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Is Your Fear of Failure Holding You Back?

From Auditioning, from Performing, from Life?

Someone recently asked me if I ever auditioned for a particular, well-established company she thought I would be a good fit for. When I told her that I hadn't, she was shocked. And, when she pressed further and asked why I never auditioned for them, it opened a can of worms. I had to confess that I had been too afraid in my past. I never thought I was good enough to be in that league, and so I didn't even try.

I've known about these missed opportunities due to my fear of failing for a while, but this was the first time I had to openly admit it to someone else and face my regret head-on, which had been lingering under the surface. The funny thing about regret is that it can be extremely painful in knowing you can't go back and change the past. But, it can also be highly motivating as a tool to shape your future. And, this regret has been a driving force behind this Bad Girl Ballerina platform that endeavors to pass on the mental and physical tools needed to prevent you from making similar mistakes in your life.

If you experience a similar fear of not feeling good enough and find yourself holding back, this not only limits your potential for getting new jobs, but it limits the reach and impact of your art. By failing to face your fears and keeping yourself "safe," you might think you have everything under control. But, here's where things can go wrong.

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You assume that you have to be perfect or the best dancer in order to feel good enough. And so, you constantly compare and size yourself up against everyone else. Nobody tells you it is genetically impossible for some people to get their développé to their ears...or to have the flexibility in their backs to achieve a super high arabesque…or to have the bone structure in their feet to get the high arches you so desire. No, they just sell you the message that you must try harder, work harder, and be better.

And so, you push yourself more and more. But, the harder you try, the more elusive these goals become…and the more discouraged you find yourself. This is not to make excuses or devalue hard work. But, there may be some things you want and are killing yourself for that are physically impossible for your body. If you don’t have a grasp on realistic versus unrealistic goals, you will end up destroying yourself, physically and mentally, in the process of trying to achieve them. You’ll obsess over your flaws and risk sabotaging your career because you will never measure up to this vision of perfection you have set for yourself. You'll never feel ready or worthy to show yourself.

And, one way of dealing with this is by hiding. You hold yourself back. You keep yourself out of situations where you might fail, where you might not measure up and come out on top. It's a self-preservation thing - if your self-esteem is already so low, you won't be able to handle rejection or failure. It would crush you. And so, you don't even try. You keep yourself "safe."

You avoid auditions at all cost. You are too scared to even think about approaching your dream company. You play cautious in performances and keep your full passion bottled up. Even new situations that you are not confident about pose a threat to your ego. So, you put self-imposed limits on your life and keep yourself wound up tight in a little box...following a routine that you are familiar with, that you can be certain of the outcome, and that you can "win" at. Meanwhile, you miss out on a whole world of possibilities and experiences that might require you to fall down...but, that will enrich your life in ways you can't imagine.

Putting yourself out there and overcoming your fear of failure doesn't mean you will get what you want. It doesn't guarantee that you'll get offered your dream job. And, it doesn't mean you won't experience pain or rejection. But, you will learn that "failure" doesn't mean that you are a failure. It just means you were brave enough to try. A failure becomes a badge of honor. This realization is something that is crucial for developing your best self and gives you the courage to pursue your dreams.

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The key lies in having the confidence to choose your own path. You feel worthy enough to go out and create your own adventure - not let the rest of the world decide the limits of your life for you. You write your own story. This doesn't mean things will always work out how you want them to, but it means you aren't afraid to go after your dreams. And, when things don't work out how you want them to, you aren't devastated by grow from it and adjust your course.

This is what Bulletproof Ballerina will give you – a chance to find the power in your unique body; to learn how to enhance the aspects that you can change but also to accept the things you can’t. This gives you a confidence in yourself that is unbreakable. A confidence that gives you the freedom to go out and try something new…whether it is auditioning for your dream company or learning to snowboard, surf, or mountain climb…where you aren’t held back by fear of failure anymore. Where even if you do fail, that failure doesn’t determine your self-worth. Only you can do that.

Do you find yourself limiting your life because you are afraid of failing? Have you avoided auditions because you feared rejection? Do you hold yourself back from trying new things because you worry you will look foolish or amateur? Do you keep yourself in a safe little bubble where you can control the outcome, scared to venture out of your routine and shake things up? Comment below...I'd love to hear your story!

Photo credit: Hoku Creative