Don’t Fear the First Time – Don’t Let the Fear of Failure Hold You Back
This piece is inspired by our very own Calgarian superstar and celebrity, Tammara Francis.
Whether it’s at home or at work, whether it’s personal or professional, we will all agree that we face challenges every single day. Reasons to doubt yourself. Reasons to be anxious. Reasons to say, “I can’t”. Life offers very few certainties – facing challenges is one of them. Whether you’re a pessimist, optimist, realist, or altruist, you are not immune. And that’s ok. Challenges don’t define you. How you respond to them, does.
For the purposes of this writing, I won’t be talking about such challenges as balancing a heavy workload, speaking in public, or finding new ways to keep your relationship exciting. I want to hit the rewind button and address, perhaps, the toughest challenge of them all – doing anything for the first time. This means your first interview, your first time on stage, or your first time on a date. It gives me butterflies just thinking back at these events.
Life is riddled with firsts – your first step, your first words, your first time riding a bike, your first day of school, your first date, your first kiss, your first job, your first time driving, your first job, and, of course, your first time [let’s not pretend you don’t know what I mean]. These significant life milestones are intentionally listed in a semi-chronological order.
I want you take note that, with age, our “firsts” become increasingly challenging. As a toddler, if you fall attempting your first step, so what? As a young child, if you aren’t successful your first time on a two-wheeler, who cares? But, as a teenager, if your first kiss is uncoordinated and sloppy, you are embarrassed. Then, as a young adult, if you stutter your way through an interview, you are shameful. Why is this? I dare say that this is because, as we age, pride and ego enter the equation. Unfortunately, when they do, so do shame, self-doubt, and fear of the unknown. This is the reason so many of us are reluctant to try new things or embark on new journeys even though we know that we want to or need to. “New” is exciting but excitement is too often nullified by butterflies.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. This is particularly true if the old dog is fearful of the end result and refuses to attempt the trick.
This is why there is so much inspiration to be taken from what Tammara Francis is about to do. At the age of 34, Tammara will be stepping into the ring for her very first professional fight. For months and months, she’s trained with her coach and, in that time, she’s run more miles than most of us will run in a lifetime. But, it’s so much more than just the physical preparation. “I’ll be stepping into the ring for the first time. I’ve talked about training. I’ve talked about challenges. I’ve talked about emotions. But this time, this time, it’s everything… the mental, physical, and emotional ride is about to be put to the test.”
And, such is life. Don’t be daunted by the notion of doing something for the first time. Yes, it may be difficult but you are definitely strong enough. Shame? Shame from what? Shameful are those who allow fear and self-doubt to hinder them from being great. Sure, the unknown may be scary but there’s no greater unknown than the unknown of not doing. Success is the result of repetition and, to have repetition, you must have first done that something for the first time. Remember, if that toddler never dared to take his first step, he would never walk.
As for Tammara, she would be lying if she claimed to know the result of her first fight. She doesn’t know. Nobody knows. But, the result doesn’t really matter. The moment she steps into the ring, she’s already won. She’s already a champion.