On Fear, Failure and Feeling Alive

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals lately and how easy it is to feel pulled in so many different directions. Every once in a while I go back and forth between feeling like “Oh no! That’s too much to do” and “My overflowing plate makes me feel amazing!” (And not in a Stress Addiction kind of way, I promise.) Logic says I’d have a better chance at success if I pursued fewer things, right? But here’s the thing about stretching yourself — it means you are CONSTANTLY learning and growing. And to me:

Learning + Growing = Feeling Alive

Right now in my life the to do list is long and the goals are varied. Sure, sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed and I’ll admit sometimes I even feel scared. But I think feeling alive doesn’t always mean feeling comfortable, and more importantly feeling uncomfortable doesn’t always mean something needs to change. I came across an excerpt from Brene Brown’s “I Thought It Was Just Me” recently and (as usual) her words brought everything into perspective that had been swimming around in my brain about all of this:

One of the benefits of growth through goal setting is that it is not an all-or-nothing proposition–success or failure is not the only possible outcome…When we set improvement goals and set measurable objectives to meet those goals, we can learn and grow from both missed and met objectives. If our goal is perfection, we will inevitably fail and that failure offers us nothing in terms of learning and change; it only makes us vulnerable to shame.

This brought me so much clarity. Most feelings of fear and overwhelm are triggered by this pursuit of perfection. And it can be so commonplace that it almost becomes subconscious. But pursuit of perfection doesn’t help make us better, it mostly just breeds fear of failure, and if I’ve said once, I’ve said it a million times: FAILURE SHOULDN’T BE FEARED! Failure is one of the most powerful learning tools we have. And as long as I’m learning and growing, I know I’m living.

And what is better than feeling alive?

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5 Responses to On Fear, Failure and Feeling Alive

  1. GREAT POST! I can’t even explain how much this resonnates w/ me right now. I started a post last week about the concept of “having it all” and I have so much to say on this topic I can’t seem to finish writing!

  2. This screams “awesome” to me. I like to remind myself that there is no such thing as a failure so long as you don’t quit. You either achieve a goal by try try trying again (this is where not quitting becomes the hardest par!) or you decide that the goal no longer serves you and set a new one. Amen to this post!

  3. Love this, Holly– thanks so much for sharing 😉

  4. Isla says:

    I 100% agree that failure shouldn’t be feared. I also believe that the only way to get over fear is by actually doing what you’re afraid of. Even if it’s just a toe in the water it’s a start, and eventually you’ll be diving in head first.

  5. April says:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this. Recently I’ve been contemplating leaving my job that I’m unhappy but comfortable with for a new job that I would have no idea what I’m in for… this post helped me see that even if I tried this new job and it didn’t work out, that’s ok and at least I tried and can learn from my experiences! 🙂