Life lessons

Fear of failure #FridayReflections

As part of work lately, I have been treating a fair few perfectionists. I consider myself a reformed perfectionist but in no way was I ever as bad as some of the kids I see these days. A lot of these kids base their entire self-worth on achievement. And for most, their achievement is the marks they get. Growing up in a country where marks were the most important thing ever during school, it’s almost surprising I didn’t become as paralysed as some of the kids I see today. Maybe it had to do with getting 1/2 out of 8 on a Geography test in Year 7. Or later, 7/40 in the Geography exam. Yeah, I failed miserably! And got into trouble from my parents for it. But it was okay. My world didn’t end. I just had to work harder for the next test.

While I may not be a perfectionist in that my self-worth is not necessarily determined by my achievements, I realise that I do have a fear of failure. It’s obviously no longer in the arena of exams but it still existed as I went through my Masters {although to be fair, I think postgraduate psychology breeds perfectionists and neuroticism!} In my current stage in life, I’m noticing an intense fear of failing when it comes to writing.

You all know I’ve been blogging for yonks! I have no problem writing here or my other writing blog. I’m open to feedback and criticism. But it’s putting my writing out there that totally scares me. After having one article published by fluke, I have not dared to venture into freelancing again. That article was back in 2014. A few months after I’d completed my very first Australian Writer’s Centre course on Magazine and Newspaper writing. Following that, I enrolled in a writing program at university and successfully completed it. Interestingly enough, I got distinctions in my Feature Writing and Freelance Writing units and credits in the creative ones. I actually did well in those. Around the time, I did a couple of other AWC courses in copywriting and advanced magazine writing. I really wanted to build a side career freelancing.

But you know what? I continue to be shit scared to pitch to magazines. I am so fucking afraid to set myself up as a copywriter. I have ideas for stories — young adult novels, women’s fiction and picture book — but I constantly doubt myself and don’t go far.

My friend Ashleigh wrote a post earlier this week and it made me smile. Because the podcast she refers to on the post was one I heard last year and I nodded along with it. Because like Ash admits, like the caller on the podcast, I too am on the runway but haven’t taken off.

I keep enrolling in courses {I’m still tempted to do more AWC courses!} but I don’t do anything with them.

I keep starting stories but go nowhere with them.

I blog a lot and love it but that’s it.

I have bought a domain name for a freelance copywriting business but have done nothing with the site.

I listen to So you want to be a writer and nod along but then don’t do anything with all the wonderful tips and tricks of the trade.

I have been reading magazines and seeing bylines by other freelancers and constantly think I’m nowhere near as good.

There is the constant self-talk of being “not-good-enough” and therefore failing at what I try to do.

The end result is that I don’t bother. But maybe it’s time to move past that fear. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and give it a go. By being cautious and afraid, I’m not doing what I love. I’m not living my life.

That in itself, is a failure.

So maybe it’s time to stop stalling on the runway and actually start flying.

Do you have a fear of failure? 

Do share!

Living my Imperfect Life

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away.

Write Tribe and yours truly give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Prompts for this week:

  1. If there was a time period you could visit for a day, where would you go? Write about traveling back in time to that day
  2. First impressions are not always right
  3. What if your mirror started talking to you? What would it say?
  4. “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 have failed by default.” – J K Rowling
  5. Picture prompt – credit Corinne Rodrigues

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Our featured writer for last week was Sunita aka Bellybytes whose poem of an empty swing waiting brought goosebumps.


