Sep 11, 2009

The fear of failure is eating me alive

Last week, I had this really horrible nightmare that I went back in time and every single thing I had ever accomplished since I was in junior high, I managed to somehow screw up and not accomplish. I'm not even kidding. I didn't graduate from college. I didn't make straight A's in high school. I didn't make drum major in band or the cheerleading squad. The thing is, it's bad enough when you go out for something or you try to do something, and you fail. But knowing that I had already achieved these things once and was no longer capable of doing it? Ouch.

It doesn't take a psychologist to tell me what my problem is or what that dream meant. I'm having some epic issues with fears of failure and rejection, fears of inferiority and inability. I'm worried about applying for new jobs (something that is becoming imminent, as Kellen's job search rapidly expands beyond Portland), because I worry that I won't be good enough, that I won't have the right skills, that no one will want to hire me. I'm worried about trying to learn new things, branch out to new areas, maybe even change direction in my career. I'm worried that somehow, I just won't be able to do it. I'll just fail.

I've never really felt like this in my life. I've always been fairly convinced that I'm an awesome human being. I am, above all, one smart cookie, and have always been able to do pretty much anything I put my mind to, with the exception of sports. I have always previously done a great job of impressing my employers and coworkers that I am hard-working, highly capable, and professional. Generally speaking, there's no reason why I should feel nervous or apprehensive about trying something new or pushing forward.

...but I do.

I'm not sure if it's because I've struggled so much in my current position, where nobody except those who work in immediate contact with me think I'm valuable. It's been incredibly hard to feel like, no matter how hard I work, I'm not really gaining ground with some of my supervisors who don't have intimate knowledge of my contributions to my team. And...sometimes I just get everyone else's ability and skill worked up in my head that I can't imagine how I could possibly ever compete.

I've got to get over this nonsense. If I'm having dreams about it, clearly I'm letting it affect me way too much. I know I'm awesome. I also know that every time I have failed, I've always been able to redouble my efforts and make significant improvements. I've never said, "I can't do that." (Except for sports, but really? Who cares if I can't throw a softball in a straight line or more than 10 feet?) Because I've always known that, if I tried, I could. I might not be the best, and I might not be perfect, but I could do it, and I could even do it well.

I'm just going to have to throw myself into the snake pit, and stop worrying about how afraid I am of the snakes.

1 comment:

  1. The fear of the unknown is one that gets me at times too. But all you can do is take a leap and go for it. If you have a good network of people to support you, you'll be all set.

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