Thursday 1 June 2023
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The Fear of Making a Mistake

Rayanne Thorn is a regular contributor to intrepidNOW, the mastermind behind #TheGist. She writes about how to combat and leverage fear to your very distinct advantage…

Rayanne Thorn, intrepidNOW, the GISTDecisions

Decision-making is a practice at which many of us are less than experts. It isn’t easy to have to make a choice, to select a direction when outcomes are uncertain. We often rely on our gut or our tenacity to be scrappy enough to get out of a mess we find ourselves in.

I have made a few decisions that cost me dearly. One, ultimately nearly cost me my life – more on that one later. Another nearly cost me my self-esteem. This is part of the story I tell today.

Not quite a year ago, I was approached via email, then phone by the CEO of a small software company with a mission to change the job search process for hourly-wage earners. I loved what they were doing and loved their message even more. I interviewed the CEO on my weekly radio show – so many great things to say, such a wonderful pursuit, to help others.

Not long after our digital conversation, I was approached again by this CEO, but this time to join his company to head up marketing, which I gladly did – our missions were aligned and I really liked everyone I met who worked for this same organization. A new experience for me was to follow, an experience which would forever change me.

The Fall

After nine weeks of travel, intensive learning, and thrilling work, I learned through a Skype video call that I and several other individuals were being “let go” from this company – the company I had just joined. I think “shock” would best describe my first feelings, but a pervasive sadness and disappointment soon took over. I had never been let go from a job before and I had never learned to love a job or team so quickly.

Why had this happened? What had I missed? I must have made a mistake somewhere along the way, it must have been me. 2014 will forever be marked as a year of heartbreak, my year of mistakes. I had left a job I loved for a job I thought I would love even more. Friendships had shifted and changed, some relationships impacted forever. And all of this only deepened the loss I had gone through from a broken engagement in January.

My Year of Loss

I pointed to all this loss as mistakes I had made, as the fault in my stars, just my fate. I must not be worthy of love, friendship, or a joyful, fulfilling career. And thus began a trepidation I had never known: the fear of making a mistake.

Interviews for new jobs were cloaked in this fear. Conversations with friends old and new were dripped with my inability to trust. And reconciliation with the man I loved was draped with what ifs. Fear, mistrust, and uncertainty are great debilitators. And debilitated I was, for months.

Getting Over It

I’m not sure I will ever be over it. I am sure I will carry the scars of 2014 with me forever. Conversations with friends and family were helpful. Many contemplative walks alone were necessary. And the love I felt from those around me, those I knew wanted the best for me, was imperative.

Last week, I married my true love and this week, I started a new job about which I am already passionate. These are my next chapters. And they will be lengthy.

Mistakes are for making

Someone once told me that the strongest parts of you are the parts that have been broken and then healed. If this were true, I would be pretty damn strong all over. I think the broken parts are the results of roads diverging in a yellow wood. We make choices, we move on. No stopping or standing allowed.

This is where we learn. This is where we grow.


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Rayanne Thorn works in hiring, strategy, marketing, and business development with technology companies and has held several high-level positions in the HR and recruiting technology space. She is the VP of Marketing at Dovetail Software and has been responsible for employment branding, hiring, employee engagement, employee retention, branding, marketing, sales, and partnership strategies in the past with TalentBrowser, Technomedia, Evenbase,, Broadbean Technology, and Select University Technologies, Inc. Earlier in her career, Thorn served as a business and search consultant, as well as an executive third-party and corporate recruiter. She has a Bachelor’s in Business – Organizational Development and Strategic Marketing from Vanguard University of Southern California.

6 thoughts on “The Fear of Making a Mistake

  1. Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator

    Perhaps you will have some scars, but I think you’ll find them fading much more than you expect! I’ve had some experiences that were tough and I’m always so pleasantly surprised when it stops or nearly stops 😉 bothering me a lot sooner than I thought.

    I hope that happens for you.

    1. Rayanne Thorn Post author

      Thanks Beth–
      The scars are there to remind me of where I’ve been and how far I have come. I’m actually thankful for the scars because I survived them: medals of honor, right?
      I appreciate your comment and will remember your words when that “phantom pain” appears – as it is wont to do! 😉

  2. Ty Sullivan

    I just love you my friend! You always bring it home on these great pieces of the Rayanne puzzle and life’s puzzles.

    Now, about that misstep that almost cost you your life? Partying with Guns and Roses in the late 80’s huh? 😉


    1. Rayanne Thorn Post author

      I just love you too, Ty!
      All will be revealed in good time – never fear… I wish it were as simple as a party in the 80s. HA!

      Thank for all your support!


  3. harmony

    Love this Rayanne! I’m so glad that 2015 marks a year of new beginnings. I’m so happy that things worked out with your true love! I think when stripped down to it’s essence life is about learning to choose faith over fear. And we all have our own journey to discover the power of faith, or be swallowed by the darkness of fear. One of my life missions is now to help as many people choose faith and joy as I can! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Rayanne Thorn Post author

      Hi Harmony!

      Thanks for the wishes and always being an example of family LOVE! My faith lies in what I have been able to overcome and the resilience and newfound personal power it has brought to me — if we are honest, we can see and say that life is rarely easy – it is a hill to climb always — and once you reach the peak? That is when we see the next hill just beyond.

      I’ve learned that the hills are only as big as I make them and that perseverance pays off – in dividends — for what is the alternative to persevering?


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