Fearing Failure

In the past couple of weeks, my life has been shifting and new opportunities are popping up. While this is something I should be excited about, especially considering my feelings of being stuck, it mostly feels terrifying.

Like most people, I don’t love failing. It’s one of the worst feelings to fall short of what people thought I could do. What I thought I could do. Sometimes, I let the fear of that feeling drive me away from even trying. I will completely talk myself out of a great chance to do something new just because I might totally bomb it.

This morning, I had a conversation with someone about a particular opportunity I’ve been on the fence about and I said what if I’m really bad at it? To which they replied,

What if you’re really good at it?


I know it sounds obvious, but it was an option I had never even considered in my weighing of pros and cons. I figured the only options were to be able to meet expectations or slowly sink into a pit of failure. The idea that I might really excel and love it never even crossed my mind.

I tend to be a tad over-critical of myself, so maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone. I would like to think that people can acknowledge how spectacular they are and know that they will succeed in the things the try. For me, noticing the things that I’m good at some times takes a little extra effort. Which is fine. I know I can do stuff. All kinds of stuff.

The point is that I can’t let the fact that I’m a flawed, young, inexperienced human stop me from following something that seems outside of my comfort zone. Maybe I will be really terrible at it. Maybe I’ll crash and burn so hard that everyone will talk about it for years to come. Maybe I’ll become an urban legend of terribleness.


Maybe it will be the best thing I’ve ever done. Maybe I’ll learn a ton of new skills. Maybe I’ll find something new to be passionate about. Maybe I’ll be really good at it.

The only way I’ll ever find out is if I sledgehammer the cement wall of scardy-cat surrounding me and woman up. You can’t fail if you never try, but you also can’t succeed.

3 thoughts on “Fearing Failure

  1. I can fully relate to this post because I turned down many opportunities in fear of failure. I’m traveling to Hong Kong in the fall to study and almost turned that down in fear I wouldn’t do well. The thought still plagues my mind, but you’ve inspired me to be positive about it.


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