Reader QUIT: Fearing Authority Figures (by Courtney)

Growing up, I was nothing short of an awkward child, and I absolutely love and embrace that fact about my past. But something changed when I turned 13.

To rewind, I grew up in a home with a very strict, conservative, yet comical father. When I was younger and didn’t know any better, I would run around the house and say, write, draw, create whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I came up with the best ideas for fiction stories, and the world was my oyster!

But something changed when I entered those middle school years and was supposed to “know better.” Upon turning 13, my father realized that I was at that age where you start to “learn stuff”: drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. And for him, there was NO WAY his daughter was going to be a screw-up.

So, he began to shorten the leash on my life, and I felt like he was more of my parole officer than my father. I feared him, and he made sure that I did. I lived my early teenage years, and even some of my college years, in fear. I constantly feared that if I took one step out of line, if I made one mistake, did one thing that he wasn’t happy with, well, that would be it for me! I’d be completely cut off.

I’m happy to report that now, I no longer fear my father quite as much as I used to. But, fearing  authority figures has taken residence in my brain and has caused me to put so many limitations on the actions that I take on a day-to-day basis.



For example, I recently started my first professional job out of college, which involves a lot of branding and copywriting. My job is to basically make the company look good through the sentences I string together on social media and in the promotional content that I create.

However, whenever I sit down to write something, my mind freezes. Sure, I can put a few ideas together, but all I can seem to think about is my boss standing over me saying, “That’s not right! Change this! Change that! That’s not how we do things here!” I’m so afraid of disappointing her, and what she could do to me if I disappointed her too much, that my creative juices are gone.

Even as I’m writing this, I fear that my boss (or worse, the CEO of the company) will find this blog post, bring me into their office, and lay down the law. I can’t even begin to describe how many nights I’ve tossed and turned over the thought of: If I write that blog post and they find it, I could get in MAJOR trouble. I could get called into their office and lose my job! Or: What if a coworker finds this and rats me out? I mean, it’s not like I’m bashing the company I work for—heck, I haven’t even mentioned their name! But, what if?

Now, you may be thinking, she probably just has a scary boss. Ha, no. I’ve always feared upper-level management, even with bosses I’ve felt completely comfortable around. I’m always afraid that if I say or write something that gets taken the wrong way, their view of who I am as a person will completely change. I don’t even want to admit how many minutes I usually spend on simple “hey there” e-mails.


I Need to Do This!

I have to stop fearing authority! Why? Because it’s taking over my life!

When I fear authority, I’m not as creative as I could be. My ideas center around “the safe bet,” which, as any CEO or entrepreneur can tell you, won’t get you anywhere!


How Am I Going to Go About This?

Well, it wasn’t until recently that I figured out a baby step solution: apologize. What I mean is, if I come up with a fantastic idea, I’ll write it down, share it, and if it gets rejected, I’ll apologize afterward. An awesome coworker of mine recently told me that it’s easier to throw your ideas out there, make a mistake, and then apologize than withhold information that could’ve possibly moved the company forward, gotten you some praise, a promotion, etc.

But, overall, the biggest change that I need to make is to start believing in myself. I know that I’m a good writer, and I know that I can always improve through practice, but I have to learn that I can’t be afraid of my own creativity. Through past internships and jobs I’ve had, I’ve written amazing content that has been displayed on websites and featured in news articles. I have to remember that the company I currently work for would not have hired me if they didn’t think I could bring some sort of value to their organization.

And, if my content and creativity doesn’t end up meeting the company’s needs, then I have to remember that there’s an organization out there that will embrace my ideas, creativity, and quirky personality! I am worth it!


New Beginnings Start Here!

My challenge to eliminate my constant fear of authority begins today! Wish me luck!


CourtneyCourtney is strong, ambitious, and ready to take on the world with her words! As an up-and-coming blogger, Courtney is ready to share her insights on life that will hopefully make you laugh and your day a bit brighter. Check out her blog here and visit her on Twitter @Courtney081490.


Interested in submitting a Reader Quit of your own? Check out how here.


Image: Viewminder / Flickr

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  • Cordelia’s Mom

    Why do you feel you have to apologize when an idea of yours is rejected by the person you present it to? You own your ideas. If the other person has a different viewpoint, that’s his/her right, and my personal opinion (for what it’s worth) is that you could simply acknowledge the difference in opinion, without groveling in any way. Perhaps you could simply say something like, “If that idea doesn’t work for you, let me see what else I can come up with.” Probably the other readers here who have more social savvy can come up with a better way to put it …
    In any event, I’m sure we’ll all be rooting for you.