The Fear of Failure

By Adrienne Tucker, CAPP

“Do not fear failure but be terrified of regret” – Deshauna Barber, Ms. USA – 2016.

“Amen!” I shouted as soon as she said those words.  Sure, she was giving a commencement speech and not talking about parking, but something was nagging at me.  The fear of failure.  Of course, no one wants to fail or be called a failure.  But can true growth come if you have not failed at least once in your life?  Why is it so hard for us to admit when we have failed?  Is it our culture, our industry, our ego?  Maybe all three?

Recently I found myself in a room filled with some of the brightest and most energetic minds in our industry.  I was one of two CAPPs and when asked about my experience taking the exam, I admitted that I failed my first attempt.  I stated the statistic that roughly 60% or so fail the exam the first time around, and it is not an easy test.  But IPMI as an organization does a wonderful job of showing you where your gap in knowledge is and how to prepare to retake the test.  You would have thought I broke one of the ten commandments by the way a few people were looking at me.  I was quickly intercepted with an, “If you study and you know what you are doing, you won’t have any problems,” as if my answer was not a palatable one, and I was not setting the best example.

Well, ok then.

Personally, I do not want to sit at the table with someone who is “perfect.”  Tell me about the time you were let go or fired from that one company.  Tell me about the account you lost, or the project that failed, or that event you botched.  I want to hear about the messiness.  What did you learn from it?  How did it make you feel?  There is something comforting in knowing that you are not alone.

And yes, I re-took the exam.  Yes, I earned my CAPP, and I hung the certificate on my wall just as proudly as I would have had I earned it the first time around.

Adrienne Tucker, CAPP is parking manager for the City of Manhattan, Kansas.