Taming the Dragons: Fear of Failure


There are times the fear of failure is crippling.

It manifests in many ways—a lack of planning because I fear I cannot possibly fit all in, a lack of doing because I fear I will ruin the costly and beautiful supplies I have bought, a lack of loving because I fear I will get hurt.

It’s a lot to carry around.

I don’t know if everyone drags these fears around with them. I do know that, for me, fear of failure stops me from realizing a good many of my dreams.

If I had a boggart, it would probably look a lot like me.

But what would I do if I knew I would not fail?

Would I write more?

Would I brave stepping outside the curriculum and do more hands-on projects with the children?

Would I take more chance, put myself out there, try something new?

This begins the week that will end in Michaelmas. I would encourage everyone who is reading this to take the time to think about what you fear. And then… be like Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy. Acknowledge your fear and then move past it.

Because as trite a platitude as it might seem, the only true failure is in not trying. Because success is measured not in outcomes but in the very act of doing, as long as you try, you cannot fail.

Firmly on the earth I stand,
Michael’s sword within my hand.
When I conquer fear, the dragon’s chains I tightly bind,
Michael’s light within my mind.
When I thrust against the monster’s pride,
Michael is at my side.


  1. //

    One of my favorite mantras is this: “Fail big, fail hard, fail often.” Because if you do, you learn really quickly. Failure is a shortcut to success, when considered in that light, because each failure gets you closer and closer to the best idea/model/design/method. You see what I mean? Each failure is an opportunity for a big growth spurt or a big jump over a whole trail of bad ideas.

    I have a fear of failure too, but I try to remember this part. It helps a bit.

    1. //

      I like it. Reminds me a little of Martin Luther’s “Sin boldly,” LOL! Also of one of my favorite lyrics from The Secret Garden musical– “Getting lost is how you learn.” Thanks!

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