What are you afraid of? Snakes? Spiders? Speaking in public? I'm not afraid of any of those. I am afraid of failure. I am heart-racing, palm-sweating, shaking in my boots afraid of failure. I am afraid that I will not measure up, that I will be found to not be good enough, that someone will think I am dumb...Yesterday, I was in tears over it.
I made a bad grade in one of my doctorate classes. I would normally offer excuses here. However, I have recently finished an article about how when successful people fail they make excuses and thus, do not learn from their mistakes. So, no excuses. I made a bad grade because I did not read all my materials. It was completely my fault. I based my paper off the question asked and did not go to the supplemental material where the details required to answer the question were all spelled out. I have submitted four assignments like this which means I have three more bad grades coming. I cried.
I went to my sister's house to cry on her shoulder and she told me to get a tutor. I don't think doctorate students are supposed to need tutors, I said... She told me to take a break for a few days. I don't have a few days; I have so much work to do... Maybe this is not my path... I continued to cry. My brother-in-law came in from work, looked at me in tears, and asked what was wrong. I told him I made a bad grade, that I didn't think I could do this. He is a man of few words. He doesn't wax poetically and go on and on about things. He simply said "Yeah. You can. You're the smartest person I know." With that, he left the room. That was all it took. I felt better because one person said the magical words. He didn't hem and haw and try to think of a gazillion things to say. He simply said that I could do this with such certainty that I believed him. He had the exact words I needed to hear. Sometimes that is all we need.