***Also linking with Grace for FYBF***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

SANCH_sig1

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  • Dashy
    20 May 2016 at 12:34 am

    No matter how hard I try this fear keeps gmawing back into me. All the ‘what-ifs’ flooding my head makes it hard to focus.
    But yes, we learn from mistakes and don’t they say, whenever you fall, you pick something up. So with each fall you gain something new. All we need to do is keep going. Love JKR’s quote. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…The Train and Our Chance MeetingMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      20 May 2016 at 7:48 am

      Oh tell me about it…the what ifs are the worst! But in the end, life is a learning curve and we’ll keep failing and trying and learning and failing and trying again

  • Dashy
    20 May 2016 at 12:34 am

    No matter how hard I try this fear keeps gmawing back into me. All the ‘what-ifs’ flooding my head makes it hard to focus.
    But yes, we learn from mistakes and don’t they say, whenever you fall, you pick something up. So with each fall you gain something new. All we need to do is keep going. Love JKR’s quote. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…The Train and Our Chance MeetingMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      20 May 2016 at 7:48 am

      Oh tell me about it…the what ifs are the worst! But in the end, life is a learning curve and we’ll keep failing and trying and learning and failing and trying again

  • Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710
    20 May 2016 at 1:03 am

    I remember doing a post about fear of failure for the AtoZChallenge – K for Kakorrhapiophobia.
    I think that should give you a hint about my fear- getting a spelling wrong.
    As a writer, it’s important to pay attention to grammar, which I feel is quite okay with me, excusing the occasional mistake of tenses and active passive voice.
    But spellings? I find it repulsive if I find blog posts with spelling errors. And I notify the blogger about it if I can.

    I guess the only way of growing out of my fear of spelling incorrectly is carrying a dictionary along with me wherever I go? 😀
    Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 recently posted…Why did I grow up?My Profile

  • Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710
    20 May 2016 at 1:03 am

    I remember doing a post about fear of failure for the AtoZChallenge – K for Kakorrhapiophobia.
    I think that should give you a hint about my fear- getting a spelling wrong.
    As a writer, it’s important to pay attention to grammar, which I feel is quite okay with me, excusing the occasional mistake of tenses and active passive voice.
    But spellings? I find it repulsive if I find blog posts with spelling errors. And I notify the blogger about it if I can.

    I guess the only way of growing out of my fear of spelling incorrectly is carrying a dictionary along with me wherever I go? 😀
    Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 recently posted…Why did I grow up?My Profile

  • Ashleigh My Meow
    20 May 2016 at 8:33 am

    Why don’t you pick one thing to have a crack at? A book, the copy writing or pitching an article. Just get started. You have all the tools! No more courses. Fear is a stupid thing and comes in many disguises.
    Ashleigh My Meow recently posted…The RunwayMy Profile

  • Ashleigh My Meow
    20 May 2016 at 8:33 am

    Why don’t you pick one thing to have a crack at? A book, the copy writing or pitching an article. Just get started. You have all the tools! No more courses. Fear is a stupid thing and comes in many disguises.
    Ashleigh My Meow recently posted…The RunwayMy Profile

  • Vanessa
    20 May 2016 at 11:57 am

    I think I would need a clearer goal to be scared of failing!
    Vanessa recently posted…Out of the frying pan AND the fireMy Profile

  • Vanessa
    20 May 2016 at 11:57 am

    I think I would need a clearer goal to be scared of failing!
    Vanessa recently posted…Out of the frying pan AND the fireMy Profile

  • Leanne
    20 May 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I found Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” really helpful with this – she is really strong on the idea of creating for the love of it – not tying it to money or success or anything other than the pure joy of putting your thoughts down. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves and compare our success with others too much. Maybe it’s time to just do something for the love of it and be content with that? That’s what I’m working towards – great post Sanch 🙂
    Leanne recently posted…#9 Embrace ChaosMy Profile

  • Leanne
    20 May 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I found Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” really helpful with this – she is really strong on the idea of creating for the love of it – not tying it to money or success or anything other than the pure joy of putting your thoughts down. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves and compare our success with others too much. Maybe it’s time to just do something for the love of it and be content with that? That’s what I’m working towards – great post Sanch 🙂
    Leanne recently posted…#9 Embrace ChaosMy Profile

  • Deborah
    20 May 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Oh Sanch, I could so relate. I’ve had a few book reviews published in a regional newspaper chain (in a weekend insert). But I don’t get paid for them. I did the Magazine Writing course at AWC last year as well and am yet to pitch anything else. I’m just too scared.

