What are you most afraid of?
I know many of you instantly visualized very distinctive fears; spiders, clowns, heights perhaps? You wouldn’t be far off because according to Google it’s an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. I was asked to think about my deepest and darkest fears in a seminar and I honestly couldn’t think of anything. Spiders aren’t my favorite but I don’t lose sleep over them.
Let’s try again… What are you most afraid of in your life?
I had the pleasure of spending some one-on-one time with my best friend’s boyfriend while on vacation and I asked him the very same question (…I’m not great at small-talk). I already knew how he was going to answer because of the pressure he is under. He is preparing to take the MCAT in a few short months while working a part-time job. He has a long history of successful parents and siblings in the medical field. He goes to class early and leaves labs late. He has taken every step he can to prepare for a test that determines his career path. Of course his biggest fear is failing.
When I was asked this question in that seminar I had to really do some soul searching. If you would have asked me two years ago, I was right there with Nathan and the fear of failing kept me up at night. And guess what, I did fail. I fell very short of my goal of becoming Miss USA and it was all because I didn’t prepare properly. All of my friends and family would say that everything happens for a reason but the truth is, I didn’t win. I lost. I gained some amazing experiences because of my epic failure but there isn’t a pretty way of sugarcoating an old fashion loss.
Here’s the thing. Once your biggest fears in life actually come true, your life isn’t over. The world keeps spinning and the sun rises again. You may find your self in mourning but you eventually keep going. You get back up to dust yourself of and the strangest thing happens; you grow from that failure and another one arises.
Today, my biggest fear is letting people down. I can give you every philosophical answer to why that is but I don’t need to psychoanalyze this fear. I am not ashamed of it, I am proud of it. I have come to realize that fear is the very thing that drives us to success. My fear gives me a purpose to get up every day and something to work toward. Nathan wants to be a doctor because it’s been a dream of his to help people. He realizes that there is a chance he won’t pass the MCAT with flying colors and he may end up going another route. Although he has a Plan B in place, that fear of failure is what pushes him to study extra hours and stay after class.
My fear helps me go the extra mile in my careers. Every day it’s my job to help people. In part of my day I help individuals become the best versions of themselves through living a healthy lifestyle. In the other part I help people buy and sell their hopes. If I let them down, I am costing them their future. So I try every day to go the extra mile to make sure they are confident in the path I set up for them. I do, however, have to draw a line in the sand because my fear of letting them down consumes me. I am on vacation right now because I need a break. For me, that’s letting out my inner 10-year-old and wearing Minnie Mouse ears for 12 hours at Magic Kingdom. When we stand in that half-hour long line to meet Ariel, I’ll shoot a quick text to my trusty clients so they know that I am still here for them.
Fear gives my life meaning but I don’t dare let myself live in it. Life is too short and I have a lot of goals. I absolutely hate letting people down and it does debilitate me when it happens. I am human and it does happen. I work hard to make those who love me proud and making them proud makes me feel like a success.
What is your biggest fear in life? Do you let it control your life or do you let it fuel it?
You can follow Miss Indiana USA 2014, Mekayla Eppers, on Instagram at MissMekaylaFitness and SpilledMilkClub.