I was watching a TED Talk while walking on the treadmill at 5 a.m. the other day. I was half asleep so I don’t remember the name of the speaker but I remember that it was about overcoming the fear of failure.
The speaker proposed that you asked yourself three questions. The first question is, “What if I fail?” What’s the worst that could happen if you do what you are terrified of doing and then fail? List all the possible outcomes. Are they still frightening you?
Then ask yourself, “What if I do nothing?” What if what you want most is being your own boss but you are too afraid of trying, how are you going to feel in 10 years about doing nothing? If you happen to still be around.
The last question is, “What if I succeed?” How is your life going to be different if you are successful in doing what you set out to do? That can be scary. As Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
You might be wondering how could anyone be afraid of success? Perhaps is not success that you are afraid of but of change. Change can be scary. That’s why many times you tend to recreate the life you had growing up not because it was healthy but because it’s familiar.
But you are still afraid of failing after pondering these three questions. Maybe redefining success as not drinking or using today could help you as it has helped me. Perhaps the question is not if you are going to fall because you are but are you going to get up again?
One of the many benefits of being in recovery is that you don’t have to face life alone. You can go to a meeting and ask for help. You can call your sponsor or a fellow addict/alcoholic. You can pray.
Or you can do nothing, that’s okay too. Some only change at the rate of pain they experience. They cannot change or risk failure until the pain of inaction surpasses the pain of change or the fear of failure.
What if you fail? What if you do nothing? What if you succeed? Only you know the answer.