I have this deep-seated irrational fear of failure. I'm graduating next semester, but put myself down so much that I didn't consider myself a worthy candidate for med schools and figured I would get rejected anyways - so I didn't even apply. Advice?
We all experience failure. But failure is essential to success and growth! Here are just some things I have failed at in life:
- getting into med school the first time I applied
- doing well on the MCAT the first time
- doing well on my Step 1
- getting an interview with every residency program I applied to
- Getting all As or Bs in undergrad (woohoo 2 Cs!)
- having a long-term boyfriend
- Wearing the color yellow (it does nothing for my skin tone)
- Cooking a hard-boiled egg
But in the process I learned!:
- I applied again, and now I’m in med school!
- I learned how to be a better test taker
- I learned that I was not in good physical or psychological shape when I took Step 1, so I worked out and saw my psychologist when I studied for Step 2 and NAILED IT
- I learned that going to interviews is fun but…seriously, no one wants to go to 20+ interviews
- Cs made me a better learner, teacher, and more compassionate person
- I have time for my good friends, cultivate my hobbies, and date so I have a better understanding of what I’m looking for in a partner (hint: the Jay-Z to my Beyonce, the Castiel to my Dean, the Mulder to my Scully. Gentlemen, please feel free to let me know if these criteria apply to you.)
- I don’t buy anything yellow anymore.
- I learned basic cooking skills!
And all these awesome things wouldn’t have been possible without failure!
At some point, no matter who or what tells us we can do it, only we can make the final jump, that leap of faith that is required to do anything scary, amazing, or life-changing.
Have you ever heard of “fake it ‘til you make it”? There was actually a great TedxTalk on body posture that can help boost confidence, even if we don’t feel it!
If this fear has caused you to eschew MANY opportunities and has caused you to feel unable to live a fulfilling life and/or it has caused significant distress and impaired your ability to enjoy or do things you want to do, I seriously advise seeing a professional, be it a psychologist or psychiatrist. No one should have to live in fear of what they can and cannot achieve.
Otherwise, remember: failure is what makes success possible, and fake it 'til you make it with confidence!