I've been trying not to panic, to not look down, to not allow myself to consider how vulnerable I am to failure. What I'm attempting to achieve may not work and I've been afraid to think about it.

I put on a happy face, but deep down inside a little voice stalks me, whispering, “You're not going to make it.” I try to quiet it to no avail. I have to admit, I'm terrified of failing.

I'm ashamed to admit that although I feel the warm breath of failure breathing down my neck I often don't do the things necessary to prevent failure. Sometimes, I freeze. Oh, I hide it well, even from myself, but the reality is I don't always behave in my best interest.

It's not difficult to feel like a failure. It comes naturally. I compare myself to accomplished people, make an upward comparison, and feel terrible about myself. Observe thirty-year-olds worth millions, doing all the things I dream about doing, and I come away drowning in envy. Sometimes I just want to give up.

I have no desire to kill myself, but I do long to stop propping myself up. I want to quit running from how I feel and what I really think. A Herculean effort is required to distract me from my fears. Keeping doubt at bay saps my strength. My own dark thoughts and feelings frighten me, so I eat, I sleep, I work out, I meditate, attend meetings, avoid being an ass-hole, motivate others, pretend I'm fearless, wake up, and do it again.

Sometimes it feels hollow. It's insufficient because it's all done in the service of avoidance. I do it to avoid experiencing the pain and misery of being me. Freedom can only be achieved through complete and total surrender and acceptance of who I am and of all of my thoughts and feelings.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that the aforementioned coping skills don't work, they prevent me from cowering to my fears and they also have bought me time to get to this place where I can lay pen to paper and actually describe what it's really like to be me. Coping skills help me face reality. The unvarnished truth about how I feel and that which I am both afraid and ashamed of.

We all have doubt, especially if you are taking risks, trying to create, and change. Understanding self-doubt is important. It has meaning, and It is worth exploring. It is a natural part of not only the change process but also of being human. Left unaddressed self-doubt can make you feel bad and rob you of your creative energy. By exploring self-doubt you can, reduce internal stress, and remain on the path to your goals.In that way, it can be productive.

If self-doubt is holding you back get some help.


Why Be Afraid of Something You Want?

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world.
— Albert Camus

Why not be afraid of something you want? What’s wrong with setting goals that will challenge you and change your life? Aim higher, do better. I don’t know if we are afraid of what we want as much as we may fear what the process entails: change. The unfamiliar comes with some fear, some doubt, and some anxiety because it should. No one knows what to expect from the unknown.

According to Greek mythology, to create and commit to realizing a goal offended the Gods who, in turn, worked to thwart human striving so man would not encroach on territory reserved for them. When you set out to accomplish something you will be confronted with various difficulties. Problems will arise on the path that you must overcome.

We are all built like thermostats that regulate the temperature in a room. When cold air drops below the thermostat’s set-point, the heat fires. When heat exceeds the thermostat’s set-point, the air conditioner activates. We all have our own self-esteem set-point. When we experience too much success, we can quickly behave in ways that return us to our emotional set-point or where we feel most comfortable. Conversely, when we find ourselves uncomfortable and our boat sinking, we quickly begin to take actions necessary to restore us to our comfort zone or bail water.

We can’t outperform our sense of self. We will find a way to make our world match our  beliefs about who we are. When we attempt to change we can become fearful. Even if we act fearless by hiding our anxiety, it’s there and it reverberates in our spirits. It takes work to re-set ourselves so that we can tolerate increased success and accomplish our goals.

Courage appears to be the antidote to this human dilemma. Courage allows one to be afraid but  continue moving in the desired direction. Courage enables one to recognize and accept fear as a part of the human condition and be with it rather than escape it an abandon their goal.  From this perspective, fear does not have to prevent you from reaching your goals. On the contrary, fear is essential to helping you reach your goal. Without it you may not have a goal worth pursuing and you will never activate the courage necessary to proceed.