I know fear of failure (let’s call him FOF) intimately. FOF nearly paralyzed me during my early years of writing fiction. But I’m learning how to live with FOF because he can actually be a handy roommate.
FOF likes to sit on my shoulder so he has direct access to my ear. He’s a mind reader, so whenever I have the slightest doubt about whether I can do something, he’s right there to say, “You may as well start biting your nails right now, because you’re gonna blow it!”
After pondering his dire prediction, I say, “You could be right, because I’ve blown lots of things in the past. But in the process, I’ve learned the right way to do many of those things. So thanks for reminding me my mistakes help me build the path to my success.”
He hates it when I turn his lemons into lemon meringue pie. But he loves to bait me when I’m writing. “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag,” he says, “or plastic!”
So I’m forced to correct the little guy. “Remember that reader who wrote to me saying how much she loved my story and how she could relate to it? That’s because I pushed myself to go above and beyond when writing that story. In fact, you just gave me a great idea for how I can do that with this story. Thanks!”
Still, he never gives up. He tried to shoot me down with his two cents when I started writing this. “You’re gonna write a blog post about me? About a little dude who sits on your shoulder and talks to you? They’ll think you’re nuts!”
“No, they won’t, because everyone has a FOF on the shoulder,” I said. “You guys just don’t want us to talk about you because you’re afraid if we do, we’ll realize how many people have succeeded despite their FOFs.”
He cowered and clammed up. I know I’ll never shut him up for good, but the older and wiser I get, the smaller and weaker he gets.
Since this is the week for giving thanks, I really should show him some extra gratitude for motivating me to always do my best. Maybe I’ll throw him a turkey bone.
How about you? Have you hugged your FOF today?