Fear of Failure & Predictors of Success

I tuned in to Joe Rogan's podcast with Jordan Petersen on my short run and just had to share a stream of thoughts. Honestly I had never heard of Jordan, but his perspective on several topics is really interesting. Simply put, he intrigues me. There's one line that stuck out more than any other: "The best predictors for success in Western hierarchies are intelligence and consciousness." I seriously hit the rewind button a dozen times. I was drawn to such a simple statement and couldn't help but let it simmer on my mind for hours later. I researched Jordan further when I returned home from my run, which brought me to the videos below, where he continues to share some incredibly honest, inspiring words.

"#1: Specify your damn goals. Cause how are you going to hit something if you don't know what it is? That isn't going to happen. And often people won't specify their goals too because they don't like to specify conditions for failure. So if you keep yourself all vague and foggy, which is real easy because that's just a matter of not doing (as well), then you don't know when you fail..."

This hit me like a ton of bricks; I admit that I'm guilty of this. Fear of failure is so prevalent in my life; furthermore, fear of even talking about fear. I've always been told that our mind is a magnet and you will attract what you allow to be present there, so rather than deal with these thoughts that surface, I often deflect and distract. We all know that this creates a viscous cycle and the thoughts will continue to surface until we work through them. We aren't designed to skip over the uncomfortable parts to get through our inner demons.  I guess that's my reason for this blog? I felt called to admit that fear is alive in my life, and I'd guess in the majority of others as well, even for those individuals that appear to have it all together. Rather than continuing to run from it, I'd like to deal with it and hold myself accountable - to "specify my damn goals" to my audience and work toward something bigger. In a sense, this is another piece of my journey to make a difference in the world and be the change I wish to see. It's a step in the right direction to feed my intelligence and increase my consciousness.

After some much needed self-evaluation and the desire to apply these words to my personal life, my initial stream of thoughts went something like this:

  • What does success mean to me?
  • How can I find (or continue to find) success in multiple ares of my life: my career, marriage, health, friends, family, faith, etc?
  • What are some specific goals in those areas?
  • How can I feed my intelligence and consciousness in order to reach success?

I feel that fear is reduced when you can answer these questions honestly, then act upon them. I certainly don't have all the answers in one day of evaluation, but I have some clarity and peace of mind knowing that what I desire is attainable when I apply myself. You're probably thinking, "Duh, Jess. Everybody knows this," but knowing and applying have completely different meanings. What value does something hold if you know and believe in it, but don't apply it to your own life? Shifting my focus to the areas that are desperate for growth has allowed some realistic, not-so-intimidating goals to surface - goals that will help to reduce doubt and fear in my life. I've listed a few (very personal) ones below:

  • Be more active in areas that suit my current physical condition. What is my current situation? Knee troubles that require a lot of PT and tuning into my body to prevent further injury. Seems easy, but not when my mental strength has typically outweighed my physical strength in the past. I'm having to rebuild what was once easy to me: running, bootcamp, weights, etc. After accepting that I had an injury, I've expanded into activities that are easier on my joints: rowing, swimming, stepping rather than jumping, etc.
  • Be easier on myself as we transition from living with family to having our own space. My pride has definitely been an issue, feeling like "we're almost 30 and living at home" makes me feel like a loser, regardless of the fact that we have a plan that we're working toward daily. It's self sabotaging and just silly. The truth is that we took a leap of faith which resulted in a very unpleasant experience in which we had zero control over. I should be celebrating the unconditional love that we have surrounding us instead of dwelling on a temporary situation.
  • Allow myself to feed my creativity through the process of building a home. When you ask anyone that's done it, they all say the same thing: Building is hard. Making decisions as a team is hard. Rolling with the hangups of construction is hard. Not getting stuck in "this is permanent" is hard. However, I believe I can make it enjoyable by applying what I've been blessed with - a creative mind.
  • Absorb information outside of my comfort zone. Knowledge is power. I've been tuning into podcasts that discuss a diverse set of topics, instead of getting stuck in my routine interests. It allows me to expand my thoughts and exercise my brain - something I feel has been missing recently. I want to challenge my thoughts and perspectives to continue opening my mind. Listening, REALLY listening to others is a great way to start.
  • Pray more. Simply put: I pray, but I haven't been praying enough. Being a control freak makes it difficult to "give it to God" when it's really quite simple. Recently beginning a Christian-based novel, "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers has impacted me beyond measure as well. It covers forgiveness, fear and doubt, temptation, and all the other uncomfortable things we feel as humans.
  • Have a more powerful, positive inner voice. What a strange thing to list, right? A friend of mine recently asked me "what does your inner voice say?" and I struggled to admit that it can be ugly sometimes. If I shoot bad, sometimes I think, "Ugh, you really suck Jess" or if I get denied a sponsorship I've thought "maybe you're not worth that," instead of considering THEIR financial position. It's embarrassing to type this honestly, but it's real. Our inner voice needs to be gentle and encouraging, especially when we can't control the voices of others that can be malicious and hateful.
  • Ask for help. I tend to want to do it all myself, to prove I don't need anybody and I'm a strong independent woman. It's comical. I need help in too many areas to count, which is why I've began reaching out to others that are far more knowledgeable in specific areas. It takes an army, y'all, and I love my army.

If I sat here long enough I could come up with a dozen more bullet points, but I'll start here. I tend to write about personal things and they never go beyond that - personal, private writings and self evaluations. However, life can get tough and being able to document the journey for others to learn with me is really gratifying. Helping others, even if it's just to say "you're not alone in this" makes me feel really good inside - partly from getting it off my chest and partly because it always connects me with wonderful people. I hope that my readers feel inspired enough to evaluate, but more importantly to DO something about their fears. Cheers!