Anxiety and Failure: Let's Talk About It
I am the VP of Digital Communications for an organization at my school, and I was really letting my anxiety/imposter syndrome hold me back. I slacked on it for this purpose, but it was getting to the grind time for some emails/posts I needed to make.
I started doing this email on an application that was new to me. I dove into some of the old drafts to get a taste for it, and used the shell of it to compose an email. I tested the email, saw that it was all good and scheduled it. The next day, when I got the email notification, I face palmed as soon as I saw the subject line.
What was supposed to say “New internship opportunity!” read, “You completed the semester! (4/30)”. Mind you, this was sent to 70 people. I immediately messaged our org’s president to let her know what happened, and obviously she wasn’t upset at me at all (s/o Nina, you’re the sweetest).
Now, 18 year old Emily would’ve jumped in bed and replayed the mistake over and over again. Then what would follow would be a whole lot of self-deprecation. But present-day Emily? No sweat, it was my first time creating that type of email and I won’t make the same mistake moving forward.
It was a really invigorating feeling. I tried something that I enjoyed doing, failed and learned from it. Simple as that. Is this what feeling human is like? Because ooo baby I want some more of it.
Here comes the lesson learned part.
Anxiety causes people to feel less human. It has a twisted ability to hold us back from things, and from becoming our true, authentic selves. I wasn’t doing the things I love because I feared failure, but failure can be such a vital, life changing thing. While simple failures can be very scary to think about, and a possibility when doing anything, it’s important that we acknowledge those feelings but move forward despite it being a possibility.
So often anxiety forces us to heavily entertain the negative thought. But if there’s anyone else out there that feels this way, I encourage you to slowly start entertaining the positive thought. Failure is a part of being human. It’s also a huge part of growth. Let your anxiety know that yes, failure is a possibility, but how will I ever know if I let it hold me back?
Because you know what else is a big possibility? Success.
I believe in you. You’re more than your anxiety and you hold so many abilities. Let failure be what it is, and keep moving forward. Show the world what you’ve got, send that mistake email, and get back up again. I know it can feel scary, so don’t forget to be gentle with yourself and take baby steps. You are so much more than what your anxiety makes you believe, never forget that.