What if I Fail?
Dear Dr. Rosie,
I’ve been following your column for the past few weeks. I’m inspired to consider taking steps towards my dream career as a graphic artist – I’m so passionate about creating! I’m also so scared that I might fail in this endeavor. Who will be there to pick me up or to catch me if I fall? I’m so afraid of being alone. I’d love some words of wisdom to help me take the first step.
Thanks Dr. Rosie,
From Dr. Rosie
I totally empathize with you as you stand at the crossroads of a big decision. This decision seems huge – thinking about all of the things you’ll have to do to become a graphic artist. It’s really not that at all. It’s the decision to trust in your self, enough to risk the possibility of failure. I’ll talk about failure in a moment, but first let’s talk about trusting yourself enough:
In my book Self-Empowerment 101, I talk about that place inside where you can sit in your dream and passion knowing that it’s possible. It’s palpable; you can feel what it’s like to be doing what you love with no fear of failure – just pure joy. What’s it like to access that place in this moment? What qualities are present in this experience? For me, when I step into this place I feel relaxed, liberated from constraints, unlimited, light and ease. From here, it feels like everything and anything is possible! From here, I won’t fail and if I did, I’ll be okay. Your job, Maria, is to commit to accessing this place a few times a day and creating practices that move you toward graphic artistry. I say it this way so that you can embody the reality that you are already a graphic artist, and that you will be just leaning into and through the next veil of limitation that you come up against.
Each and every one of my clients has to be committed to themselves and their dreams enough to just lean into what’s limiting them. Whether its fear of failure, fear of rejections, fear of humiliation; it doesn’t matter. All of us have to face that part of us that doesn’t believe and trust that we, I, can do this.
How we normally be with our fears is to distract ourselves from them, to avoid feeling the discomfort and anxiety, to then perhaps deny that we even care enough to take the steps towards what we say we want. We can teach ourselves to be different with our fears and discomforts. We can practice controlling them instead of allowing them to control us. If I’m allowing my fears to control me than I’m choosing to allow them to control me: What the heck is that about? How is that serving me?
Being with Failure
Maria, I want you to ask yourself – what does it mean to fail? Write down what comes up for you, for example; it means isolation, humiliation, rejection, poverty, worthlessness. Then ask yourself: What do you have it mean to be, for example, isolated, humiliated, rejected, poor and worthless. Notice your thoughts as well as emotions and body sensations. Again, what meaning are you making for yourself about being isolated, etc? This is a very empowering exercise, because you can begin to see how you choose to make meaning, how you choose to think about things a certain way, and that you can choose differently in what meaning you make! How empowering is that?
Each of us make meaning of our world, and quite often these meanings paralyze us. Sometime we allow ourselves to sabotage our dreams by triggering disempowering thoughts and feelings. Many times I’ve had to notice when and how I allow a thought to make me feel scared and anxious.
No matter who we are or what our career or life aspirations are, each of us are using particular strategies to either move us toward our desires or sabotage us and paralyze us, creating a sense of “I just can’t do this!”
Do you see how powerful you are at choosing what you choose? The practice is to cultivate more awareness, through noticing of what you are doing, what you are thinking and feeling, and just observe your brilliance at creating the reality you are currently living in. Then, if you want, you can choose to choose differently!
To a large degree fear is a constant – especially for those who are wanting to live on the edge of their lives. We face the unknown, unsure of what the next leap of faith will bring about. However, as you move into your life more openly aware of who you are and how you operate you will notice how you choose to be with fear and empower yourself to choose differently, only if you want.
Who will be there to pick me up or to catch me if I fall?
The leaps of faith you will be making, Maria, as you move toward graphic artistry, only have to be big enough to move you in the direction of the results you are after. This can be just a shift in attitude, one item checked off your to-do list, one email or phone call that feels scary. Rarely, if we really pay attention and notice our choice-making process will you fail or fall very far. One step forward, two steps back is really an effective practice in creating attention to what you are choosing and seeing that perhaps you are choosing to not succeed – that’s not failure! Are you curious enough to pay close attention to how you might intentionally choose not to succeed and see this, again, as a very empowering process?
This can be challenging work to do on your own. I encourage you to consider finding a thinking partner, a coach, or a support group to keep you present to your commitments.
The bottom line, Maria, is you will not fail. And, you will come to trust yourself to catch you if you fall!
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