We’ve all heard about the fear of failure and the fear of success, this is not a new topic, however, what about outside pressures?
If you’re a writer hoping to become a published author, or you’d like to start your own business, you’ve probably been through the following scenario. You share your plans with others, then feel like a failure when things take longer than expected while you’re in the process of accomplishing your goals.
I’m here to say, “Don’t.” “Don’t allow pressure from anyone, especially parents, close friends, a spouse or even your kids make you feel like a failure because you’re still in the process of following your dreams.”
You will always find those who say, “That will never work,” followed by “I told you so,” when things aren’t proceeding as planned, but that’s exactly when you need to step up to the challenge and keep going. Please don’t allow negative comments to influence your desire to follow through with your goals.
I listened to the video above where Dr. Regina Dugan, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), speaks about how fear of failure can limit success. DARPA is the agency that gave us the GPS and the Internet, as well as other now-everyday technologies. Dr. Dugan says they encourage their researchers to fail because you cannot have a big success without failures, and you cannot fear failure in order to have a big success. (Dr. Dugan talks about failure, success and risk taking at the 3:20 mark.)
You can find more in this article by Russell Bishop, “Is the Fear of Failure Holding you Back.”
I hope you’ll keep pushing through all the challenges to succeed with your dreams and not allow other voices, not even your own, to stop you.
I think I have a bigger fear of success than failure. I can't get out of my own way at times. I'm working on it though.
Thanks for sharing this!
I agree. Every time we fail, we should pour ourselves a drink and toast our magnificent failure!
Penelope J. says
Sonia, This is a good subject and I'm glad you brought it up. It's especially relevant to writers like me who, after receiving numerous rejections, have to keep going and not give up, or give in to pressure, or feel like a failure.
Rather, when we fail, we should be reminded that we learn from our failures rather than from our successes. How many attempts did Thomas Edison make to invent the light bulb? Over 1000. And each time, he felt he was getting closer but just had to stick to it. He got there in the end, didn't he?
So it's a matter of sticking with what we truly believe in.
I've been on both sides of this fence.
After 39 married years I do and react
the way I feel compelled–whether or not
the outcome is successful. It's a crap shoot
most of the time. Can't stifle my creative
Janet | expatsisterhood.com says
My goal is to get my writing career up and running in the next year. I'm hoping that is realistic. Taking each step of a plan is an exercise in courage.
Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says
Hi Sonia, you have to be careful who you share your dreams with because sometimes other people don't support them. Even family and friends who want you to succeed may discourage you because they're scared you may fail!
I think we all fear something: the unknown, whether or not we admit it.
I love that concept.
I think all writers struggle with that fear and the good news is we can say, "It was so much easier before the publishing industry changed." Isn't that a nice feeling?
Robert the Skeptic says
Fear of failure is a major disincentive to risk-taking. Yet when you look at the US Space program, you see there were huge numbers of failures before there were successful flights.
My experience for a short while taught me the difference between taking foolish risks and "calculated" risks. Statistically I was in more danger being killed driving to and from the Drop Zone than from the skydiving activity itself. The trick is to be able to identify the level of risk, and therein the potential of failure.
I've had lots of successes, and lots of failures. I'm still afraid of failure, because of the very public nature of my work as a writer (and, before that, broadcaster).
I've run several businesses successfully. But I'm really not a good business person. I'm a people person, which has a different "skill set."
I think most of us have been on both sides. Glad to hear that you always stay true to your creative side.
Thanks for coming over. I've heard many authors suggest starting with 15 minutes a day so it becomes a habit and then you can increase your writing time. You can do it.
I'm realizing that with my father. I think his generation is all about working the 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. lifestyle in a cubicle and Chris Guillebeau would not be able to change him.
How do you measure failure Rob? Are you being too tough on yourself? Do you mean articles rejected?
@Robert the Skeptic
I always enjoy your practical approach to issues: weighing the pros and cons, using statistics etc.
Great post! There is also the issue of the pressure that we put on ourselves to perform and achieve…and then letting ourselves down.
I agree – failure is essential if we are to appreciate success.
Gutsy Writer says
Teachermum, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are officially the first person to comment on my new blog which I’m launching today. I’m learning WordPress so please come back and visit.
Thanks for encouraging us ! I’m facing that problem exactly at the moment : there’s something I can’t make up my mind on because of a lack of positive reactions around me ! Therefore it takes far longer than expected to decide, which means I feel a bit like on a desert island !
Gutsy Writer says
That’s happened to me too, and I believe if it’s something that’s important to you, you have to be true to yourself and fulfill your dreams. Just my opinion. Thanks Carol for your comment.
jotter girl says
Success or failure come to me
jotter girl says
Opps I guess I failed at my comment because I pushed send submit too soon!
What I wanted to write was, success or failure come to me either of you. My fear is not reaching either one. Not doing. Not finishing.
jotter girl recently posted..Your secrets and mine are safe with me.
Gutsy Writer says
We all go through the procrastination phase and then all of a sudden things fall into place and we’re on a roll. I’m sure you’ve had those moments, if not, tell yourself, “Just do it.” I love that phrase, and sometimes when you don’t think too hard about what others may think, you just go for it. Thanks for the comment Jotter girl.