I had an awesome opportunity to encourage a friend through the fear of failure when I went to the dentist the other day. The encounter got me thinking about why I struggle with fear of failure, and I want to explore that a little more.
My hygienist, told me she was getting her real-estate license. She shared that she used to have the license, but let it lapse during the recession, and that she has to take the test again because she had let it lapse.
Then she told me she had not scheduled the test, because she was afraid. I asked her what she was afraid of, and, of course, fear of failing. I encouraged her to take the test asap, and that the only way to pass the test is to take the test, and that not taking it is guaranteed failure. As I asked more questions, I found out that she was worried because a friend had to take the test 7 times before she passed. I also found out that it was the same test that she had passed on the first try the first time she took took the test. She also shared that the instructor of the continuing ed classes she had to take recommended her to a top agency, and that he told her she will do very well in real-estate.
I shared a story where I was in a similar situation many years ago. I took a test that seemed easy at the time, I finished each section way before any others in the testing room. That evening, one of the others told me that this was his sixth time to take the test, and that he hoped he had passed it. Of course, the doubts were setting in, and I was starting to question my confidence in my answers. I found out the next morning that my score was in the top 2% for scores on that test, and was asked to take a harder test. The point being, don’t worry about others not doing well on the test, that does not mean you won’t do well. She assured me that she was going to study the rest of this week and schedule the test for Friday. I will be praying for her as promised, and I know she will do well.
She already knew what she needed to do. She just needed some encouragement and a kick in back side. The worst that could happen was that she would have to take the test again. Her friend had not really failed, because she got back up, dusted her self off, and went at it again until she won. We only fail when we let a set back or temporary defeat stop us from pursuing our dreams.
I have to remind myself of this all the time. I find myself in the same situation, not doing something because of fear. So, of course, I feel like a fraud when I give this advice. I’m not though. I think the fact that I have to fight through the fear is what qualifies me to give the advice. I know I’m not the only one that has to fight through fear. I like that helping others forces me to take my own advice. I began to wonder if the fear of failure is really the fear of success? The scarier thought could be ”Ok, I passed the exam, now I have to start something new.” Or, “If I land the big account, I won’t be able to take care of it.” Of course, this is just a lie that fear wants us to buy. I wrote about it in my last post on fear, and I have changed my mind on the thought that I was not fearing success. I now think it was that exact fear that was holding me back. I finally faced a fear and made some changes in my life that will take me further than I had ever anticipated. I will talk about that in my next post.
Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. Proverbs 12:25
The verse above leads us to be encouragers, to help others through the difficulties of life. And, like most acts of giving, I found that my reward was far greater than what I gave. I feel that I gained far more from that encounter than what I had contributed to it. It’s an addicting habit. The more I help others, the more I want to keep doing it.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how they were to success when they gave up.”
The above quote reminds me of the fact that defeats are not failures. We only fail when we give up on something we value.
How have you been encouraged by encouraging others?