Where Are Your Goals? Losing Your Fear of Failure


Since the year began, I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on what I want to see manifest in 2018. I've been paying particular attention to the ways in which I want to see my creative vision and my brand grow. I've been rattling off ways to measure impact and effectiveness, and have been defining new standards of success. In doing so, I was faced with a reality that I hadn't been able to confront until now: DEAR QUEENS hasn't seen much growth in a while.

Truth is, I haven't seen exponential growth recently because I haven't been working toward anything. I've been keeping my head above water, but not swimming in any particular direction. I've been coasting; surviving. And simply surviving doesn't create lasting impact or generate success—it simply allows me to stay afloat. 

I spent most of Q1 reflecting on life, love, work, freedom, and healing. Much of this time was dedicated to the internal work, and in submitting myself to that process of addressing behaviors from the inside out, I wanted to identify why I've been so content with merely staying afloat. I wasn't setting clear, actional goals for myself, and I needed to know why. I pressed myself about it until I uncovered the truth: fear. 

I wasn't setting goals because I was frightened by the possibility of not achieving them. I was afraid of what I'd tell myself if I didn't reach the views I wanted or the impact I worked hard for. I was worried about having to deal with the next level naysayers, and the voices in my head wondering if I was actually good enough to change people's lives. I was holding myself back because I didn't want to be slapped in the face with the feeling of failure, rejection, or inferiority.

I realized through reflection and truth, that if I wanted to go to a new level, I had to be clear about what that new level looks like. I had to identify where I wanted to end up, and what steps needed to be taken to get there. Because I accomplished so much so early—much of it by happenstance—I didn't know where to start. I stumbled into a blog award in the first year of creation, I impulsively launched a podcast and successfully pitched a radio show to a gospel radio station, and event ideas fell into my lap through alignment with God. I hadn't written any of those plans down, rather I executed them before I could talk myself out of it. But with such an incredible streak of unordinary success, accomplishing new tasks, and honestly, adding more things to my workload, I became fearful of whether or not I could accomplish anything else. 

What else was left for me to do? The obvious answer was: a lot! But not having been in a position to have to carefully etch out my brand's future, I wasn't sure where to start. I wasn't sure if I was capable of "the grind" that people romanticize. I need my sleep, and I wasn't willing to risk it!

I was worried that capturing my goals would make me responsible for them. That, at some point, I'd have to hold myself accountable for the things I'd write down. And that's when my fear set in. 

The goals themselves weren't what made me hesitant to commit myself to them, it was the reality of actually having to grind for them. Being strategic about how many conferences and workshops I'd have to host, how many vending opportunities I'd have to pay for, and how many e-mails I'd have to send—it was all increasing my anxiety. Up until this point, I've only had to write, speak, and digitally engage. People sought after me; but I knew, that this brand could not sustain itself for much longer operating in that way. 

While, writing, promoting, podcasting, and consistently creating content is legwork enough, there was an entire grind that I wasn't tapping into. Getting my name, face, and brand in the minds of people I don't know wouldn't come naturally; it would take actual effort. I'd have to catch the attention of people who don't follow me or aren't familiar with my work. I'd have to attend events and put myself out there to establish myself as a thought leader in this space. I wasn't doing any of that, but I knew I needed to. And I needed to be very strategic about what I was working toward while doing so. 

Writing my goals down would remind me of all that work, and I wasn't sure I was ready for that. That commitment was frightening me. If things didn't work out like I'd imagine, I'd feel so defeated. 

How would I greet myself each day knowing the stress my to-do list would bring? How would I look myself in the mirror, knowing I crossed nothing off my list of goals? How would I face myself knowing I failed at the very thing I was so passionate about, solely because I wasn't passionate about the means of attaining the greatness I desired? And with all of those pressing questions, I was also faced with wondering how I'd feel if I let this fear and anxiety keep me from the destiny awaiting me. How would I feel about watching my dreams drift away because I was too fearful to write them down? Because I was too afraid of failure to even try?

I can't speak for everyone, but maybe that's where your hesitation comes in too. Maybe, like me, you're not only frightened by your grand goals but also frightened by the amount of work they'd require. Perhaps you're selling yourself short because you don't have the capacity to execute anything additional. Perhaps you, too, are fearful of what your goals will demand of you. Perhaps you, like me, have chosen to sustain what you've built, rather than soar into new successes, because you're unsure of what the next level will bring. 

Perhaps, this is the moment you change all that. 

Change requires reflection. It requires action after reflection. It requires solution-based action. And the only solution to beat fear is to do exactly what it is you're afraid of. To step up and think big, anyway. To write down those goals, anyway. To create your strategy and tactics, anyway. To host those conferences and plan those workshops, anyway. To sell shirts and books and journals from the trunk of your car, anyway. To send countless e-mails and draft hundreds of pitches, anyway. To apply for opportunities and pursue mentorship, anyway. To write, anyway. To create, anyway. To try anyway. To put one foot in front of the other, anyway. To fall down, anyway. To get back up and fall down again, anyway.

Because the only way you'll ever learn the right things to do, the right goals to set, and the right way to manifest your dreams, is to do it all, anyway. The only way you'll drop your fear is to do everything that scares you, anyway. It's more than just positive self-talk and obedience to God, it's doing the stuff. The stuff you're most fearful of. The stuff you've avoided for this long. The stuff you never wanted to confront. 

Failure is inevitable. 
Success doesn't happen on the first try. 
People learn more from doing things wrong than they do from doing things right. 

Drop your fear, and fail. Give yourself room for error, and learn to identify the lesson in every bit of it. Teach yourself to find the beauty in every missed step, and take the time to regroup when you must. But do it. All of it. Every bit of it. Because regardless of how many times you fall, or how many times you fail, you will reach success, anyway—but you must first drop your fear.

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