Fear, failure and shame, oh my
Fear runs deep. Fear used to keep our ancestors alive. Fear keeps you from taunting a saber tooth tiger.
The thing is, most of us don’t have to deal with tigers any longer. But the fear still runs deep.
We still feel the same feelings when we face possible failure, but now those feelings revolve around shame. Losing a videogame in private is fine, but asking a stupid question in a meeting is not.
Shame is the dream killer, because shame (or the possibility of shame) amplifies our fear of fear, keeps us from contributing and short circuits our willingness to explore.
As soon as we give it a name, though, as soon as we call it out, we can begin to move forward. Fear of shame unspoken is fear of shame amplified.
Be afraid of significant failure if you can quantify the downsides. But fear of shame is a waste and a trap.