We all experience fear. We feel fear during life-threatening events such as narrowly avoiding a bad car crash, all the way to fears of performing in public or social situations.
After I purchased my dental practice in 2003, I quickly realised I had to address a fear I had developed. Fear of failure.
Initially I had this rumbling feeling of dis-ease. I wasn’t feeling completely relaxed at times when I should.
Upon asking myself ‘5 Whys?’ (a useful Japanese method to discover the root cause for any dilemma READ MORE), I discovered that my feelings of dis-ease were actually feelings of fear of how I would be perceived by friends and family if I FAILED in my goal of owning and managing my own successful dental surgery.
I reflected upon this fear over the coming days…
I came across the line that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real, and loved it. So what I was fearing was actually a fantasy that I had concocted. Not real at all.
Yet the dis-ease remained. So I pondered: what is the likely scenario if I did fail? I played it out in my mind…telling Mum and Dad, my sisters. Telling my friends, my colleagues in the industry “I did my best everyone, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I failed to make my big venture a success.” What would their reactions be?
Let’s face it. These people are a group who love me. Want me to be happy. Not one of them would berate me or criticise me. I felt confident that they would all say “Well, you tried your best so good on you for giving it a go! Proud of you!”
Still though, the dis-ease lingered. It was then that I realised that what I feared most was my own perception of me if I failed.
Only once I EMBRACED failure, should it happen, did my dis-ease disappear. I would embrace the lessons it would teach, and then I would move forward with the wisdom I would attain. It would be wholly acceptable. As long as I did indeed ‘try my best’ I felt confident I could live with the failure.
The problem for many of us is that we get stuck in the fear without actually thinking through it. Extrapolating the fearful thought out to all of its possible implications will always be the best way to put fear where it belongs: if it doesn’t kill you, you will grow stronger. This then frees us to embrace that which we fear, and live a big life anyway!