Swim the Fear of Failure

Fear of failure.   In retirement?

The darkness inside with promise sitting on the horizon.

Inner darkness with promise sitting out there on the horizon.

The last hours spent on my exam exposed my moral bottom.

Stress, panic, disappointment and unrivaled fear fed the odd curse that sprinkled the last critical stretch of my Justice course.

Pass or fail?  The experience meant a walk through the halls of justice and into the courtroom called Harvard where I worked hard for a favourable verdict.

As I moved from one test question to the next, the technological jury only taunted and jiggled the damnable “results” bar upward with each correct answer.  I watched it grow, stabilize, move by percentages and creep in millimeters as it dictated my sense of well-being.

Words, words, words...please assimilate!

Words, words, words…please assimilate!

What if I failed?  How would I face all the people who knew I was taking this course?  Why hadn’t I been quiet about it?

I’d break from the exam, pace and realize the level of my anxiety.  “This is ridiculous!” I told myself.  “It’s only a silly course that I’m taking out of interest!”

As described in the professor’s lecture about lying, I had just told myself a “misleading truth”.  While I did register for the course out of interest – initially – after doing well on “mid-terms”, my ego had taken over.  What was my motive for telling this half-truth?  Was it a moral, just or good reason?

Nope.  It was pure ego.

How could I admit to friends, blog buddies, readers, and community people that I failed?  How could I disappoint everyone?  I’d turned all these people into my parents who I never wanted to let down.

Seeing my folly, I took another break.  I had to swim through the negative effects of this fragile ego and somehow come out refreshed.  I called on Einstein for a little “divine” help and concentrated on making a healthy lunch.

Dining outside, with Duc le Chat as my peaceful companion, I said, “Duc, I may have some big lumps to swallow.  You with me?  You gonna stick by me?”

He yawned, clarifying the importance of this dilemma and its effect on this planet.

Refreshed with humour, I came back to my desk, took a deep breath and finished the exam.

Guess what?  My prayers were answered.  I passed.



I can reserve my swimming for Aquafit.

And Now –

After a month of neglect, it’s time to pare down my inbox, clean up commitments, write, catch up with people and get my life back in order.

I promised to write more about my GenOne course.  While I’ve been “attending” the presentations, they’ve had to be a second priority.  I’ll now tune in fully and share insights as they come.  We’re just in the throes of establishing circles and deepening connections with one another.  I am thrilled to learn I am amongst such eloquent, evolving and transformative people.

A path to becoming evolutionary leaders means walking in partnership and love.  It means setting new priorities as transformation unfolds for each one of us.

The exercise this week is to recognize “adjacent possibilities” as we look at our lives and encounter others.

Sometimes these adjacent possibilities are sitting in blindspots until life tilts us just enough to reveal the marvelous mystery sitting behind the obvious.

Happy tilting!

44 thoughts on “Swim the Fear of Failure

    and oh, yes, that ego….a hungry beast to contend with but not unmanageable.
    Much love to you as you continue to be a beacon of light and love.


    • I’ve been thinking of you, Anna. I visited an abundant garden grown by a local hotel – for it’s own kitchen and to sell to locals. I listened to a young woman working there, heard the love she feels for everything she grows and laughed with her over concerns that people will come to the garden with zero appreciation for every plant she’s nurtured! I thought, “Anna would relate!”

  2. So happy you passed, but then, was there really any doubt? I know I don’t know you personally, but I feel I ‘know’ you enough through your blogs and your honest tellings of life and your experiences of it to have never thought there could be any other outcome! Now, go celebrate!

    • You are being so very kind, Kath. Funny…a week ago, a couple of my friends called – they told me to pack up a picnic dinner for myself and we would dine on the beach. After hours of studying, I decided it would be a good break. I made a delicious fresh veggie salad, sauteed chicken pieces and added all sort of goodies. As we lolled in the lowering sunlight, I tried to tell these two about my fears. They just blew me off! I almost didn’t invite them back for Fresh blackberries smothered in Greek Honey Yogurt and sprinkled with sunflower seeds! 😀

  3. Just HAD to ‘speak up’ this time around to say heartty congratulations! Does it not feel wonderful!! I’m doing a number of tertiary courses ‘out of interest’ more decades later than I’ll admit to at the moment – puzzled friends ask ‘why’: well, it’s ‘there’ isn’t it!! And when a uni office phones up to check birth date: ‘Ma’am, I am certain we have it wrong’ to get huge laughter back [yup, a bit rude, but . . . 🙂 !!] one feels the proverbial ten feet tall!! SO, i know . . . . huge congrats again!!!

    • Aw…a fellow seasoned student! Good for you, Eha. And thank you SO MUCH for commenting!

      My ol’ Mom, in her mid 70’s, lived in Calgary. She had a standing date with a taxi driver to pick her up and take her to weekly French class. One evening he said, “I know it’s none of my business, but why is an elderly lady like yourself taking French?”

      Without hesitation, mother answered, “Who says the Devil speaks English?”

      There’s such joy (and confidence) in learning. The subtle understanding it gives to life is a bonus. Plus I wanted to keep the ability to reason “dialectically”- as Kant suggests we need to do. The Prof warned us that the course would change us and our lives. I certainly see its effects!

    • Oh yes, the “Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha,…” As someone said, it is a wonderful piece of literature if one just has the patience to read it. You encouraged me to go back to read the last two chapters, but it’s not to be “sped read”!

      It’s late, but I want to visit you tomorrow. Put on the kettle, David! Hugs to you, too.

