fear of failure can be reframed. Image of me reclining on the bed in a tee shirt saying Single, taken, Owned.

Fear Of Failure: Divide And Conquer

fear of failure can be reframed. Image of me reclining on the bed in a tee shirt saying Single, taken, Owned.

If there’s something I know about it’s fear of failure. From an early age I learnt that it’s important to do my best, this was the measure of success in my childhood home. Somewhere along the line “doing my best” was replaced with “getting it right every time” and this led to a lot of heartache. In relation to the blog these were from denying my inner sexuality the space it needed to flourish, to staying in an abusive marriage because I thought I should be able to sort it out myself. I’ve spoken before about how Sir works fear into our dynamic, but are my emotions driven by the risk of failure or something else?

Some time ago I was given a book called Live In Wonder.

Inside are pages with quotes, and then questions below. I had a sort out recently and found it in my notepad drawer. The few pages I’d filled in tell a story from 2017, and as always it’s interesting to see how much I’ve developed. (I’m not going to say changed as I know that at my core I’m still the same, but my outlook is very different.)

I took it with me on my travels, and when I found a quiet spot by the Seine I sat for a rest. Pulling out the book I started to leaf through the pages, stumbling across the following quote.

When in doubt, make a complete fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap”

Cynthia Heimel

The last word, aside from anything else, caught my eye. A Leap Of Faith is named because Sir has always encouraged me to take lots of these. Next I glanced down at the question.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you leap for?

There’s that word again. Leap. This time accompanied by a four letter f-word. Fail!

That got the cogs turning. I mulled it over as I chomped down on another segment of Satsuma.

Failure is possibly my biggest fear. When something is important to me I do everything I can to ensure I succeed. My brain can do somersaults and discover all of the possible points of failing before I’ve even hit a snag. Sir has suggested that, sometimes, getting stuck on the ‘what if’s creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel more comfortable having risks managed so I can skip over any bumps in the road with plan B, C and sometimes even D. I’m hardwired to want to succeed, to complete the tasks I’ve taken responsibility for.

Especially when these are for the man I hold in such high esteem.

Over the last eight years a change has happened in me, it’s been slowly creeping in, the feeling getting stronger with each passing task. I couldn’t put my finger on it until a conversation with Sir last year. I’d observed that he doesn’t seem to be a perfectionist. He’s too kind to himself and me when things don’t go to plan, my perfectionism comes along in great, self-loathing inner monologues. But he is gracious, calm and patient. He countered my thoughts by stating that he certainly is a perfectionist, but that his metrics may just be different.

For him effort is the key to success.

Not trying is what leads to failure in his eyes. I recall breathing a huge sigh of relief. Once I’ve agreed to a task for him I will always give it my best shot. His revelation about his expectations will never change that, but that day he gave me a valuable gift. If I wanted an easy life then being his submissive would never work for me. Being owned by him was never going to be without it’s challenges but the insights he shares with me… It’s through discomfort that growth happens.

My fear of failure remains, but I’ve redefined what this means to me.

More and more I find parts of myself that got lost during my marriage. By sharing myself with Sir, learning from him and growing under his care, I unearth the values instilled in me by my parents. Not the sexual side which, bless her, my mum just wouldn’t understand. But the schema which was imprinted on my soul from my earliest days, before getting glossed over by societal expectations.

Embracing the BDSM lifestyle, being challenged by Sir in the safe confines of our dynamic, facing my fears and redefining failure. All of this allows me to embody my authentic self.

Have I conquered my fear of failure?

Or just divided the fear into segments? Those I can have a direct impact on, and those that will take care of themselves. Earlier this year I did fail a task. I was sanctioned and, I’m not going to lie, it was horrid. But I trusted him to use the opportunity to teach me something. I learnt, among other things, that I can fail a task without being a failure.

Do I still get the adrenaline rush when I’m pushing my boundaries? Are there still times I get the fear tears? Is my internal chatter occasionally so loud it makes my brain ache? Yes to all of these, but with time, patience and practise, I have found new reserves. An untapped ability to stretch my boundaries. Not just for him. But for me too.

With all of this in mind, I want to come back to the question in the book. “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you leap for?”

Well, if I consider failure to be measured by lack of effort, then really I have no excuse to fail at something I commit to. And taking a leap (of faith) takes drive and commitment which means that I have no reason to fear failing in these situations. I do take stock of situations before accepting tasks (whether these are set by Sir, myself or other people) and if I have no genuine reason not to step up to the plate then I have no reason to fear failing as I progress. No, the outcome may not be as I’d hoped, but the journey will almost always be a success.

This is my first time following a prompt for Wicked Wednesdays Bingo– The final link up! I’m hoping I can get a full house before it closes.

Being owned makes everything less scary/more achievable for me. I love my new tee (pictured above) which I found at this months London Alternative Market. You can find lots of different designs and shapes on their instagram page: @kinkzclothing


  1. Thak you for this post, N. On Medium this week I wrote something about being addicted to the things I do, but as it goes when you think about these things, more thoughts came and it came to a point where I realized I don’t want to fail. Quitting is failure, right? Although, that’s how I always thought. Not anymore. You have grown so much over the years, and I love reading about it, as it helps me find words for myself too.
    ~ Marie xox

    1. Quitting has always felt like failure to me too. Sir taught me that it’s ok to change a plan if needed, and there’s no shame in that. I try and draw on his wisdom as much as possible.

      I think what I’ve learnt is that only we can define what failure means to us. I had a nightmare with the fourth round of the BFM. I couldn’t write anything (there was nothing on my blank page at 10pm) and almost dropped out. Thanks to a pep talk from May, and some soul searching I realised that I’d be failing myself, Sir and everyone who’d been knocked out so far if I just quit. So ended up submitting something. It may only have been a first draft, but it wasn’t as bad as doing nothing. I’m proud of that. N xx

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