    I know I should try to pitch reviews or something but… I can’t.

    PS. I’m definitely the sort to measure my worth on my achievements (sadly!) I was okay at school but had a high-achieving brother. My parents favourite story to tell was when I went into grade 8 (started high school) and had my first maths exam. I got 92/100 (was okay at stuff not requiring study) and my teacher said “Not as smart as your brother then?” I only kinda remember it now but mostly because my parents repeated it all of the time. They were saying it was a bad thing for the teacher to have said, but it also felt like they were boasting a little about my bro!
    Deborah recently posted…I didn’t buy a zoo. But I joined a gymMy Profile

  • Deborah
    20 May 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Oh Sanch, I could so relate. I’ve had a few book reviews published in a regional newspaper chain (in a weekend insert). But I don’t get paid for them. I did the Magazine Writing course at AWC last year as well and am yet to pitch anything else. I’m just too scared.

    I know I should try to pitch reviews or something but… I can’t.

    PS. I’m definitely the sort to measure my worth on my achievements (sadly!) I was okay at school but had a high-achieving brother. My parents favourite story to tell was when I went into grade 8 (started high school) and had my first maths exam. I got 92/100 (was okay at stuff not requiring study) and my teacher said “Not as smart as your brother then?” I only kinda remember it now but mostly because my parents repeated it all of the time. They were saying it was a bad thing for the teacher to have said, but it also felt like they were boasting a little about my bro!
    Deborah recently posted…I didn’t buy a zoo. But I joined a gymMy Profile

  • Sarah @sarahdipity
    20 May 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Yep, I pretty much could’ve written this post myself, can absolutely relate!
    Sarah @sarahdipity recently posted…Looking Forward, Looking BackMy Profile

  • Lata Sunil
    20 May 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Somewhat similar to yours though I am still not as good a writer as you. But some initial successes have left me with fear to try again for fear of failure. It would have been better if I had not had any successes. That way, I would have tried harder. Anyways, I have now decided to set the fear aside and write what I want. I decided to write for myself and if it is good, so be it.

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  • melanie
    20 May 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Hi, Fab blog! I have just set up mine, but still in the very early stages – a few months old. Just making efforts to link in with fellow bloggers to improve our followers and get the word out there for us both. I would appreciate you having a peek at my blog, as I have published several posts. Feel free to like, comment, follow or just take a peek. Thank you 🙂

  • Sunila Vig
    20 May 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Hmmmm such are we human beings….this mind is such a double edged tool. I have this fear of things not going the way I want them to, ie I try my best to make everything go in a way as to lead to optimal satisfaction, psychology has a term for it or a few but I do not like labels so I shall let that be 🙂

  • Bellybytes
    21 May 2016 at 10:35 am

    How true. Luckily for me I’m optimistic and my personal belief is nothing ventured ,nothing gained. I’m not scared of failing . I’m scared of NOT trying
    Bellybytes recently posted…Setting up for failure #Friday ReflectionsMy Profile

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  • Vinitha
    22 May 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I used to have the fear of running out of ideas. That’s why it took years and years for me to blog consistently even though I used to scribble poems and stuff since I was 11 years old. We all have the fear of this or that. And yeah it will take time to get over it. But the point is we are making an effort to get past our fear. Well articulated, Sanch. May you achieve everything you hope for! 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…This thing called Life!My Profile

  • Grace
    23 May 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I hear you! I’m the same! Pitching can be a very daunting, soul destroying process…and I’ve only done it a couple of times! I think the trick is to have loads of tenacity (which you have) and build a really thick skin. I think you can do it!
    Grace recently posted…FYBF – From Moonboot to medalMy Profile

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