  4. A big congrats Amy Auntie. 🙂 That photo of you describe the joy and excitement on your face. I just love it. Now it calls for a celebration Amy Auntie. 🙂

  5. Brilliant, Amy! I can align with the whole ‘wanting to please my parents’ thing ~ and, whilst I resent it when I recognise it, it certainly spurs me on. Reading about what your mother told the taxi driver explains a lot about you! Well done! 🙂

    • I’m laughing, Jacqueline…I feel “caught out”. I’m finding myself leaning quite naturally in directions that mother favoured. “Naturally” is key…I’m following my own bliss and it happens to parallel some of her passions. Though I’d love to be able to talk with her about this, it seems I have the freedom to do more of the life choices we share. That’s thanks to a number of things, but one biggie is technology.

  6. It’s amazing how we get all twisted up about things, isn’t it? When I was writing the exams for my coach certification, I would spend a half hour in quietness first, breathing and relaxing into the knowing that all would be fine. And it was. Congratulations for taking the course, for learning and enjoying the journey, and for passing! I knew you would! Nothing else would do.

    • Funny, Joss, failing wasn’t an option, but it sure was taking some time and effort to get the “blinkin'” bar movin’ UP to the right levels! Thus there were moments where I had to take lots of deep breaths.

      It’s a good experience. Keeps us in whatever scant amount of humbleness one can have for the odd nanosecond.

    • I’m taking a spiritual course with Barbara Manx Hubbard on-line which finishes in December. I’ve been eyeballing the new courses coming up on EdX.org, but I want to give this current one my attention and time. Barbara had an actual visual experience of the Christ energy years ago. Quite a jolt to a “nice Jewish girl”. What came from that experience is what she’s teaching now. She’s in her 80s and it’s taken this long to “prepare”. She was thinking she was finished with the futurist-thinker field (she’s taught and authored so much). However, she received a plea to bring the essence of this/her spiritual experience and its teachings to people who will, in turn, take it out to others in their own way. She claims those of us who signed up (70 or so people) are to become leaders in evolutionary thinking and living. If that happens, sobeit, but I see my role more as a catalyst to help people empower themselves. If that’s leadership, I accept. As you know, Victoria, we all have this powerful Christ energy within us and just need to believe it enough to plug it into that Divine Love – and get on with it! 😀

      I have believed – since a child – that Jesus was trying to tell us this. Imagine being 2000 years early! Thank goodness Mary Magdalene understood. May none of my comments offend, Victoria.

  7. I never had any doubt that you would pass…you should have asked me if you need someone to let you know the outcome…I mean…your a poet…no poets fail at Harvard. 🙂 Congrats!

  8. Goodness sakes but you are anal about this! It’s supposed to be learnig for the joy of learning, right? It’s not like your future ecoomic well-being rests on your test score…or does it? 😉 Old habits die hard, though. Congrats, Amy. Well done. Arindam is right about that photo of you. That just says, SUCCESS! I’m a winner! Onward to the next challenge.

    • Your unintentional creation of the word – “ecoomic” – fits perfectly, Linda. I giggled when I saw it because that sums it up. Everything I do these days is with an eye on the planet in one way or another. Is it possible for us to “coo” over our eco again in my lifetime? Maybe not, but I’m still going to “plant trees” in my different ways! It’s default – not even a contrived direction.

    • Exactly, Leslie! I would have had to live with myself. Until I learned how to transfer perfectionism into striving for excellence, I was battling this type of fear when I felt I had something at stake. I was surprised at how much it reared its head again. Just – like – THAT!

  9. I’m glad you passed. Some of the tests I’ve had to take in my life make me wonder if my brain retains anything!

    • Nothing like a little fear to take a person right back to those days of writing in classrooms with the clock ticking. As a Secretary Treasurer of school districts, I learned that this fear is largely based on perfectionism. It may fade, but simply doesn’t die!

  10. Well break out the balloons and confetti and let’s PARTY!!! (…cuz boy, I’da wanted to throw up…LOL) I’m squirmy over the (trauma focused) CBT class I delved into and get a bit panicked at each modules’ end, wondering if this is the one I’m going to bomb on. Haven’t yet…and I’ve been pooh-poohed about the fear factor, too. What is it about me that makes that so difficult to fathom….oh wait…perhaps it’s the confident way I chase things in life….or that snarky attitude I can pull out at whim? Maybe it’s just a fine example of how little I actually share AS I walk through stuff. Pretty good before and after…but that during stuff….*shudder* Nah…”feelings” are so rarely based on the facts…LOL….why would ya!! 😉
    (I’ll let ya know when I pass….apparently failing is not an option.)

    • I celebrated with all the popcorn I could manage during a movie called “Mud”. I hadn’t even heard about it but thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one that appeals to male and female tastes – if you’re ever looking for suggestions. (I adored the Despicable Me movies!!)

      Another gift I gave myself…I didn’t think about anything intellectual for a couple of days! It was great.

      I’ll jump on the pile of the cheer team and say I KNOW you will pass. But if you have to convince yourself that failure is just another learning process so that you relax, go for it! 😀 I’ll say a prayer for ya – just to help the process.

    • Thank you, Becca. I study to discipline my mind and keep me out of my own habits and ruts. Ruts become trenches. Trenches curtail exploration of the breadth, richness and inclusiveness of the teachings and messages of the Christos Spiritus.

      I can only pray it is working… 😀

    • Two days before, Lily, I “cried” on my friends shoulders about the fact I was going to fail and how hard it would be to swallow such a lump. They listened and said it would all work out. After it all, they said, they knew I’d pass the course. Funny the “positives” that others see in us that we find so hard to accept.

      Thank you for your comment.

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