Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The H.R.G. Files, and fear of failure

If I didn't already love Jack Coleman, I would after reading his blog. This in particular caught my eye:

"It's simple really: fear of failure is crippling. You see it in all aspects of life. The great ones go for it and let the chips fall where they may. The perfectionist can be throttled by the voice in his head that considers the consequences of failing. "

My life mission is to let go of that perfectionist streak, the parts of it that grip me so hard that I don't even try. I want to be GREAT. I want my greatness to be talked about. I want to be profiled in Entertainment Design Magazine, right next to Mona May and Debra McGuire.

Over and over again, I practice my acceptance speech for my Indie Spirit Award for a little darling of a movie, one that I maybe even got paid for. I fantasize about being interviewed by the LA Times or Threads or Etsy or hell, even Rhubarb Marmalade (just kidding, Sara!).

I was watching a basketball game, right after Candace Parker dunked in a game for the second time. I wish I could remember who was commentating, it may have been Carolyn Peck, but I'm really not sure. She was talking about how many women dunk in practice, but don't do it during games, and theorizing that it's because women are afraid of looking foolish if they miss, whereas men don't care.

I bristled at this for several reasons. One, I started wondering why women would be "afraid" of looking foolish. But it's not too hard to surmise. For one thing, female ballers already get their share of crap about not playing as well as men, or not trying to play like men, or trying too hard to play like men, or not being as interesting or worthy or blah blah blah as men. Case in point, this idiotic article by Melissa Rohlin about why she doesn't watch women's basketball. (And for a well-reasoned, impassioned response, read what Diana Taurasi has to say.)

And for every mistake a woman makes on the court, there are dozens of people eager to collect them and post them on YouTube, along with some sarcastic remark about "women playing as well as men." (Sure, the men have their blooper reels, but no one uses them as a reason NOT to watch the NBA.)

Now you may be wondering, "Why this digression into womens basketball, Kelly Marie?"

One word: FEARLESSNESS. Watch Diana Taurasi, Candice Wiggins, or Katie Smith play. There's no second-guessing that layup. No beating yourself up after missing a shot. (well maybe a little.) No trash talk for anyone but the other team. It's just PLAY. Play hard. Train hard. Practice hard.

So back to the perfectionist thing, and fear of failure, and basketball metaphors. You don't make the WNBA First Team by being afraid to shoot the ball. You don't get the Sixth Woman of the Year Award by whinging about not starting.

So the challenge for me is, to use the phrase popularized by Nike: "Just do it." Or, to put it more elegantly, (if overused as well) "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

Um. Right?


Kim said...

Perhaps you should go into writing?

Lalana said...

You got that right! And picked the perfect 3 players. I love watching each of them, though Ice is my very favorite!

km said...

I do love Ice. Not too many former college stars could play off the bench like she does. And Katie Smith skyrocketed to the top of my list after watching her self-possessed behavior during the Sparks/Shock fight.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Nicely expressed.

(My "captcha" secret codeword this time is whutfwor. What for, indeed!)

Julie said...

I second Kim

Anonymous said...

Um, right.! That quote propelled me into DOING too. But it also takes the support of the village. Which you definitely have.