This is Us - Fear of Failure 

In Season 2 Episode 2 we watch Beth and Randall try to make a decision about starting the foster care process. Usually quite the “go-getter”, Randall seems to drag his feet on completing the application. Naturally, Beth gets frustrated with her husband only to learn more about him from Kevin. Kevin tells Beth that the only decision Randall has ever made where he didn’t know what the outcome would be was asking Beth out on a date. Kevin describes how difficult it must be for Randall to make a decision like this for their family without knowing what might happen. Of course, this information is very heart warming for Beth because she realizes that she was worth the risk for Randall and can now see how big of decision foster care is for him.

Fear of failure is something that keeps a lot of people from doing things that could turn out to be worth it. Whether it’s applying for a promotion at work, ending a unhealthy relationship, or maybe even starting the healing process through counseling, people avoid good things because the decision feels too risky. Think of how much Randall would have missed out on if he let his tendency to avoid risky situations keep him from talking to Beth. 

There is also so much to learn from failure. If we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to fail we won’t learn what we want to do differently next time, or how we want to grow as a person. Staying in the current position at work, in that unhealthy relationship, or in your current emotional state keeps you stuck. Change is risky, but worth it. If we can redefine failure then not as much is at stake. The problem comes when we connect having a failure with being a failure. Just because something doesn’t work out perfectly doesn’t mean that our identity is Failure. Beth refusing a date with Randall wouldn’t have made him a failure, but a brave guy who took a chance on a girl he was interested in. Not getting the promotion at work wouldn’t make you a failure, but a person looking for their next opportunity who now has more information about what the interview process is like. Ending an unhealthy relationship doesn’t mean you are a failure at relationships, but that you learned enough about the person you were dating to know you didn’t want to continue the relationship. When we are able to disconnect the way situations turn out from who we see ourselves to be we make room for taking risks in life. 

Some things to consider:

1. In what areas of life have you let the fear of failure hold you back?

2. How might you take a first step towards a risky choice you’ve been avoiding?