I just had a bad day: Overcoming the fear of failure

By Cassy Kerr

Success means different things to different people, but my success story is overcoming my fear of failure. Having done that has opened up a whole new professional world!

My turning point came when I saw baseball pitcher Randy Johnson give an interview to a TV journalist after playing a horrible game years ago. “I had a really bad day,” he said. For some reason, that statement clicked with me. Johnson is an accomplished professional pitcher with many awards who plays in front of thousands of people in the stands and millions of people watching on TV, and he had a bad day in front of all of them. But he still had a job. He still had people who liked him. The earth didn’t open up and swallow him.

Thoughts of losing my job, people judging me or laughing behind my back, or wanting the earth to open up have all run through my head when I have had a bad day at work, but if Randy Johnson can have a bad day, so can I, and I will survive it too.

Overcoming the fear of failure and persevering through the bad days are what help me each time I hook up to write realtime for anyone. The fear of anyone seeing my mistakes is horrifying, but I can’t dwell on that because I inevitably envision the worst-case scenarios; so instead, I do more preparation — work on my job dictionary or hook up and unhook all connections until I feel comfortable with the process — and remind myself that my identity is not my job.

I am also determined to want to better myself to provide the end result. I had the honor of CARTing for my friend’s father, who is hard of hearing, during his divorce trial. When she asked me if I knew if the courthouse had any assistive devices to help him, I immediately explained to her what I was able to provide for her dad and volunteered to do it. I didn’t let fear of failure deter me. I have a talent that could help her dad; so with preparation, grit, and help and encouragement from friends, I made it happen. Unfortunately, everything didn’t go as planned. The connection from my router to the client’s computer kept dropping. After the third time, I placed my connected computer in front of him, and he read from it as I kept writing.

Was it the perfect outcome? No, but Dad had the words in front of him and could follow along with the trial, and the earth didn’t open up to swallow me whole after the setback. Knowing I overcame my fears to provide a service to a person in need is the greatest success I can ever imagine.

Cassy Kerr, RPR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance reporter and the owner of StenoLogic in Tulsa, Okla. She can be reached at stenologic@cox.net.