21st July 2015, Prismacolor pencils on A3 cartridge paper
All my life I’ve avoided failure by playing everything safe. I’ve only recently learnt that this comes from an underlying core belief that I need to perform well because I think my identity and worth depend on it.
I’ve always been known as a high-achiever, an all-rounder, good at everything, an A-grade student, and a teacher’s pet.
Somewhere along the line, these phrases must have subconsciously made me think that’s what made me who I am.
But now I want to fail. I want to embrace failure because it’s the only way to separate the connection that’s been built up in my mind that my worth comes from my performance.
I also want to embrace failure because I don’t want to run from challenges and things that scare me. I’m learning that failure doesn’t need to be feared. Failure is often the door to success. Each failure teaches me a way that doesn’t work and leads me closer to a way that will work.
So keep walking through doors because the next door might be the one that works. Don’t give up at the first door, or the second, or the third. Keep going because success might be behind the next door.
But in the end, whether success comes or not, I’ve learnt it doesn’t matter because it’s about going on a journey and growing. I never have to wait for the fear to go away. The times I’ve been most afraid and most challenged have been the times I’ve grown the most.
So do it afraid and keep taking steps forward, walking through doors, and learning along the way.
I have to constantly remind myself that failing doesn’t mean I’m a failure.