Released On 9th Jun 2021
Caroline M's blog: Failing
I suspect I won’t be alone in saying there were many days throughout the lockdowns where I felt I failed at everything- work, childcare, home schooling, nourishing and nurturing not just my family, but myself too.
The blurred lines of work and home life found me undertaking a SWOT analysis with my children to help me quantify and rectify these failings.
My expectation was they would say something on the lines of – Mom is strong at “huggles”, whipping up a dinner from almost zero ingredients, and reading stories. She is weak at having patience, being emotionally supportive through a crisis ( shouting) , and anything arty.
Their take on things was that Mom is Exceptional at laundry but Shockingly poor at fixing things- ANY things. And parking.
While it was a relief that their basic care needs appeared to be met in their view, and no complaints about how home life was, I have to say the parking one stung a little.
Despite having a driving license for eleven years, I only ramped up driving this last year. Having two kids, and almost no access to public transport forced me into facing my long standing and irrational fears. What if I were to tip the car, or worse still, someone was to beep at me? It was always just best not to drive at all. That way I could keep this clean license, and the shiny memory that I attained that accolade. My driving career could remain untarnished.
Last year a new role opened up in my company. It was one I had been working towards, but given I did not have all the answers, did not know all the scenarios that could lie ahead and had misplaced my crystal ball, I wavered about taking it. What if I failed at it?
While I have known for years how much I fear failure, I do not think I appreciated how cripplingly restrictive it is as a trait. It causes you to just close out options. It holds you back from trying things. Not even allowing yourself to drive to that fork in the road where the signpost splits into success and failure.
Learning is incremental. Acknowledging that has helped me to see clearly that I close out challenges for fear I will ’fail’ at them. In order to embrace those same challenges, I have to accept learning is a bit-by-bit journey. I won’t succeed overnight. The fear of failure is far more overwhelming than any failure itself. Whichever way you choose to define it.
The crushing thing about failure is that while it is a deeply personal experience, we allow it to become communal. This habit of ensuring everyone gets their fair share of you failing perpetuates the cycle of fearing failure.
This year I’m owning it.
Caroline M is a Portfolio Manager at an asset manager in the city navigating a new way of working. She and her husband have two wonderful girls, aged 5 and 3 and together all four try to manage their puppy.