Fear of Failure

A little over ten years ago, when my granddaughter was learning to stand, I remember watching her try to stand & land on her little behind again & again and still stand up & try. She did not know that she was supposed to feel ashamed or not enough for not succeeding. The knowledge that she was supposed to keep trying until she succeeded was instinctive.  I  remember wondering when we lost that. When do we begin to feel ashamed about failure?

I remember an incident over about 60 years ago. My mom had taken me to an all-girls convent for an admissions test. I do not remember being prepared for it. I do not think I had a clue as to what was going on. I remember sitting in a little dark room & a beam of sunlight on the desk. I remember being alone & feeling unsafe I. I was all of 5 years old. The nun put a piece of paper in front of me – it was paper with squares in them. There were some numbers, and I remember some dots next to the numbers. The nun expected me to know what to do. I had no clue. I sat there, scared & confused, scribbling something on the paper.
She came in a little bit later & said that I should add the numbers by counting on my fingers.
That confused me even more because we did not count on our fingers in our house – we were taught to do everything in our heads. The nun soon realized that I would not be able to do the sum. She led me out and told my Mom I had failed the admissions test. I could sense my Mom’s disappointment, shame & guilt. She did not say anything to me. She did not yell or say that she was ashamed. I sensed it, though. I had let her down. I remember her telling my aunt that she had had more time to teach my older brothers but not me. In any case… I had not made the mark. I felt it & cringed a little bit more every time the admissions test results were shared with uncles, cousins, etc., who all lived with us.

Sixty years later – we have moved across three continents and lived in 35 different homes; I have raised two amazing kids; I have three Master’s degrees & a Doctoral degree in Applied Statistics & innumerable certifications, but – even now, when a person suggests that I do not know something, that scared little, girl is who shows up first.

Do you know which version of you is acting up when you try & stand up in front of a crowd and try to talk about your service /product? If you hate doing this even though you know you can help a lot of people with your service, chances are that there is a version of you, perhaps deep in your subconscious, who relives the lack of safety, who remembers not being enough and shows up in that networking event instead of you. It is possible to unearth this story & rewrite it.

I have for myself & my clients.  Click here to set up a call to talk about your fear of sales.


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Fear of Failure

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