There is this famous quote by Albert Einstein that I have referred to though the years, ‘If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new’. Trying something new sometimes means coming out of our comfort zone and facing our fears.
Have you ever found yourself being so afraid of doing something because you are too afraid of failing ? That you end up deciding not to try it at all ? Ever since childhood we have all dealt with the famous Fear Of Failing, or those tumbles and falls in our early adulthood and the truth is no one likes to fail, especially if you feel like you worked/studied hard to achieve your goal, and its even harder not to take it personally, and let it keep you from trying again.
I spent all the month of February asking myself ”What If I Failed ?” my upcoming SSCP exam that i had already rescheduled at least 4 times why ? Because I was too afraid to fail, I saw what this certification meant for my career and how much I wanted to pass it that deep down I already saw my self failing before even taking the exam. Most people don’t know this about me, but after I dropped out of school at 15, and ending up being homeless for a year and I got placed into a foster home, and I was told that I had to go back to school because I was still a minor, I ended up applying to five different schools and I failed each and every entry exam, or I simply got rejected for not having the right academic background and to be honest each rejection letter I received tore a piece of my confidence towards my intellectual capabilities and every single time the same thought kept coming back I failed again, what‘s wrong with me ? Was I not good enough ?
And all this year’s later I have to admit that this exam was in a way for me to prove to myself that I was capable of doing it.
So I faced my fears and sat down for my Systems Security Certified Practitioner and within the first 5 minutes of answering the questions, I already started doubting myself, knowing there was no way I was going to pass because I felt like the question came from a completely different set of material none that resembled the thousand of practice tests I had spent months training on. I started to feel myself panicking and ready to give up at some point i started imagining hearing the exam monitor letting me know that I failed, to be honest hitting that “End Exam” button was as completely nerve-wracking that I almost hugged the monitor I personally don’t think there has been anything in my career has been more satisfying than that very moment.
Now I’m not a fear of failure expert – as I said above I postponed my exam 4 times and looking back I think I’ve postponed a lot of things in my life that I should have done back then! – but slowly through the years I have also learned how to stop myself from letting my fears stop me from doing things that could help me reach my goals, and It took a lot of work to finally start seeing the different closed doors I’ve run into through my life weren’t actually failures but part of my journey and the good news is, with constant effort, you can learn how to overcome your fears too.
- Started by acknowledging and embracing my fears first – Yes, yes, you read that right. It is important to first acknowledge your fear. You can’t move forward if you are in a state of denial about your fears.
- I love to use The Power Of Visualization and Positivity – Positive thinking and visualizing the possible outcome of what you are trying to accomplish is an incredibly powerful way to build your self-confidence and stop yourself from sabotaging ourselves, because sometimes we are our worst enemies,
- Don’t be afraid of talking about your fears you are not alone – We often suffer in silence thinking we are alone, or we aren’t supposed to talk about our fears and failure, when in reality, there are so many people out there who went through similar things and some have managed to overcome them or learned how to live with them and I personally believe that, in a world where everyone just talks of their success it takes more courage to share your fears and failures.
- Be Kind to yourself – In the past every time I failed an entry exam or things didn’t go as I planned, I would brutally beat myself up mentally up for my lack of success, I felt shame or resentment. When in reality my failure wasn’t something personal and if you think back I bet like me, you have overcome some tougher things before so don’t beat yourself for something that sometimes is completely out of your control.
- There is nothing wrong with having a plan B or planning or the worst case scenario – in place can maybe help you feel more confident about moving forward.
Today, looking back at the different things I considered a failure, and I came to realize that each one of those failures were a learning experience in itself, a part of my journey forward to today. And you can’t completely eliminate fear, It’s a part of our lives, Till this day I still fail at things sometimes, but after taking and facing my first exam fears I am willing to go for it no matter what the results will be, and I won’t let any future failures hold me because after all failures are the stairs we climb to reach our success.
Have you ever made a conscious effort to overcome your fears? Has mindfulness ever helped you? Let me know in the comments below. I hope this article was helpful in fighting your fears and I hope you come out stronger.
Have a great new month of March