When I was growing up, I internalized a message from somewhere mistakes could be fatal. I had this belief if you made the wrong choice it was capable of causing irreparable harm to your future. Moreover, there were failures you could never recover from.
This resulted in putting so much pressure on myself when making major decisions I would end up in analysis paralysis. As I write this know, I can recall certain speakers and authority figures in my youth who attempted to warn young people of the consequences certain decisions could have on their future.
You can overcome any setback
I believe this was well intended. However, I interpreted it as my life would come down to a series of choices. And if I made the wrong decision, I would screw up the rest of my life. No pressure. At twenty five, I believed I had missed my window, and I would never achieve what I was capable of becoming.
What I have learned since that time is you can recover and pivot from anything. I came to this awareness by making so many mistakes and surviving. Of course, there are consequences to decisions: financial, relational, emotional, and opportunities lost. But the reality is you can overcome and succeed despite whatever setbacks you experience.
Failure is never fatal
If you are frozen in fear of making decisions or believe you have 'messed up' your life, realize failure is never fatal. Furthermore, it is often the gift that leads you to success. Trying to succeed in life without making mistakes is like trying to play sports and not get your jersey dirty - it's clean but you never scored any points.
One of the things I regularly ask my clients when they fear making decisions is, "What would happen?" They give me their initial answer, and I keep asking the next, "And then what would happen," until we get down to the end of the line fear. Their core fear will always be a fear of ending up trapped and helpless, alone and isolated, or being not good enough. Usually it is a combination of all three.
The origin of our core fears
These fears are always due to experiencing them earlier in life at a time we did not receive the support we needed. As a result, we dissociated or blocked them in some manner to survive. But a part of us remains frozen in that time and becomes activated when there is a possibility of experiencing the emotions associated with these states.
I've written in numerous posts about how to resolve these dissociated states and release from these fears. Realize, no mistake is uncorrectable. Yes. you want to develop wisdom and learn from your mistakes. But no failure is fatal. Life is an ongoing learning process. Don't be afraid to get dirty. Read any biography and you will see the same formula: fail, fail, fail, fail, SUCCEED.
Get in the game. Don't stand on the sidelines playing it safe. No matter how many mistakes you have made, you are capable of succeeding. You know all the cliches. They are cliches because they're right. Failure is learning, and you can pivot from anything. Anything! You are only limited by the story you tell yourself. Today, write a new story. You are the author. Now go get dirty!
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.