The Fear of Failure

I was at a crossroads of sorts. I was staring a possible career shift right in the face and thought immediately of my friend Steve, who I’ve grown alongside over the past ten years. He’s the friend who challenges me to keep growing and when I’m in my valleys, his journey inspires me to stay the path to the top of the mountain. 

Shameless my-friend-is-a-rockstar plug: His website is True Spiritual Awakening and it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a soul shakin’ to get back on your feet spiritually.

Asking him about success and chatting about some of his recent leaps with his career, he distilled months worth of work into one sentence that brought me to my knees and filled my eyes with a few quiet tears. 

“I didn’t fear failure, I really just feared losing control.”

I went completely silent as he continued on, struggling to find words for the epiphany that came rocketing to the surface of my mind. The weight of it hit me like a ton of bricks, tears welling up in my eyes as I realized how true it was for me, too. 

Once I read, “A Course in Miracles” and found the principle, “In my defenselessness my safety lies,” it shook my world because I was so used to needing to know that it would all work out and I didn’t hustle because I wanted to work hard at something important to me. I hustled because I was terrified of an option I hadn’t exhausted that could hurt me in the long run. Somewhere along the way, between taking on leadership roles and moving a few times, I lost touch with the trust that said I didn’t need hard edges or armour to protect me. Steve reminded me of this powerfully with just one sentence and it woke my insides back up from their brief sojourn.

Years of startups, freelance work and many side projects saw me confessing that I was just afraid of being successful and that’s why it didn’t work out this time. I tried to figure it out over and over, trying to understand why I wasn’t succeeding like I knew I could.

The reality though, was that I was afraid of putting a little faith in the forces unseen, The Universe and as a result, let a lot of potential success slip through my fingers like sand. I was worried about stepping on other people’s toes unknowingly. How would others see me? How could I keep up with what would be expected of me? 

Failure, or unrealized potential, became my way of staying in control, because success isn’t scary, though what it means for your life, can be terrifying. 

It means the outcome isn’t in your hands the way you might want. It means that things might not work out and that you have to put a lot of faith in who you are as a person. It means you have to truly believe you’re worthy of success because if it doesn’t work out with that self-worth, you know there’s another success right behind it, waiting to unfold before you. 

It means that you have to love what skills you bring to the table.

It means you have to believe in yourself.

And I really couldn’t remember what that life looked like.

The possibility of success does bring some risk with it- we risk exposing ourselves to situations and people that could rock the foundation of what we believe true about ourselves. If that foundation’s built on rocky ground, the smallest setbacks become huge obstacles and end up looking a whole lot like a fear of failure, when it’s really more about the moment you give up control of the outcome because you know you’re fabulous enough to handle it.

Overcoming that impulse feels more like success than any goal or mission accomplished. 

And it bears repeating just like Steve said to me, “No matter what happened before, you’ve got this now and that’s what matters.”

WIth the trees blooming around you, as Spring makes its grand entrance, remember to see yourself in them.

You’re just as beautiful.

You’re just as much in bloom; Maybe even more.

If the trees don’t need any armour or protection and they still create such a gorgeous visual symphony, isn’t the same thing true for you?


On The Wings of Miracles, 



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