the house high and low for the missing shoes minutes before leaving the house already behind schedule.

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So, yes, I would prefer to stay here with my son, and my daughter, and my husband because I do not always have the energy to pack the bags, the wipes, the snacks, and the extra jackets/blankets just-in-case.  The fact that we got out in one piece and made it to whatever destination on time is a miracle.  Sometimes I do not have the energy to change my daughter out of the pajamas she changes into immediately upon walking into the door.  But I am quite sure pajamas are not appropriate for any occasion to which we have been invited…

I am petrified of failure.

As a result, I stay to myself most times.  I have my husband and my handful of friends.  They already know I am not perfect, and they pass no judgement.  I am too tired to explain the idiosyncrasies I have come to accept as ordinary.

I do not have the answer, by the way.  I know you thought I would.  You thought I would have some cute solutions to look failure in the face, to accept your flaws…

All I have is my own flawed perfection that helps me to escape my fear, my own versions of extraordinary masked as ordinary.

  1. My faith.   My faith tells me that “God is within [me], [I] will not fall (Psalm 46:5).”  He tells me that all I need is “faith as small as a mustard seed” to move a mountain from here to there (Matthew 17:20).  He says that “all things come together for good” and “He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me” (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11).  So I know that even when fear is all I have got, a mustard see of faith is all that I need.
  2. My beach.  Every once in a while, life smiles at you and offers you its best.  I enjoy every minute of it.  I cherish the moments I want time to freeze.  Those snapshots of perfection disguised as regular life.  They ask for nothing in return.  You can neither add nor take away from their beauty.  They exist with or without your presence.
  3. My home.  My place of solitude.  My area of acceptance.  My husband.  My sister.  My friends.  My family.  My children.  My renewed purpose.

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What makes me so afraid of failure?…I have no idea.  All I know is how cope when my perfectionism tries to kill me.

What about you?  How do you cope?  What creates the extraordinary in your ordinary?

What are you afraid of?

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34 thoughts on “What makes you scared of failure?

  1. Man. I’m not technically a mom yet, but if there’s one thing I know moms are good at, it’s tearing themselves down. Our culture hardwires it into us. There comes a point in every woman’s life when she just has to stop caring. So what if the other mom has cuter box lunches? Kids don’t care about these things. Are their needs met? Are they happy? Can you look God in the eye, at the end of the day, and say, “I did the best I could with what you gave me. I raised a family in love and kindness and gospel truths, and honored the trust you put in me to raise your beloved children?” If the answer is yes, then no one else has any right to say anything – including ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beautifully stated. I appreciate the support. It is especially great to hear from non-moms simply because we always never want our kids to “bother” others (specifically those without young children – young, old and everywhere in between). I cannot tell you what your words mean to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad it helped you so much 🙂 For me, I’ve gotten so used to running cross-culture that I just ignore outside judgments now. And it’s those cultural standards that try to get into our heads. It’s like what I blogged about on Monday. Even when you can’t do all you want to…God gives you points for trying. Nobody else will do that. But as my mom would say, they’ve got “divine spankings” coming to them, so who cares? XD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m scared of whatever I put my hands on don’t succeed, I’m know things don’t happen over night. However, I guess the process and the stretching that is required. We live in a “microwave” society and we want everything in 2.5secs. But life is all about the failures and successes we have to endure. I pray we both get better at accepting failure and regardless of the outcome God’s grace is sufficient to cover us.

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  3. I would like to be prepared for all disaster episodes. I like to have Plan B’s readily available. However, lately, that has not been working out for me. At this stage in my life I am learning to live day by day and taking things as they come. I can say that I have failed in my life and I will probably do so again. This time though, I won’t be afraid. Thank you for this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! For you to know that about yourself is absolutely amazing. I actually thought of that while waiting. I teach and I always wonder if some of my students are afraid of success. Sometimes they will do extremely well in the first test, and then very worse not because the material gets harder but because they don’t know anything else.

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    2. Wow! For you to know that about yourself is absolutely amazing. I actually thought of that while waiting. I teach and I always wonder if some of my students are afraid of success. Sometimes they will do extremely well in the first test, and then get worse not because the material gets harder but because they don’t know anything else.

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  4. Wow, Brittany, you could have been writing my story. Constantly anxious and afraid to fail. Until I did . . . big time. Whew! Now I’m a recovering perfectionist. Relapsing once in a while but running back to grace as often as necessary. I found you at Sarah’s. So glad I did! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I cope with failure by accepting that I’ve done everything I can and I need to be satisfied with that. There’s just nothing more to be done or said. I wouldn’t say I create the extraordinary but I mess around with the ordinary by crafting. By making something out of nothing. What do I fear? Lack of control. Great post by the way, I absolutely loved reading it!

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    1. Thanks for sharing. I have tons of friends who must control EVERY detail. I, personally, feel so out of control most of the time that I am actually quite comfortable when others are in control and I can just enjoy the ride. Again, thanks so much for sharing. Outside of those who share my fear of failure (which is also good to know), few have shared other fears that run their lives. Have a great day?

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      1. There’s this concept in psychology called “locus of control” and it’s basically how you see who’s in control in your life. An internal locus of control means you believe you control your life while an external one means you believe your life controls you. It’s really interesting to me because it affects so much. You know how they say life is how you make it so it’s like, depending on who you see is in control, your life can go many different ways. Thank you for sharing with me and have a great day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to my greatest fear. I cringe at rejection because this is some form of failure. I used to avoid this feeling all together by keeping myself at arms length. But I’ve learned that failure and rejection are just as important as success. Without needing to overcome a feat, why would you really need to rise to top?

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  7. I believe that all women fight fears of failure. It is natural. The only thing is that no one really wants to discuss it. Therefore it silently eats away at the peace that the Lord gives us until we are held hostage by our fears. At that point we make an easy target for the lies of the enemy. The truth is that not one of us can be perfect. We simply have to learn to be perfectly ourselves and celebrate how God created each one of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was actually considering this same perspective earlier. Someone else also mentioned rejection, and I am learning that much of my fear of failure is rooted in fear of rejection. As I write (and pray), inner deep-seeded truths come out and rejection is definitely a part of my list of not so obvious (or maybe painfully obvious fears).

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      1. Definitely. We often forget that fear is actually a good thing, in small amounts. As long as we keep track of it and don’t let it take the driver’s seat on our road trip, we can keep a healthy relationship with it!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This was such a beautiful read. I shared it with a friend too. You are a strong woman doing so many amazing things. I hope you continue to feel how much strength is in you.

    Currently looking for the subscribe button cause I will be back 🙂

    Bola Sol

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