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The Hizzle of T-Fizzle » Blog Archive » You Can Do Eeeeet!

You Can Do Eeeeet!   

In my last post, I described recent climbing trip, in so many words, as a life-changing experience.  Perhaps every excursion is a journey of self-realization (having only been on two trips 10 years apart, I don’t really know), but this one certainly was for me.  You see, I got up on that rock face.  I made the obvious moves of varying difficulty.  Then I got to a crux.  A place where the next move is very hard, not obvious, potentially out my reach.  I’d make a few tentative touches, maybe even gingerly try a move without really committing to it.  I’d announce that I was coming down, the people on the ground would groan in disapproval, then I’d give it a shot.

There’s something to this, something more than just being fatigued or my fear of heights.  Both play a factor, but at the end of the day I am no stranger to dangling from a rope and I know the safety equipment will catch me.  Why not just jump for it and see what happens?  Nothing really happens if you fail.

Yet I could not really bring myself to try these tough moves, at least not without someone encouraging me to do so.  Maybe there’s a psychological word for this, but I’m just going to come right out and call it like I see it, and I’m calling it “fear of failure.”  I wasn’t scared of falling, or scraping my legs on the rock face - I had already done that plenty of times.  I was just plain scared of not being able to do it.

I don’t know why I would have this fear.  My parents always encouraged me to try pretty much anything I wanted.  It didn’t matter if I was good at it as long as I tried my hardest and honored my commitments.  It’s not like I ever got any sort of consternation or punishment from my parents if I didn’t do well at something.  The only think I can think is that I didn’t fail enough?  Generally I either was successful in an endeavor, or at least not unsuccessful (say, getting a supporting role in a show when I wanted a leading role - I still got a part) so maybe, not having much experience with actual failure I’m afraid to have to face it?  I’m really not sure.  It really doesn’t matter.

I started noticing the fear of failure motif in other areas of my life.  Putting off tough projects around the house.  Not going to auditions.  Not going to events in the city.  Maybe not EVERYTHING I chicken out on is due to fear of failure, but I am starting to think that a lot of it is…and even if it’s not the solution is the same.  If I can recognize that something I think I don’t want to do (climbing 200′ multipitch, for example) is because I’m scared of not being able to do it and talk myself into doing it (or get someone else to encourage me), it doesn’t actually matter if it really is because I’m scared of not being able to do it.  I need to recognize the signs, motivate myself or when necessary get someone to motivate me.

And that’s what I’m doing.  About 2 weeks before Footloose opened and I was sketchy on some of the dances, unsure about having all of my costumes, and even unclear on some of the music, I found myself dreading rehearsals.  I couldn’t quit (cf. statement above about honoring your commitments…one thing I could never do with impunity was quit a show in rehearsals or a sports team in mid-season), so I was toughing it out, but why was I feeling like this?  That’s fear of failure.  So I got myself in gear, reviewed the music, worked with Gavin to get the dance shored up, talked to Sean and Ashley about the costumes to make sure everything was ok…problem solved.  Tech week was strenuous but I didn’t dread it.

I’ll have more on fighting fear of failure in my next entry…I’m trying to stop having my posts be so darn long! 

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