The Fear of Failure

November 01, 2023

Vee (Varaidzo) Kativhu is a 24 years old Girls’ Education Activist and Study focused YouTuber. She uses her numerous online platforms to support over 300,000 underrepresented youth to reach their full academic potential. As the Founder of her non-profit organisation, Empowered By Vee, she is also providing academic empowerment skills to students who feel unsupported by running her renowned skill based workshops in schools and universities around the world.

This story took place in United Kingdom

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People often ask me how I succeed in all that I do and how I do it so fearlessly. The answer is … I don’t.

I don’t do it fearlessly because the fear is always there, but instead of seeing it as a hindrance, I see it as a tool to fuel my fire. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is my motto for the remainder of 2023. A little bit of fear when chasing our dreams is healthy, and it shows that you care deeply about the thing you are trying to do and are just afraid of failing. That’s OK. However, it is important not to let that fear win or to let it become the wall you hide behind. Fear should be our motivation and something that keeps us going. In an ideal world, fear wouldn’t exist, and everyone would feel safe, brave, and encouraged enough to pursue the things on their vision boards. Sadly, that’s not the case in our daily lives, and fear can often creep in. My advice is to not shy away from it. We all need to stop asking ourselves, “What if I fail?” and start asking, “What if I fly?” 

I want you to imagine taking a chance on yourself, taking that leap of faith, and actually believing you can do it! You are worthy of landing on your dream goals, life, and version of yourself! I tell myself this every day because life is too short, and I don’t want to waste any time I have to make myself proud. I think about the word ‘fear’ often, and I realise that usually people’s fear of doing something is often greater than actually doing it. We worry about how things will look … if things will go well, and if people will like us. We spend time worrying about the worst-case scenario, and quickly forget about the possibility of the best outcome. It’s important to keep telling yourself that the best is yet to come and that rejection truly is redirection, even if your first attempt doesn’t go well. Therefore, I recommend that anyone hesitating to take the next leap should just do it! You truly never know what is waiting on the other side, and finding ways to use the fear you are feeling will add a layer of motivation to the vision you want to explore. 

Let me give you an example of how I overcame a fear that almost held me back from my dream goal for 2023. I remember last year feeling worried, nervous, and afraid of applying to other schools for my Ph.D. after facing a huge rejection from what was my dream school a few months prior. I vowed to myself that I did not want to open my results and see another “rejected” decision again so I decided not to apply to any other schools in order to save myself from heartbreak. However, my mom quickly reminded me of the same inspirational words that I spend my time preaching to others … that failure is another chance to try again and to try again harder. I realised that I would be doing a huge disservice to myself if I allowed my fears to win. And that, in the end, I would feel more regret for not applying than I would for applying and getting rejected again. I also realised that I owed it to my younger self to go for every single opportunity that life has to offer because not everyone has the privilege, the time, or the freedom to even attend school. So with all of that in mind, I bit the bullet, put my heart on the line, and explored new schools that I had never thought of, spoke to other people, and found advice on the schools that best suited my lifestyle.

I am proud to share that I am now officially a Ph.D. student! I am in the first year of my studies as a scholar in the Graduate School Of Education, Urban Leadership programme at the University of Claremont in California. I am truly loving my experience: I feel challenged, I have the best professor and the most inclusive coursemates, and most importantly, I feel happy. If I had not taken a leap of faith and trusted myself, I may have never discovered this degree, this university, or even envisioned myself in the city I am in now. All of that happened because I allowed my rejection, my fear, and my heartbreak to steer me to something new, and something that I could not have written a better outcome for. 

That could be the same for you! You may be one rejection away from your dream life … please don’t let fear become the obstacle to what you truly deserve.

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