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Break Free From the Fear of Public Failure and Own Your Year

January 4, 2024 8:00 am

As the new year unfolds, many of us find ourselves setting goals and resolutions, fueled by the desire to become better versions of ourselves. While we are often told that there’s nothing magical about January 1st and that we are more than capable of taking action any time of the year, I do think there’s something quite magical about the new year that we simply can’t replicate at other times.

January marks the beginning of something new—new actions, new habits, new dreams. It serves as a unique opportunity for introspection, allowing us to think through what truly matters and serving as a compass that guides the trajectory of the year ahead. It’s true we can do this at any given moment of the year. However, the symbolic significance of January as a month for resolutions creates a distinct atmosphere that makes it more likely for all of us to not only set intentions but also to follow through, especially when surrounded by people who are also enthusiastic about making changes in the new year. After all, we thrive in community.

I love goal-setting. As a high achiever and entrepreneur with multiple businesses, I dream BIG. Bigger revenue, bigger audience, bigger projects. I’m the kind of person who starts WORKING (unapologetically) towards my goals on Boxing Day. I won’t wait until January 2nd. Call me a workaholic if you want, but this process has been wired into me since 2018—the year I started my business.

However, this year feels a little different. I feel compelled to change the way I approach setting goals, and more importantly, my approach to doing anything. I first read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear in 2021 and always loved the concept, yet I have not implemented it. For the longest time, I told myself and others that I was more of a “go with the flow” or “I want to be free to do what I want” kind of person. Simply put, I didn’t see myself as someone who could build habits that stick for a lifetime. But then something hit me…perhaps the reason I couldn’t build good habits was not because of my personality or discipline level; it was my fear of failure. That was like a punch in the gut when I recognized this pattern in my life. I would so easily use personality as an excuse to not do something without even trying at all.

Yoda from Star Wars might tell us, “do or do not, there’s no try.” While I love the go-getter mentality, the danger lies in becoming overly attached to the end result. And when we “fail” to follow through on our goals, we often internalize a sense of inadequacy, feeling as though something is inherently wrong with us. This attachment can become a slippery slope, leading to negative emotions and limiting beliefs that make us feel like sh!t!.

My two cents on finding the balance between doing and trying? 

It’s about being seen trying. This way, we take action while gaining accountability from the world, even if it’s not perfect.

We’re often advised that we get better at something by doing, and, of course, it’s true. Practice makes perfect progress. But sharing our work or embracing progress as it is now, being okay to stay in the tension between our effort and enoughness, is the only way to build the grit to keep producing excellent work and the resilience we need to be seen in the world.

We’re led to believe that we have to be “perfect” at something before we make it public, to do the learning in private, in order to avoid looking foolish or potentially failing in front of an audience. As a result, we remain stagnant. We avoid hard things that are meant to mold our characters. What if we could be proud of who we are becoming and what we are building simply by stopping being afraid—not just afraid to be seen but to be seen trying? Trying to serve. Trying to write. Trying to share. Trying at all. How freeing would it be if we approached 2024 this way?

To end this blog post, here’s my “trying” list:

  • Trying to serve my clients to the best of my ability while knowing that I can’t please everybody. 
  • Trying to write consistently and hitting the publish button, fully aware that typos are inevitable. 
  • Trying to juggle multiple businesses while knowing I will likely experience challenges that prevent me from growing at the rate that I wanted.
  • Trying to prioritize relationship building: my marriage, relationships with family, and making friends.
  • Trying to get ready every single day while knowing that some days staying in my PJs are exactly what my body and soul need.
  • Trying to write at least 500 words every single day, even if what I write is scrappy.

If you’re still reading this, there is a good chance that at least a small part of you is interested in breaking free from your fear of failure. I’m in it with you, friend! I would love to hear what’s on your list and what progress you’re committed to embracing and making this year.


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