Thursday , 18 December 2014
One question I get asked pretty regularly when talking to other crafters, artists, and even by my friends, is “How do you do all that?”

A Rebuttal to the Fear of Failure

Balloon Print on Vintage Book

Balloon Print on Vintage Book | by: PRINT

One question I get asked pretty regularly when talking to other crafters, artists, and even by my friends, is “How do you do all that?” All that. What do I do exactly? Are they asking about my blog? My craft business? The craft fairs I organize? The online classes I teach?  The stores whose racks I stock with my pendants? The new crafty social club I am founding? The 2 part-time jobs I have? All of that? More? The house I keep? The garden I grow? The dogs I walk? The relationship I maintain with my husband? With my best friends? Yeah, I know I do a lot.

When someone asks me how I do it all, my stock answer is this: “I just do it.” And what do I really mean? What I mean is that it isn’t really a stock answer at all. It’s the truth.

I mean that I do things I want to have done. It’s really that simple and has no hidden meaning whatsoever.

If I want to do something, I do it.

What I’ve learned over that last year or so that this answer seems to un-nerve people. It makes them slightly uncomfortable in a way that I can see but that I don’t understand. Do I recognize what they see as a chance that I might fail? That if they tried to do it for themselves that they might fail? Aren’t I afraid of failure?

Of course I am afraid of failure.

The thing about failure is that you have to make it an option before it becomes and option. You have to define for yourself what failure is.

Do I fail when I go to a craft show and it costs me more to get there and set up than what I make back?

Do I fail when I take the time to blog  and I plead for comments and no one leaves them?

Do I fail when miss a deadline, fall short on a goal, or make a bad decision?

No.

If I never packed my car and drove to the show, I would have failed.

If I never wrote a blog post, ever, I would have failed.

If I never had a deadline to be late for, a goal set not to reach, or a decision not to make, then I would have failed.

The only failure I have defined for myself is making the mistake not to try.

Is it that bad if some one tells you no?

What happens if you never ask…

Is it that bad to loose a little money now and then?

At least you have money to loose.

Is your life going to change when you set goals, even if you know you might not reach them?

Think of all that you will learn along the way.

Yes, I am afraid to fail, but I’m more afraid of not trying.

I don’t want to live my life by playing it safe.

I don’t want to apologize to anyone for not trying.

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35 comments

  1. Great post…exactly what I needed to read this morning.

  2. Thank you so much for this today…….it is a great post and it is the kind of post I really needed to read right now.

  3. Great post, I’ve often taken on trying out a new design only to find that the technical aspects just don’t work. All that you need to do is adapt the design.
    Just because that one idea didn’t work doesn’t mean it was a failure, if I hadn’t have tried that I wouldn’t have ended up with the final piece that lay in front of me and the sense of achievement that I turned something that wasn’t going to happen into something that turned out to be a success.

  4. love this post!

  5. Always great to read your posts. This is very positive and just what I needed.

  6. I feel the exact same way. Thanks for voicing your thoughts on this!

  7. Brilliant! With a to-do list (of my own making, I might add) a mile long and the all-nighters that I have been pulling, people are asking me the same question. I like your answer. Hope you don’t mind if I co-opt that. A crafty social club? Wow. If I were where you are I would totally be into that! Thanks for the inspiration today! I am bookmarking this post!
    Enjoy the day.
    Erin

  8. As a young professional, aspiring artist and new crafter, I absolutely adore this message. I got so sick of wishing I had time to put creativity to action… and then I realized the time was there, I just wasn’t taking it. Great post. I think I will adopt it as a personal power statement: If I want to learn how to do something, I will. Carpe Diem!

  9. I am so happy that everyone is finding this message so inspiring! Your life really is in your hands, so if you aren’t happy with how things are going, change it! If you need time, make it! Thanks so much for all your comments so far! I really enjoy reading them!

  10. I just was asked to write a blog post–my first! Yikes.
    Now it all seems doable- I’ll see it as a new challenge.
    Thanks

  11. wonderful blog. i can SO SO SO relate as an Etsy seller! i have this irrational fear that as a designer and artisan, I have to push push push to get my creation out there to the masses, before anyone else does, so I make myself crazy by doing my craft morning, noon and night, neglecting my husband, animals, housework, meals, cooking, staying up till 6AM only to get up 4 hrs later…..all while working 3-4 days a week for my father. I am exhausted to the point of feeling sick.

  12. I get asked that same question alot. I also just do what I want to do and want to get done. Love your answer! Keep on doing! and if I lived closer I would love to join the crafty social club, too!

  13. Nice words of encouragement. It’s good to know one is not alone.

  14. Great post, thanks for the encouragement to carry on!!

  15. Very true! The only way to assure no results is to not try at all.

  16. I LOVE this.

  17. I love your perspective on failure! An awesome read!!!

  18. “I don’t want to live my life by playing it safe.”

    BINGO! You said this perfectly!

  19. Thank you for this!! I feel inspired to go do some things that “need” to get done!! I never thought of failure as the result of NOT trying!! BRAVO!! I feel so much better. Thank you Thank you!!!!!
    Lisa

  20. amen. i love it…i get asked the same question and i think you have just put my thoughts to paper. thanks.:)

  21. Stumbling upon this post today makes me feel like something, somewhere, is trying to tell me something.

    I’ve always wanted to sell my lil creations, but I never have. I’ve always been afraid that they wont sell, and I’ll feel silly and embarassed. I really needed to see failure in a different light, and you’re 100% right. It’s only a failure if I never try because I’m scared.

    Thank you so, so much.

  22. Very encouraging! To carry this with you is most important. So many ‘worker bees’ don’t understand what it is to be a visionary and go getter. If nubers don’t balance out they can’t understand where the success is.

    Thank you for this post … I totally feel you and you have given a boost of moral and confidence to those who need it. Hooray! :)

  23. Thanks so much for this article its very encouraging.
    The main thing for me in getting things accomplished is getting pics of my new creations and getting them on ETSY. Getting ready for a show used to make me panic then finally I TOLD ME “Enough is enough” and that final week I make sure everything is tagged set up in my travel boxes then I relax! You have a blessed day!

  24. Wonderful Article!

  25. This is beautiful! I soo needed this as I get ready for my very first craft show.
    Thank you ever so.
    I know i’ll learn a lot.

  26. Simply brilliant and something I have subscribed to for a while. You only fail if you never try. I always hear, “you have been BUSY” Where do you find the time?” I just do because I must. That is all there is to it. Do I sometimes not update my blog timely, yes. DO I get back to it? Yes. Does the idea well run dry sometimes, uh yes… Does something inspire me to get me back on board, yes. There are always more yes’s than no’s, if you choose them.

    Thanks for such a great article!
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SharonOrella

  27. I second all the above and more.
    Failure is not an option.
    Thanks!

  28. Hear, Hear!! Loved this post!

  29. Fab post.
    When people ask me what keeps me plugging at What You Sow, the answer is that I’m unwilling to let it fail and see these small steps as learning experiences helping me to reach my goal.

  30. Great post ! Thank you ! ;)

  31. A wonderful post! It’s a lesson in perseverance. It takes a strong person to go after something and keep working at it even when there isn’t feedback or instant gratification as a result. Thanks for your inspiring words today!

  32. I’m encouraged and I have such respect for your honesty about the fear that plagues every creative. Thank you for sharing!

    Avoiding failure is not the same as success.

    -the wisest fortune cookie I ever ate

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