I’m starting a new chapter of my life, so naturally, I’m getting reflective. And panicking a little. Basically, I’m scared of failure. I’m so scared of failure. And I’m trying really hard to shake that off before the semester starts. (Yes, my first day of class is today, I’m a little behind schedule).
I’ve failed at things before. I was the worst on my college sailing team (although I tried!) ‘Introduction to Microeconomics’ was a nightmare. There’s plenty more: many jobs I didn’t get, quizzes I failed, relationships I messed up, etc.
Because I’m starting something new, I have to constantly remind myself not to hold back. There’s a little voice inside of me that always wants me to not try my hardest, just so I can maintain the fiction that I really would have done better, if only I had tried my hardest.
Lindsay, from That Je Ne Sais Quoi, wrote a beautiful post about her fear of ‘peaking,’ the fear of her best years being behind her. I related so much to that post. Every time I write a blog post that I’m proud of, I have a little voice at the back of my mind that says, “You probably won’t do/write/create something as good as this again.”
But the thing I’ve realized is that when I say I have ‘fear of failure,’ I’m lying to myself. What I’m really afraid of is mediocrity, of doing a good enough job to get by, but never enough to be as awesome and special as the designers I look up to.
Creative professions have no place for the mediocre. Either you break through the noise, or you don’t– and sometimes even when you do, it’s just a flash in the pan. I’ve done all the ‘right’ things for a long time. I got good grades, I went to the ‘right’ school, I got a job. I’m just hoping my choices now are on the path to something greater– not a detour, a distraction or a step backwards.