Let me start off this post by saying that I hardly feel qualified to talk about overcoming fear in general, let alone the fear of failure. You see, all my life, I’ve affectionately referred to myself as a “scaredy cat.” I’ve always been afraid of new experiences, the unknown, and risk-taking as a whole.
And yet, since starting my blog and my Etsy businesses, I’ve found a strength in myself that I never knew was there. I’ve found courage and bravery in the midst of my fear. It’s like Franklin Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” I’ve found what’s important to me, and so I press on even when I am afraid. But the fear still lingers, and it can be absolutely paralyzing. It’s the fear of failure.
I’ve had a lot of failure in my life, but instead of listing them all out, let me tell you a recent one: I failed to be accepted into the Amazon Affiliate program. The links on my site didn’t spur enough purchases, and so once my trial period was over, Amazon said, “nah, you failed at bringing in enough sales. No more affiliate program for you for a little while.”
That one stung. When I started my blog, I had such lofty dreams of what it would be and how I could eventually turn it into a living through methods like affiliate links. But, like I said, I failed. It wasn’t just that I failed affiliate marketing; it was a reminder that I epically failed to reach the goals I had set for myself both here and with Etsy. I had sincerely hoped I would be able to make a sustainable income off the two by March of 2020. Considering March starts in just a few days, it’s safe to say that I definitely didn’t meet that goal.
So yeah, I failed.
Fortunately, I’ve also succeeded. I’ve succeeded at failing.
You’re probably laughing at this point, or you’re just closing out of the site because you think I’ve lost it. Succeeding at failure isn’t exactly something worthy of praise, right? Failure is failure. But trying and learning is success.
J.K. Rowling put it this way: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
The scaredy cat in me wanted to live cautiously, so that I could never mess up and never have to face the consequences of failure. A few years ago, I would have been too intimidated by the idea of failure to even try something as absurd as running a blog and an Etsy shop. Now though, I’m not so afraid of failure. I’m more afraid of doing nothing and failing by default.
Fear is a powerful motivator. It can also be a powerful paralyzer if you let it. Instead of taking that route, let your fear push you forward. Instead of being afraid of what happens if you fail, be afraid of what happens if you don’t fail. Because if you don’t fail, you don’t grow. You don’t get the chance to see what you’re made of and how you rise from the ashes of defeat.
Personally, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully get rid of my fear. But I won’t let it stop me or hold me back. Instead I’ll face my fears, find my courage, and forge ahead. Hopefully you’ll do the same.