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Be the Ultimate Warrior not the Ultimate Worrier!

Let's face it - we're ALL pretty good at worrying. We worry about our careers, our relationships, our families, and even the state of the world. But when it comes to the fear of failure, we often take it to a whole new level.

I used to love the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) with Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog… those were the days!

I used to play wrestling with my Dad and my brother. I was Hulk Hogan… a Hulkamaniac Obvs! Which is more appropriate nowadays than back then with this new blonde moostashe n the 2 white chin hairs I found on the weekend (turning 40 brings with it some delightful extras!).

My Dad was the Ultimate Warrior, but in true Dad joke style he used to call himself the Ultimate Worrier which my Mum thought was hilarious (he’s a keeper!). The joke was lost on me at the time but along with the chin hairs that arrived in middle age so does the understanding of why adults worry!

I mean let's talk about my love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I can spend hours scrolling through perfectly curated boards of crafts, recipes, and home decor, all the while thinking,

"I could totally do that!"

But then the fear sets in - what if the end result looks toss? What if I accidentally glue my fingers together? What if I burn down the kitchen or house even?

Suddenly, that "easy DIY project" becomes a source of anxiety, and I end up back on the couch, binge-watching Netflix instead.

Speaking of Netflix, have you ever scrolled through your queue, searching for something to watch, only to be paralysed by the sheer number of options? Should we watch a rom-com or a thriller? A documentary or a drama? And what if we pick the wrong thing? What if our friends judge us for our taste in TV shows?

Suddenly, the fear of making the wrong choice takes over, and we end up scrolling through the options for hours, only to eventually settle on re-watching "The Office" for the 20th time. This drives the ever suffering husband mad!

And let's not forget about our professional lives.

We spend years studying, training, and working towards our dream careers, but when it comes time to take that leap and stepping out the safely curated bubble of military life into the unknown puddle of civilian life, the fear sets in.

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I can’t do it?

What if they don’t get me or my humour?

What if I make a mistake on the first day?

What if I accidentally hit "reply all" on that email to the CEO?

What if I get sacked?

What if I fail?

Suddenly, the idea of pursuing our passions becomes daunting, and we start considering a career as a professional Netflix binger instead (If only! I would boss that role!).

The fear of failure can be paralysing, and it can prevent us from taking risks or pursuing new opportunities. This can absolutely limit our potential and prevent us from achieving our goals.

The fear of failure can manifest in many ways for ALL veterans. For example some may be afraid of not finding employment, while others may be hesitant to pursue educational opportunities, they may also experience imposter syndrome, which can make them feel like they don't belong or aren't qualified to pursue certain opportunities.

For women veterans, we can face unique challenges that are specific to our experiences as both women and veterans. For example, women veterans may experience gender bias in their civilian careers or personal lives, which can undermine their confidence and contribute to a fear of failure.

They may also struggle with balancing their military experience and family responsibilities and they may feel like they need to prove themselves or justify their abilities in a male-dominated workforce, all of which can increase their anxiety and stress levels. This can also contribute to a negative cycle of self-doubt, leading to further fear of failure and reduced self-esteem. In addition, women veterans may encounter challenges related to accessing the same level of support and resources that are available to our male counterparts, which can make it harder for them us to navigate the transition to civilian life.

But let’s face it though, we all know that military life has prepared us for a lot of challenges - from basic training to deployment, we've navigated it all. So fear not, because just like we've navigated the challenges of our military careers, we can navigate this too.


1. I mean let's talk about our training. We all know that in the military, there's no room for error. The idea of being back flighted was more abhorrent than finding onions in your dinner! (Onions are the devils food FACT!). So we would go the gym to train for that fitness test, study to ensure we past those tests and we prepped our kit for every eventuality to ensure we were ready to go at a moments notice. We're trained to be the best, to never give up, and to always have each other's backs. And when it comes to the fear of failure, we can apply those same principles. Instead of focusing on the possibility of failure, let's focus on the steps we can take to prevent it. Let's make a plan, prepare as much as we can, and trust in our own abilities.

2. Secondly, let's talk about the importance of support. In the military, we rely on our teammates to help us through some the toughest challenges. I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, and again and again… NETWORK! Networking is a powerful tool that really can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable knowledge, enhance credibility, offer support, and increase exposure. By networking, you can meet new people, learn about job openings (its not what you know but who you know!), find mentors or advisors, and establish partnerships and collaborations. Furthermore, networking provides opportunities to learn from others who have different perspectives and expertise, which can broaden one's knowledge base and lead to new insights. Building a strong network can also establish one's credibility and reputation within a given industry or field, which can lead to increased respect and recognition. Importantly, networking provides emotional support and encouragement, as individuals can connect with like-minded individuals who understand their challenges and can offer advice. When it comes to the fear of failure in our military transitions and reintegration, we should and can rely on ournetwork, our friends and our family for support. Sometimes, all we need is a little encouragement to push through the fear and take that next step.

3. Finally and probably most importantly, let's not forget about the power of laughter! In the military, we know that humour is a powerful tool in getting through tough times. When it comes to the fear of failure, a little bit of humour can go a long way. Laughter releases endorphins, which are the body's natural feel-good chemicals, activate that ethical and above all else legal inner drug dealer of yours and laugh! Laughter can help us to reframe our perspective on failure. Instead of seeing failure as a negative outcome, we can use laughter to see it as a learning experience or an opportunity to grow. By laughing at our mistakes and acknowledging that we're all imperfect, we can reduce the fear of failure and embrace a more positive attitude towards our goals and aspirations. However, I would be remiss if i didnt point out that it's important to note that using laughter to face our fear of failure is not a substitute for taking action or seeking support. While laughter can be helpful in reducing negative emotions and reframing our perspective, it's important to take concrete steps to address the underlying causes of our fear of failure and seek support when needed.

Hubbard's quote reminds us that mistakes are a natural part of life, and that we should not let our fear of failure hold us back. It's how we learn and grow, and it's what makes us human.

There is no such thing as perfect, so the next time the fear of failure starts to creep in and take over, take a deep breath, grab a glass of wine (or what ever your tipple of choice is, be that a good brew or a pale ale), and remind yourself of who the hell you are and all the challenges you have faced and overcome to get to this point!

When it comes to the fear of failure, let's approach it with the same tenacity that we've shown throughout our military careers. Let's make a plan, rely on our support system, and don't forget to laugh along the way.

Be the Ultimate Warrior not the Ultimate Worrier

See what I did there? Lol

After all, we're veterans - we’ve assembled cot beds and bed packs, lived with camel spiders, and eaten from ration packs… so we can pretty much conquer anything!

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