Try something new. Try something different. Don’t give in to the fear.

A while ago this was a bit of a mantra. I was pushing myself, not dramatically but enough to broaden my horizons and my view of the world (or the world as I see it).

But recently, not so much. Case in point, for Christmas, Kirsty bought me a guitar lesson and I’ve yet to cash it in. Why? Mostly fear.

I need to find a better way to get healthy. Whether it’s join a gym and get an exercise program in place, or find something that’ll help me control my eating habits. I’ve not done anything about either of those. Why not? Fear.

But fear of what?

I think it’s fear of failure. Whilst I am very goal driven (there is a reason my new tattoo is a Daruma) I tend to avoid things that I might fail at. Kirsty and I have talked about this quite a bit (we talk a lot about a lot of things, it’s what makes us work so well) and I didn’t realise that my avoidance of situations and scenarios where I could ‘fail’ is much deeper seated than I realised.

There are, always, reasons which can be applied to why things haven’t gone they way I might’ve hoped. Spraining my ankle last week, the start of my tattoo (two more sessions to go) impacting my sleep, and so on. But I’ve never been any good at accepting that kind of thing as an ‘excuse’. Hell, a couple of years ago, whilst I had a bad bout of food poisoning I still managed to build two bookcases. Where there’s a will, or more specifically, a reward that is important to me, there is a way.

So it’s time to give myself a kick. Time to get moving. Time to get back on track and get back to being productive. Time to find ways to motivate myself.

And therein lies the problem. The “Just Do It” approach holds little sway with me. It’ll get me through the first week or two but after that I start to find excuses, start to reason with myself, start to make those oh-so-familiar promises. You know the ones “I’ll start again on Monday” or “well I didn’t do X so Y is ok”.

And this is always the problem. Without the correct motivation, I fail. So, if I can’t see what my motivation is, then I don’t even try.

A few years ago, it only took one, negative, comment to get me going along to jogScotland and, ultimately, running a 10K. I did it for many reasons but the primary one was to show that I could do it. To show the person who said it that the person they had commented on the year before wasn’t me anymore. I’d moved on, I’d improved.

The constant strive to do better is my default. I know this. I juggle it day in and day out. Each failure magnified massively out of proportion, each triumph barely perceived because it’s already in the past.

When I do stop to look around I often find myself somewhat bewildered. How did I get here? What series of decisions did I make? I can barely remember. I didn’t plan my career, yet I have a good job. I didn’t plan to meet Kirsty and find a connection there, but I did. I didn’t plan to act upon some long hidden desires, but I did.

Did I think about these things all that much? Not really. I never have.

I am impulsive, goal driven and will always push for more. It’s taken me a while to realise that is my default setting. That that is, in essence, me, and that the only thing that holds me back, that stops me achieving more is my own fear of letting myself down. Of failing.

I hold me back (you hold you back too, by the way, just in case you were wondering).

Not a startling revelation.

Two events from the weekend have brought all this into my head. Two ladies I know both pushed themselves beyond where they had been before, they made the decision (and continued during the events to stick to that decision) and they stuck with it. They tried something new. They pushed away the fear long enough to get through it.

Did they succeed? I’ve no idea. I hope they think they did but I know that internal expectations don’t always marry well with the external cues. When I completed my 10K I was happy, in tears that I’d done it. And then I checked the time. It didn’t meet my expectations and I was instantly crushed. It was like it had all been for nothing.

And that is the fear. The fear that I will push and push and, ultimately, I will find a way to reduce my triumph to bitter tears. That is what I need to change. That is what I need to hammer out of my reasoning (or at the very least, acknowledge and ignore as best I can).

Fight the fear and do it anyway. Another tagline. Another cliche.


  1. K said:

    I will never let you reduce an achievement to less than it is – because you are OSSUM and you deserve to feel that way 🙂 xxx

    April 23, 2013

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