'No Guts. No Glory' 28 05 2020

The first time Mrs Beeby asked me to write a blog post I pretended I hadn’t heard her. Then the email came through.  I chose not to do anything with it. Then Mrs Beeby approached me and said that I really should write a blog post. It was then, when we were alone together that I just told her the truth. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to write a blog and the reason that I didn’t want to is because I had read the others written by brilliant writers, not like me, or so my mind told me. There it was again. That old familiar feeling that I have been plagued with my whole adult life came to me. I wouldn’t be any good at it. Everyone would see I wasn’t any good at it and I would be embarrassed.

So, how are you reading this blog post now; the one that I had decided I wouldn’t be writing?

Whilst out running; where I do all of my pondering, processing and thinking about things, it came to me. This familiar and old friend of mine. This feeling of fear that is always willing to be so present should be exactly what I write about because I am quite sure I am not the only one who knows him.

I contemplate on why this feeling is so prominent in so many of our daily thoughts. I wonder if there is a psychological component that makes us wired this way, or is there an environmental component that predates adulthood and goes back to our childhood?  Throughout our lives negative situations can trample over our confidence.  But I also know that this fear of not being ‘good enough’ can be both exhausting and quite frankly boring.

This feeling ingrained itself deeply into my mindset, I would say, from my teens. Whatever I achieved I rarely felt content with the outcome. I performed well in my exams and then at university and then I found the thing I think I am best at and enjoy with gusto; teaching. It is something I love. When I teach I feel at home. I feel so lucky and so privileged that every day I get to be with these young people with such incredible minds and who see things with such clarity and vibrancy. They demonstrate to me daily how to see life in its fullest colours.

When we fear that we are not good enough at something we make excuses for ourselves until we reach the point that we feel ready. But this can be an unbreakable trap because we never cross the finish line to readiness. Some people might go their entire lives preparing themselves without ever testing their skills in the real world.

And so, when I only ever expect effort from these young people, and never for one moment do I not think that each and every one of them has the power to do incredible things, are we often so harsh on ourselves? I want the children that we care for at LPW to have high expectations of themselves and others around them, but not so impossibly high that they can never be reached. The added stress that exists now for these young people is of having to present the right image publicly too. I don’t ever want my daughter or anyone that I care for to ever have this default. It is not productive and it is not helpful.

I hope through expressing ourselves and our feelings that we realise that we are not alone in our struggles and that we learn to give ourselves a bit of a break. If that is the only way to accomplish or to do something that is worthwhile then one must risk failure and take action. And so, if this is an awfully written blog then may I consider it part of the growth process, part of my training, to write a slightly better one next time. Indeed – ‘No guts. No glory.’

Francesca Milling