Fear as a fence

I was talking with a coworker the other day and we kept circling around a specific topic. Her words: “I’m afraid I’ll mess something up.”

Oh, sweet friend.

I get this. I get the fear of failure, the sting of being wrong, of somehow creating an unsolvable mess, especially in the professional realm. We as women seem more sensitive to making a mistake, often to our own detriment. But here’s the deal, I often believe that that sense of fear is the very thing that can bring us to excellence.

Let me flesh this one out.

If you are worried about being incorrect, that means you know what is correct and right in a given situation. You have an awareness that you don’t know everything, and that acting without information can come with consequences. Bravo! This is far superior to the ignorance that says “I know everything” or “I can do no wrong.” Blithe and brash arrogance serve no one.

However, the next step is the critical link. You have two choices: allow the fear to hold you hostage, or move forward with that fear in your peripheral vision. This is where the metaphor comes in; I see fear as a fence. The arena is here, the cliff over there, and in between, that reality of the ability to go too far, to move in error, to do harm. It’s good to know that an edge exists. That’s wisdom.

Let the awareness of your surroundings be a guardrail on the road, not an impound fence holding you hostage. We need brilliant individuals who see the landscape around them, and are leading out and speaking to others in the journey. Take the step. Try that new thing. Trust your gut and your intuition to keep you safe, and press into the journey.


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