Powerful words. False expectations appearing real. Let that sink in a little. False expectations appearing real.
In a previous blog I shared that my first weed to pull (or fear to overcome) was my fear of failure. This fear shows up in so many ways with me that I need to retrain my brain. This doesn’t just show up as a fear of the dark (which I don’t have) or a fear of doing something new (although that one is true, out of my comfort zone scares me a lot!) It shows up over and over in small ways that I now see have to do with not trusting me, afraid that I will be “less than” if I don’t meet someone’s expectations. I think they are truly my expectations but they are the expectations I believe others’ have of me. False expectations appearing real.
January is a very busy time in my job and company. We are working on year end performance and compensation as well as rolling out some new practices or initiatives. We are setting our objectives for the year and ensuring that everyone is focused on the right work. My role puts me squarely in the middle of all of this work. And I pride myself on getting things right, executing flawlessly and ensuring that I have taken all issues into account. One of the strengths I generally bring to a project is my ability to think about things from the associate standpoint and focus on how we message change. Of course that means I need to know a lot about the associates circumstances. This is somewhat difficult when you are newer to a group and haven’t been exposed to everything yet. And this showed up loudly this week, causing me to become stressed, a lack of confidence and of course then my fear that I failed in some way kicked in. Fear that I didn’t meet expectations. Fear that I was “less than.” Physically, lack of sleep accentuated a stress headache and then I got snippy which I don’t like.
The work situation was handled and wasn’t an epic failure nor did it cause anyone else a lot of stress. But I was a mess through much of my week and was exhausted by the time I got home on Friday. I was drained. I started to think about what I could have done differently and began at my reaction to it all. I let people know that I took full responsibility for the issues raised. Why? How could I take responsibility when I wasn’t aware of a particular practice? Had I known, the issues would have been discussed and been part of our communication plan. And it was then that I realized that was part of the issue. I didn’t let others own their part, I immediately took responsibility away from them and placed it squarely on me. That way the failure was mine. Years ago I had a business leader that used to tell me to only fall on my sword, not everyone else’s. And that is what I did again, fell on someone else’s sword. I didn’t allow them to learn. I owned it and I fixed it. I could be seen as the hero and not the failure! I was truly afraid that I had made an epic mistake and that I was going to have a number of people frustrated and trying to understand what occurred. Here’s the best part, I was the only person truly worrying about it!
When I finally got home from work Friday night, I did something I rarely do by myself, I poured a glass of wine and I cried. I cried because I was drained. I cried because I was tired. I cried because I didn’t like that old patterns showed up. I cried because I thought I failed and I didn’t like the feeling! I didn’t fail, but I was so fearful of the thought of failing that I let it overtake my body and mind for a day or two.
We all react to situations differently. I take things too personally, take too much accountability and have had a habit of judging myself so harshly that I couldn’t handle my present with confidence and my fear kept me from trying things in the future. For many, the fear of failure pushes them to over achieve. For me, at times I become paralyzed. I cannot move forward and I am not sure what to do next. Through all the reading, research, guides and teachers I have learned that to be at peace in the midst of all of this is where you will be enlightened. To get to a peaceful state I need to remember to breathe.
Friday night, I sat on the chair with Ricky on my lap and Lucy by my feet. I closed my eyes and I inhaled deeply. As I exhaled I could feel the tension leaving my shoulders. I took about 3 more deep breathes and could feel myself begin to relax. I decided that a breathe meditation was in order and just inhaled “peace” and exhaled “letting go” for about 3 or so minutes. It was rejuvenating. I felt better. I also realized that recognizing those old patterns as quickly as I did was reassurance that I had evolved. I had moved forward learning from my past, focusing on now and how to be less harsh of a judge, especially of me. I need to have compassion toward me and encourage me the way I give to others.
False expectations appearing real. Fear. I have evolved enough to realize that I’m reacting to false expectations, now I need to learn how to be so confident in the moment that I don’t allow false expectations to appear real. I don’t allow fear to stop me.