Getting Over the Fear of Failure

Three months ago, I cut pictures and words out of magazines ready to build my vision board. I was pumped and carefully scanning each page for inspiration, motivation and all the good feels.

The images sat on my desk in a jumbled pile, emblematic of my brain, vision, direction and thoughts. The board stared back at me, blank, vacant and overwhelmingly silent.

I couldn’t do it.

Three months ago, I decided I was moving. I didn’t know where yet, I just knew it was time. I knew I wanted a career shift and change of scenery. I’ve been here since 2009, and when people ask why I didn’t go back to New York after college, my response was always, “I got a job and just never left.” Not exactly a strong reason to set up your life somewhere.

Fast forward to right now, as I write this blog post. My vision board is complete, I’m moving back to New York this weekend and am working on a website for my own Health Coaching business.

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So, why now? What took me so long? Why didn’t I just glue the pieces of paper to the board two months ago? Why didn’t I just put in my notice and move away? Why didn’t I just sit my ass down and build the website for the career I am passionate about?

Fear.

Fear is an interesting emotion. It’s motivating as hell. Most of us, thankfully, haven’t faced a life-threatening situation, but think of the last time you were nervous or scared about something small. Maybe it was the first day of a new job or school. Maybe you were going on a first date or meeting your significant other’s family. Think of the weird things you do in those situations.

I couldn’t pinpoint what was stopping me. I thought it was fear of taking a step in the wrong direction and sending my life off course, but that wasn’t it. I’m a firm believer that you can always live the life you desire, no matter where you are right now. I just had to remind myself of that.

So, what was stopping me?

I thought it was my fear of putting myself out there, being vulnerable, making a bold decision to go after what I want. But, the more I thought that way, two things started to happen. First, it increasingly became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You really do start to believe the shit you tell yourself. I planted that seed pretty deep, and I began shying away from opportunity, settling in and just watching life.

The second thing was the more I said this and acted this way, the more separated from myself I felt. But something pretty magical came from this. I found my authentic self, because I could see it from afar. I could see who I truly was at that moment. It didn’t match up.

Enter trust and intuition. I was beginning to understand my own intuition, my gut, my heart. Maybe, I feared it was steering me wrong?

I fully believe in the power of intuition. There is scientific proof that it exists. It lives in the part of our brain that is connected to our gut—hence gut feelings. This part of our brain is primitive, so it isn’t capable of language—hence phrases like, “I don’t know why, I just felt like I had to do it,” or “I can’t explain it, it just feels right.” You legitimately cannot explain it because there’s no link between this gut feeling and the part of your brain capable and responsible for language. It’s your intuition, and you should trust it.

Okay, so clearly I trust my intuition. Are you getting annoyed with me yet? I’ll tell you what it was.

Fear of failure.

My own self-doubt and fear of failure was sabotaging my drive, intuition, passion and confidence. That’s how powerful negative thoughts can be. That’s how powerful fear can be.

I felt stuck. I felt it in every aspect of my life. Menial tasks became an uphill battle. Exhaustion set back in. I was exercising and eating from a place of fear, I was socializing from a place of fear, I was living from a place of fear.

My inner critic was telling me things like, “Who do you think you are?”, “You can’t just pick up and leave without a clear plan”, “You can’t start a business”, “You can’t make it in New York”, “You’ll never succeed”, “You’re not smart enough”.

My inner critic is a big, big bitch.

With the help of some audiobooks, good old-fashioned page-turning books, affirmations and videos, I’m healed! Just kidding. That voice in my head isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I have completely changed how I listen and respond to it. I stopped agreeing with the bitchy friend in my head and started believing in myself.

So, what’s next for me?

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I am moving back to New York City on Saturday, transitioning out of the digital world of marketing and into Health and Wellness, full-time.

Some decisions were made out of an “act now, think later” mindset. Some were highly analytical. Some were made out of complete trust and confidence in myself.

Of course, I had amazing, supportive people helping me make this decision, but since it was made, one person’s reaction made me feel at ease. A friend told me he heard I was moving back and, like everyone else, asked, “So, what’s the plan?” I laughed, threw up my hands and said, I’m not 100% sure yet, I just know what I want and I know I want to be in New York. His response, “Just going? I love it.”

The fact that I can recall this one reaction reminds me how much work I still have to do on myself. It shouldn’t matter. I know that people react out of their own fear. That moving with no clear path or plan seems crazy scary to them, so they disapprove, question or sabotage out of love, out of a want to keep me “safe”. But, the love for myself and my happiness is what is driving me to go after my dreams.

I might still fail. I think about it all the time. I might move back to New York, struggle to find a job, never find a single coaching client and have to start from scratch. But then again, I might become more successful, happier and healthier than I have ever been. It’s not a matter of luck or circumstance. It’s faith in myself and in life. It’s trust in my brain, body, spirit and intuition. It’s confidence and composure.

It’s up to me.

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