What is one habit I can break in order to become a better version of myself?
One habit I can break in order to become a better version of myself is the fear of failing. At this stage in my life, you would think that I would be over the fear of failing but nope, far from it. It affects me in my home life, work life, and personal life. I try to mask it, but it keeps rearing its head. The fear of failing started when I was in 4th grade entering the spelling bee. I stayed up half the night before to make sure I was ready. I did not want to make a fool of myself, so studying was key. I had the list of words and just knew I could win. The first round went well.
I was so happy. I was unstoppable. Boy was I wrong. The second round was going just as planned, I was headed to the finals until…my next word. I remember standing there and tears just falling down my face. I lost! All the kids started laughing at me saying she can’t spell. She so dumb. How could she get that wrong? After that spelling bee, I never wanted to enter another one. I was always too scared to be embarrassed again. I loved school, but after that spelling bee I made it my mission to excel in school. I wanted to make sure that nobody could ever call me dumb again. A few years later I decided to enter the Green and White pageant at church. Like everyone I wanted to win which meant I had to work really hard. There were several components to winning the pageant. The top winner had to raise the most money in ads and ticket sales.
That part came easy for me. I was used to selling as I spent so many years selling Girl Scout cookies and being the top seller in my troop. The hard part was all the other tasks that came along with the pageant. We had to memorize a Psalm and recite it in front of the whole conference. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do so I picked the longest Psalm in the Bible. Man, that was the worst thing I could have done. I got up there and started the first verse and then my mind went blank. How could this be happening to me? I studied for weeks. I said it a thousand times that morning before the presentation. I had hand gestures and everything. I wanted to place first in that category. Well from the way I am writing I am sure you guessed it. I ran off the stage crying. I was so embarrassed. The judges asked if it would be easier to do it just for them, but I knew that was just for formality. I lost. I failed AGAIN. What was wrong with me?
That fear stayed with me for the rest of my life. I hate speaking in front of people. If I get called on for something I just say, I have nothing to contribute at this time. This is not a way to live.
The fear of failing has now made its way to work life. I am always second guessing everything I do. I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to FAIL! When I sent anything out, I don’t just read it
over once and send – I read it over two and three times, wait a moment read it again and then
send it out. Some might say that’s good because I am double checking my work, but I know the real reason I do it. That fear of making my supervisor mad or worse my supervisor thinking I am dumb or even regretting hiring me is something I constantly deal with. I have turned down jobs because I did not think I was good enough or I would not be able to excel. When I moved to Maryland I was working at a new job and thinking I was doing well. My trainer pulled me to the side one morning and said she had a meeting with the supervisor, and she was not happy with my performance.
I was devastated. How could I fail again?
The trainer told me all the things that were a concern for my supervisor, and I went to work to ensure I was performing at a level of excellence. I needed this job and that fear of losing it was enough to send me into a panic attack. After calming down, I had a meeting with the supervisor to get clarity on her expectations. It was not that I was failing, I was just not meeting her expectations that we had not discussed. I used that fear of failing to ensure that any job I had after that, I met with the supervisor to discuss their expectations so that we are both on the same page. I hate feeling like I have done something wrong. I feel like that little girl in 4 th grade losing the spelling bee and getting laughed at and talked about.
To become a better version of myself, I need to take that fear of failing out of my head and
understand that I am going to mess up but it’s all about how I learn from that mistake. I have
to stop beating myself up. I will never grow and become a better me if I don’t. So now I do my
best and if I make a mistake, I figure out what I did wrong and try to figure out how I cannot do
it again. If I don’t understand something I ask for help. I am still a work in progress though. I
still find myself quiet in public places especially if I feel like I am going to say the wrong thing
because that fear always seems to come out, but I am working on pushing her away to become a better me.