For a good chunk of time I felt a self imposed pressure to be the best[est], the bad[est], the smart[est], the most creative[est], the funni[est], the all knowing design guru who could move pixels with his mind and save children from a burning orphanage. All while fitting in 2 seasons of Revenge on Netflix in a record 10 days. Emily Thorne has become my modern day Buffy [minus the vampires, but with a whole lot of bloodsucking rich white folk].
So what am I talking about?
Naturally we want to succeed, push boundaries, move mountains – change the world. As someone who has a slight tendency to appreciate being in control, along with an active imagination and will to create, I often set myself up for failure. Or at least a long hard road of hair loss, sleepless nights and annoying eye twitches. I innately want to bite off more than I can chew, pushing myself further and further to see what else can be uncovered. It’s like not wanting to go to sleep at night for fear of “missing something” – which I am totally guilty of. When in reality the only thing I am missing is a good nights sleep to prepare myself for the next day.
And the metaphor there is that we are our own worst enemy.
I was just talking to someone about feelings of inadequacy and fear when taking on a new [daunting] project. There is that preliminary period of “Oh shit, can I really do this?” What if I suck? What if I let my team down? Or most importantly, what if I die? [because I’ve always gotta jump to the extreme]
So where does this fear come from?
Having to be the [est] all the time is a rather large feat to tackle. It’s also pretty unrealistic. By nature I am competitive, controlling and creative. A very dangerous alliteration. Fear is a direct result of this lethal combination, resulting in a need to be the [est] of the [est] and also a love for what I do. Fear and love are our two main driving forces in life – the biggest motivators that we have as human beings. Honing that fear, using it as a tool to make productivity stronger is so important. But the cool thing is that fear is actually being driven by love.
When I acted in theatre, I would piss my pants from stage fright before going out in front of an audience. Not literally. My urine was still somewhat controllable, but it certainly adds to the affect of this story. I was unbelievably freaked out, until finally that invisible kick pushed me on stage and I just did what I knew I was good at. In retrospect I realize that my fear actually stemmed from love. I wanted to be the best[est], funni[est], most talented[est] actor ever to grace that low budget community theatre stage. And for those 2+ hours I was. Because I cared. Because I loved it. My fear fueled a fire that allowed me to light a room. [cue the Dawson’s Creek music].
But I guess that’s the point. I’m never going to be the [est] – I mean, not really. To my family, yes. To my partner, yes. To the other 99.9% of the population, probably not. There’s always going to be someone better than me [hard to believe, I know]. But that’s what makes life interesting. That’s how we learn. Why we push ourselves. That’s what ignites the fear. But it’s the passion, the love for what we do that keeps the stakes high and the momentum going. We all wish to be the very best[est], but at the end of the day what matters is that we put our best foot forward and trust in ourselves. Because one thing is for certain – you will fail 9 out of 10 times. So make it count the most[est]. 🙂