I was reading Sammie’s latest edition of She’s so inspiring and bam like that I was as always knocked over by the amazing women Sammie has met or crossed paths with in some way through her life. Kylie Travers is this sensational woman who has overcome so much and refuses to allow her past experiences define who she is today (short version!) Long version check out Kylie’s website or the medium version is Sammie’s blog.
Sammie asks the same questions every week and there is always a take home message in there in one of the answers or sometimes more than one take home message! My A-Ha moment reading this morning was in Kylie’s answers to “Words to live by”. Kylie had a few answers here the one that stands out for me is “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” This is me! I am so scared of failure that I get frozen by it. I rarely fail at things not because I am exceptionally wonderful but because typically I limit myself to things that I know I can do and do well. Anything that is outside my little box of skills that I consider to be really good I fear, I freeze and I will come up with every reason why not to do something.
I have been reading over past journals today and my dear psych who saw me through a lot last year put to me what is success and what is failure. I did some work around this notion of what I consider to be success and failure. You see I have a few books I want to write – yes I know you all know this because I bang on about it all the bloody time, but I don’t actually do anything! I talk about being a writer a lot but honestly apart from the posts here I don’t write anything much. I have it in my head that unless my books are going to make it to the New York Times Bestseller List to be read by millions then why bother? I don’t want anyone else to go through the heartache I put myself through so I want the world to read it. I have written down that it was put to me that just because something is on a best seller list does not mean I would be successful. Because I would move the goal posts in my head. Just as equally just because anything I write doesn’t end up on a best seller list or not read by many does not mean that I am a failure. I may never see the fruits of my work. It is highly unlikely that I would ever know if anything I write makes a difference and I need to be ok with that.
I replied to Sammie that I had recently discovered Kylie (well the truth be told somehow she discovered me) and followed me on twitter at the beginning of July, I am still unsure how she came across me or what was there that made Kylie click follow! I also said I am still really in discovery mode of Kylie but I wish more than anything I could let go of that fear of failure. Sammie replied to me (as she always does she’s totes awesome like that and making you feel special and her only reader!) and said to me “but I won’t fail…not if I try!” That has had me thinking and pondering all day long.
Every time it popped into my head I really thought about it and the only way that I can truthfully fail is to not attempt it in the first place. If I try and if I give it my everything then I haven’t failed. If I do write a book or two or three or whatever, and it gets knocked back or edited beyond the point that I recognise it as my own I haven’t failed it just means that it wasn’t right for now. My words weren’t the right fit. I guess because the stories I want to tell are deeply personal to me. One is not my story at all but a story I have said forever that I would share in a book for a dear friend. That story is one I don’t want to stuff up at all.
The other thought that popped into my head all day after reading this was “what if you fly?” I honestly thought this was from a movie! I can hear someone saying this in my head! I have searched this quote today and it turns out it is from an Australian poet who wrote this when she was 19yrs old! Erin Hanson wow is all I can say. You know you have made it when there are quite honestly thousands of memes using your poem! The full poem is:
The more I think about it, this rings true. My fear is holding me back because I am thinking and imagining the worst case, what if I do all this work and no-one reads it, or it is complete rubbish or worse still the passion and the emotion doesn’t come through. If this is one side of the coin then the opposite must be true as well.
“What if I fly?” What if it is great, what if it does get read, what if a river of tears are shed because of the connection to the story? This honestly scares me as much. Who is scared of success? Me that is who. So that leaves me stuck in the middle, in limbo. Not falling but most certainly not flying either!
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?