I had a revelation this morning. I finally realized why I’m not putting everything I have into finishing my children’s book. It’s simple. It’s one word.
Yes, I fear failure with my entire being. I’m afraid. Afraid that if I pour my soul into something and it isn’t successful I will have failed. Sure, I can finish it and graduate, but I think I want more than that.
I want to be able to show little girls that it’s ok to like science, to want to know about astronomy and space exploration. I want to speak at schools and read my book to little kids in a library in the middle of America. I want to tell my story to Matt Lauer. How I wasn’t brought up to love science and didn’t study it in college, but how I was able to learn and love it through my work at NASA. And that level of success if tangible. I know how to market this book. It’s a unique niche in an untapped market. It has all of the elements for success.
Except my commitment.
Unfortunately, I’ve always been this way. I’ve always done just enough to be good, but not enough to be amazing. But what if I do pull out all the stops with this project? What if it is successful? Is it possible that I wouldn’t be able to handle that level of success?
Maybe that is another thing I’m afraid will make me a failure. My inability to accept success. My belief that I don’t truly deserve accolades. There is always someone else who is better, more talented, much more deserving.
I almost applied for graduation yesterday, but I stopped. I’m not sure why. I need to finish this project this semester so I can finally complete my master’s degree. I’m just afraid that it’s my innate fear of failure holding me back.
And I’m not looking for a cheerleader. I’m not looking for someone to tell me how awesome I am. How amazing the book has become. I don’t need that. I don’t need it because it doesn’t help. I’m the one who needs to tell me I’m awesome. In the end, my acceptance of my own success is the most important thing to me.
Until I can win over my worst critic, I will suffer greatly from this achievement paralysis.