SO AFRAID TO FAIL THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN START

I haven’t been blogging much recently. I’ve been trying to unpack the reasons for that because it is something that brings me great joy and I’d like to continue doing it. One of the perpetual themes in my life is a crippling fear of failure. This fear rears it’s ugly head in the most unwanted places and leaves me feeling like I can’t even start something because what if it sucks and everyone hates it, and everyone thinks I’m stupid, and I think I’m stupid, and why did I even think I could do this anyway?

The funny thing about this thought process is you usually have to suck before you can be good at something. You also do in fact have to do something in order to become good at it.

People often ask: “if you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” If I could do anything in the world, I would be a singer-songwriter. I’ve dreamt about it for decades (all 2.8 of them). Do you want to know what I do about that dream? Nothing. I don’t write songs, I don’t practice guitar or any instrument regularly, I don’t even sing all that often. I’m intensely afraid that if I wholeheartedly pursued this dream, I would be terrible at it. And what’s more heartbreaking than being terrible at something you love?

Could it be never having done it at all?

Yeah, I know.

Thoughts? Helpful tips? Sympathy? A good slap in the face? Anyone?

 

6 thoughts on “SO AFRAID TO FAIL THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN START”

  1. EMMA! You have no idea how much this resonates with me. Mark Manson, the writer of “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck” wrote that he once had a similar thought to you. He wanted to be a guitarist really bad, but never did anything about it. He said I wanted to be at the top of the mountain, but not climb it. And then he realized that he didn’t really want to be a guitarist because he didn’t want to do the work of it, so he found something he DID want to work on. Reading this passage from him helped me a lot when I was feeling stuck like this because I realized, my fear of failing at performing or acting was actually a smaller fear than the fear of feeling I may I missed out because I didn’t do the work. And work is exactly that, work. It’s progressive, and forward moving, even when it feels like it’s not.
    That’s my two sense. If it’s something you love, love the work of it too. Xx

  2. EMMA! I would have bought your album YESTERDAY!!!! The little taste you gave us of your singing really resonated within me. It is honest pure and refreshing. You truly have an ethereal unique quality. Please share your gifts with us!

  3. Hello Emma,
    honestly, I understand your thoughts.But if you never try it, it can be that you regret it someday.

  4. Yes yes yes. I think about this constantly. And lately I have been realizing that while there are also other reasons I am afraid to start, the fee of failure is a huge one, and I have been convincing myself that there are too many other big reasons why I don’t attempt to try anything. But yes, you have to start somewhere, and FAR more often than not, the beginning will feel like failure after failure. But the cool thing is that you don’t even have to look at it that way, since failure is more or less necessary at the beginning– without it, you might not get anywhere. I try to think of it as a learning curve or trial and error instead of failing. It feels more doable that way.

    Love you!!!

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