Monday, February 16, 2009

fear of failure

I grew up in a home where I was told that I could be anything I wanted to be. A teacher? Sure, go for it, you'd be great! A doctor? Of course, you love science you'll have no problem! A meteorologist? Find a school, apply, and we'll see you on the 6 o'clock news! A marine biologist? Well you'll have to live far away, but we'll come visit all the time! It is fabulous to be supported and encouraged in whatever you want to be. It's a great feeling to know the people you love believe in you. It was all so easy for me to believe too because as far as school goes, I had it easy.

I had good grades in high school. However I hardly ever cracked a book or spent more than 10 minutes on my homework. Thankfully academics came incredibly easy for me.

Having it so easy was a disservice to me in the long run. My parents (and I do too now that I've grown up) valued education and since I didn't have to work for it but was still so successful I expected everything I wanted in life to be that easy. IT'S NOT! But my parents kept me sheltered well into high school so I was kind of slow to figure it out.
My first real taste of lasting disappointment came when I was a sophomore and I wanted to be on the volleyball team - it was the place to be. I went to the tryouts with 4 of my best friends. We were excited about traveling to all the away games together and making friends with the cool (and intimidating!) upperclassman. 3 of them made it and 2 of us did not. Instead of playing volleyball, A and I became statisticians. We still traveled with the team, but instead of making friends with the upperclassman we carried their water bottles and gym bags. If possible we got lower on the totem pole. The next season A and I tried out again. This time she made the team, but I still didn't. I wasn't about to put myself through another season of being embarrassed on a daily basis. I walked away from volleyball and never went back (even though I still love to bump the ball around in the back yard).

Life wasn't so easy after that.

One of the colleges I applied to (that I really wanted to go to since my best friend was) rejected me because I wasn't well-rounded enough. Dang volleyball!
Prom was a total disaster.
My first college roommate was a loon, not the new best friend I would be thankful for years later.
I didn't get into grad school.
I tried diet after diet but never lost weight.
You get the picture.

Disappointment and failure started to really scare me. I found an escape though. As long as I didn't give 100% of myself (or even 80% for that matter) to my goals I had an excuse for failure. I could always blame the failure on not doing my best. I could always rationalize the failure by knowing that if I had given it my all I would have done better. That does take the sting off. It also made me lazy. I've been lazy in everything from friendships, housekeeping, and my job to accomplishing goals like getting healthy.

The time has come to stop being lazy! First up, I'm putting myself first. It's time to get healthy and I'm not going to put up with excuses from myself this time. To keep myself honest I've posted my "before" picture in this post. This is me, as I am today. Later this week I'm getting a hair cut. I'll post "after" pictures. Not as obvious, but even more importantly, I'm making myself healthier. You'll have to wait longer for those "after" pictures, but this time, this time they are coming!

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