Why you’ve got to fuck it up

I hate fucking up, I hate it so much. As soon as I realise there’s the slightest possibility I’ve failed at something, or made even the tiniest mistake, my mind goes into all out panic overdrive. A typo in an email, dialing into a call two minutes late – minor things like that can send me into a tail spin of self doubt that can last days and keep me awake at night stewing in my incompetence. I pretty much think I’m about to get fired about once a week.

I am a woman an I’m alive in 2017 – I demand nothing less than self perfection in all areas. I want to be effortlessly beautiful, I want to be exceptionally talented, I want to be professionally successful, I basically want birds to flock to me when I sing if I’m being honest. And my God do I want to be thin – is a thigh gap too much to ask for? The thought that I might not achieve each and every one of those things right now, right this second, is in equal parts terrifying and heartbreaking. A failure in any one of these areas, or a million other areas that I’m to embarrassed to admit, would mean that I had failed. In fact, worse than it meaning I had failed, it would mean that I was a failure – that in the very core fundamental sense of my being I would be a failure. 

If I can’t even do this right how on earth and I going to solve the gender pay gap and end world hunger?

And to be honest – that’s quite a lot of pressure. I feel pressure in so many areas of my life: pressure to eat well and to have a beautiful home, and get a promotion, and be the change I want to see in the world for women and girls. I don’t think I’m at all alone in feeling like that – I think we all make huge demands and set massive expectations for ourselves, and then kill ourselves trying to do them perfectly. That’s why I feel the gut wrenching stomach flip when I make a tiny mistake on something small and simple – if I can’t even do this right how on earth and I going to solve the gender pay gap and end world hunger?

But, if I stop panicking and think for a minute about the last thing I did that I was truly proud of, it wasn’t something that I got briefed on and thought ‘ok cool, I can do this in my sleep‘, no – it was a big scary thing that made me think ‘oh God, what if I fuck this up?‘ And, along the way I probably did fuck things up in tiny ways. I probably forgot to put attachments on emails, I probably sent replies later than I had planned, and there’s no way I had a thigh gap during a single moment of it. But, none of that mattered. Nothing caught fire, and I achieved things I wasn’t sure I was capable of before I tried.

I probably forgot to put attachments on emails, I probably sent replies later than I had planned, and there’s no way I had a thigh gap during a single moment of it. But none of that mattered. Nothing caught fire.

If I hadn’t been prepared to say yes now, and figure out how to make it work later I never would have progressed. If I hadn’t used my network for support, and admitted the things I was worried about fucking up so that they could give me advice, I’d still be doing the same things I was doing 5 years ago. I’d be doing them brilliantly, I’d have had time to perfect them, but my God I’d be bored.

We have to stretch ourselves, we have to step out of our comfort zones and take risks, and we have to know who to call on if we think we’ve made a serious mistake. We might fuck it up, but it will happen less and less often, and never in the same way twice.

Fuck it up ladies. Fuck. It. Up.

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