Helllloooo! It’s been a while! 7 months? 8? Idk, I’m too scared to look to see how long it’s been since I last posted.
I’m going to be honest with you - I’ve had so much friggin resistance to showing up on here.
I’m talking “having it on my to-do list and then bumping it to the next day’s to-do list and repeating for 5 months” type of resistance.
I’ve been blocked of ideas. I’ve been tangled in my thoughts. I’ve spent days upon days researching business and marketing tactics. I can recite the importance of niche-ing down in my sleep. And I think I’ve made it to page 47 on google searching for ideas on “how to start a successful blog”.
Here’s the hard truth I’ve been avoiding. My avoidance isn’t because I’m not motivated, or I’m not clear on my direction. It’s because I’m T E R R I F I E D of failure. Scared to the point that it’s been paralyzing me from doing anything. It hasn’t just been paralyzing my ability to get started, it’s been paralyzing ideas and inspiration from entering my brain.
I can’t even daydream! My brain is protecting me from potential failure so much that it’s not even allowing me to think that my dream can become a reality! Now that’s bad.
For months I’ve been telling my loved ones that I can feel the creativity inside me waiting to burst, but it feels blocked. Like it’s trying to come out, but it can’t. Tbh I feel like that episode of Spongebob where all of his holes have a cork in them so he’s about to explode.
Visual to jog your memory:
But the reason that all of my creative holes are “corked” are because of...
The creativity and ideas and yearning to write are all dying to pour out of me, but my fear of failure is a cork that’s blocking it all from coming out.
I’m so terrified of trying something and “getting it wrong”. I’m scared of what I’m doing being “bad”. I’m scared of not making sense. Of putting my effort into something for it to flop. Of taking Loving My Wild into a direction that ends up being a dead end.
Of feeling like an idiot.
I’m terrified of being a failure.
But by allowing my fear control me into not taking action, I’m doing exactly that. Feeling like an idiot and a failure. I believe that’s the definition of a self fulfilling prophecy, is it not?
The hours of googling, “researching” and “learning” trick me into believing that I’m being productive and moving towards my goals, but they’re doing the very opposite. They’re keeping me stuck in the perpetual cycle of not feeling good enough, and then seeking information outside of myself, in hopes that I’ll come across the golden ticket - the one piece of information that will magically make me feel like I have my shit together enough to be successful.
Every google search of “how to write a good blog post” makes me feel like it’s taking the fear away, but it’s keeping me from actually doing the work. All it is doing is giving me a false sense of control, and reassurance that I’m doing the right thing and making the right decisions.
Instead of facing the vulnerability of the unknown and the possibility of failure, I’m seeking anything to avoid those uncomfortable feelings. Searching for a map to follow. Because if I can follow the map, then I know I’m guaranteed to find the treasure.
But this isn’t Dora the Explorer. We can’t just call on The Map and have the direction we need to go printed in front of us.
The unknown, the possibility of failure, those are real. And they are really scary. They feel unbearably uncomfortable to face.
But life is full of unknowns in every direction. And if I continue to avoid every turn, the only place it will lead me is straight back into my comfort zone.
So instead of running from the unknown, how can I make those feelings less scary?
Well... I’m still figuring that out.
But here are some things I’m doing that are helping me redefine my relationship with failure.
1. Only taking the next step.
I’m someone that can’t help but look at the full picture. I’m a forward thinker that gets trapped in overwhelm nearly every time. My fear of failure and perfectionism want me to have a detailed outline on the exact steps to take, one after another. But 95% of the time, there is no outline to follow. The future cannot be mapped out in a to do list. The best thing you can do is take the next step, one at a time. Especially if the overwhelm paralyzes you, sometimes what’s needed are baby steps to make sure you at least have momentum to break you out of the paralysis.
There’s an analogy in Jake Miller’s song Headlights that fits this perfectly. When you’re driving at night, you can’t see the open road ahead of you. But you have headlights to see the first 100ft. Once you complete those 100ft, you see the next 100ft. You don’t stop driving because you can’t see the full mile ahead of you. You simply just trust that seeing the next 100ft is all you need. And you trust in your ability to drive, and you trust that you can handle a turn or an obstacle that may appear later on in the drive.
This is the energy I’m trying to embody. This is the relationship I want to have with fear.
2. Learning to trust
That headlight analogy leads me to my next tip. Trust.
Trusting myself, my talents, my ideas, and my abilities. Trusting the universe to guide me and give me the tools that are needed. Trusting the process and that things will unfold the way that they’re meant to.
My gosh trust is hard for me. But I’m reminding myself of all of the times I surprised myself. I’m reading my past blog posts, and remembering how inspiration has struck me in the past. By doing this, I’m allowing myself to be inspired by the one person who matters most. Myself.
3. Comforting myself when the fear is overwhelming
When the fear is too scary, I take every avoidant action in the book. Even if it strays me away from my goals. Even if those action aren’t what I actually want to do. But, nonetheless, it’s what I do every time. That avoidance is a way to cope with how scary the fear of failure is. Instead, I want to cope in a healthier way, a way that actually serves me. So I’m comforting myself as I would comfort a child. I’m being gentle with myself. Being intentional in the way I talk to myself.
A lot of, “I know this is really scary, let me hold your hand and let’s do it anyway”.
This is hard because like any 5 year old, I want to throw a tantrum and lock myself in my room instead. But....I’m trying it anyway.
4. Intentionally trying new things
As much as I wish it was as easy as just telling myself that “it’s okay” to not be good at something, that’s proving to not be enough for me. I need to overcome the fear of starting things, and I need to reinvent what failure means to me. So, I’m making it a point to start trying new things just for the sake of trying them. First up, a blanket knitting class. And maybe finally signing up for the boxing class I’ve been avoiding for 3 years.
My goal is to take away the fear of starting something new and not being perfect at something.
When I think about my authentic self, I’m someone who lives fearlessly. Someone who takes chances. Someone who jumps off cliffs with full trust that I’ll figure out how to land.
I don’t want to admit that I’m far from that. A lot farther than I thought, she says, mumbling through her teeth.
But I won’t stop working to be that version of myself.
I would say I’ll keep ya posted on how it goes, but I guess you can assume on if I’ve posted anything after this or not 😉
BTW, perfectionism is something that I’ve struggled with a lot. If you can relate, check out this podcast episode where I go into other ways it has paralyzed me from taking action here.