Fear of failure is something that I think most writers live with. In order to work, we have to either be answering ads, pitching our services to prospective clients, sending our queries or writing and marketing our own products. Sometimes we get the gig, and other times we don’t.
Most of the time, we realize that we won’t get hired for every opportunity that we go after. Sometimes we can roll with the punches and shake off getting turned down for a gig, while at other times it can be upsetting to find out what the client didn’t feel that we were a good fit for the opportunity.
There isn’t any surefire way to conquer fear of failure entirely, but I like to use pictures in my mind to deal with it. I think of Failure as a creature that looks something like a dragon. Not sure why I chose that particular image, but the fact that it’s a mythical creature probably has something to do with it.
When I start to talk myself out of going after an opportunity that I know I am qualified for, I think about the thing that I’m afraid of – Failure – and I mentally start to stare it down. All I can do is present myself in the best way that I can, and after that point, the decision is out of my hands. The client decides whether I’m someone they want to work with or not.
I think it’s more challenging to deal with fear of success. It has to do with change. Deep down, people don’t like change. You may have gotten hired for the gig, but now you have to prove that you can perform at a higher level. When you pull it off, there may still be a part of you that doesn’t feel deserving of the money, recognition, prestige, or what have you. The success you have achieved is stressful.
I don’t have any magic solution to the issue of fear of success. I know that taking action is a way of dealing with fear. If there is an opportunity you want to go after, do it. If you get hired, give the client your best effort every time. And don’t let fear – of either failure or success – hold you back.