“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I love to read the comments in each of my posts. It helps me better understand where you, the reader are coming from, what you’re thinking and feeling, and where you want to be in life.
I recently received a comment from my Happy Shoes post. The person seemed skeptical about the possibility of everyone in the world finding the perfect job for them. They also mentioned that I left out the downside of pursuing your dreams: the high potential for failure.
This comment resonated with me so much, I decided to address it, because the reader was right. There are thousands of blogs out there that talk about living the life of your dreams, quit your job and do what you want, riches and happiness are right around the corner. Those blogs often forget to address some big realities.
The biggest reality is that we have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and hopefully a little vacation every now and then. How can we risk the security we have with our careers or jobs to pursue something that may or may not work out? What if we walk away and then fail at what we try?
There it is. A fear of failure.
This fear is driven by a deeper, very conscious concern that we will not have our needs met if we fail. And we should fear that to a degree! That fear of not having our basic needs covered keeps us moving forward. It also keeps us from doing ridiculous things.
However, we should not let that fear of failure keep us from trying to better ourselves and our lives.
If you are miserable at your job, it is actually more insane to keep working there than to try something new. But you gotta eat, right?
That is why I am a big believer in part-time entrepreneurship. I believe you can, and should, try to start doing something you love, care about, or feel strongly for while you are still working your normal job. I know that for most people, time is a problem. After all, some of you may have families you need to spend time with.
I get that. So, here’s a little transparency to show you that time should not be your problem. I work a full-time job at a school that is 45 minutes away from my house. That means I have to wake up fifteen minutes early every morning to get a little writing done. I take a little time and my lunch break to write. And when I get home, I try to put in an hour if I can.
It’s hard. But by squeezing little bits of time here and there, I am able to keep writing books, blogs, and interacting with my awesome community when I’m not working. As a result, I have written six books, and over a year’s worth of blog posts on my site and others.
By doing things in my spare (very spare) time, I have eliminated the worry of failure, but have been able to slowly build something I love.
There is one other point I would like to make about failure. While we should have a healthy fear of not having our needs met, we should not fear failure itself.
What do I mean by that?
See, failure is an important part of the process. When I wrote my first book, very few people bought it. I could have stopped right there and given up, but I didn’t. I went on to re-write it, and create more books to follow it.
Thomas Edison created the lightbulb over a thousand times, failing every time until he finally got it right.
Push through your failures, see what you’re doing wrong, and do it better.
I believe that everyone in this world can reach a place in their professional lives where they are happy. For some, that means they are working in a cubicle, running reports, filling in data sheets, or doing whatever it is that people do in a cubicle. For others, mowing lawns makes them happy. Some may enjoy building homes. Others could get satisfaction from starting a business.
Whatever it is that will make you feel complete, energized, happier, more fulfilled, that is what you should do. It won’t always be roses and lemonade. But failure is part of the journey that leads to a better reality.
I’d love to hear what you think. What are some failures you’ve had? What are some of your fears?