31 Mar Overcome Fear of Failure – The Bear under the Stairs…
I’ll admit it, I’m feeling rather scared right now. It’s a sickening combination of both knowing too much, and not knowing enough. A hundred ‘what if’s’ running round and round my head.
You see, exactly 360 days ago I broke my leg skiing, badly enough to be helicoptered off the mountain to hospital, put in traction overnight, then operated on to insert a plate, 8 pins and a screw. It hurt – lots. And the impact on my life, and that of my family of my not being able to walk, drive or do a whole load of basics for weeks and weeks was massive.
In less than a week we’re going skiing again. Now I’m really not intending to do very much, but I strongly feel I want to ‘get back on that horse’, as they say. I’ve skied for around 18 years and always loved it. I’m no expert, but I’ve been a confident, competent intermediate, skiing safely and in control.
Then….out of nowhere..an absolute nothing of a fall. Nothing and no-one else to blame. No spectacular wipeout, just a leg broken in three places!
My head tells me it was just one of those things and I was as likely to do it slipping on the mud whilst out walking, or stumbling on a step or kerb.
I also know that loads of unexpected good stuff and great personal learning came out of my unfortunate accident (I’ll maybe share my journal of that period of time on here sometime soon). But my body is still throwing up FEAR at the idea of getting back on skis.
So this is a great opportunity for me to test some of the strong beliefs I developed in the time I’ve been helping others through coaching – to ‘walk the talk’ (well, ski it anyway!).
Here are a few:
- A certain past does NOT mean a certain future. Just because I broke my leg last year absolutely does not mean I will do it again this year! Yes, it happened, and feasibly it could happen again. It’s possible, but not probable; in truth the actual risk is much lower than my fear of the risk right now.
- The sooner I face my fears, the easier it will be. I know if I leave it another whole year, I’ll feel even worse because the longer I leave a fear un-addressed the bigger and scarier it becomes. My fear is just a response to an IMAGINED future scenario. Facing the fear brings more certainty, other more positive possibilities and a balanced reality. This is where the Bear under the Stairs comes in – if you’ve read my previous post on the wisdom contained in children’s literature you’ll know I use Helen Coopers beautiful book as a great story about how many of our fears are born out of our own imagination and confronting them head on (with the help and support others if necessary) is the best way to overcome them.
- We can’t always control what happens to us, but we CAN control how we respond to any given situation. This is probably THE most important thing I’ve come to learn, and no doubt will come back to this theme again, but for now suffice it to say that I believe we always have a choice in how we want to be – it may not always be easy, but we do have a choice! And I choose to not lose out on joy and living life in the moment through imagined fear of possible but not probable futures.
- That said, we feel emotion for good reason. It’s just sometimes how it shows up may not be helpful! So I won’t deny or ignore my fear – it’s there to keep me safe. I’m not going to start taking stupid risks. However I can look for the balanced truth beneath the fear and make my choices accordingly.
And finally, my resolve is now even stronger because I’ve put my decision out there! Now there’s public accountability too. So look out for future updates to find out how I do in facing my fear 🙂