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Fear kills more dreams than failure ever does. Failure can teach you how to improve and what not to do. But we rarely talk about the fear of success, so let’s do that.
One of the things that I do at the turn of the year is to start setting up my planner for the next year. This year required a lot of introspection and review, so I grabbed all of my bullet journals dating back to 2016 and went through them too. Let me tell you, there are a lot of unmet goals and forgotten dreams. There are a lot of reasons for these unfulfilled ideas, and the…let’s call it “unstable” climate of the United States certainly played a large part of that, and this last year has really twisted the knife in the freelancing work in the gaming industry that I’ve been able to pick up.
Sitting in the back corner of my brain, and often sidling up to me when I least want it, is paralysis, and since we need a tulpa to focus our thoughts on this, let’s call them Pat, the Paralysis Platypus (related to the Phil, the Procrastination Puffin). Now, I am no stranger to paralysis and being unable to start on a project because of it, because I can’t seem to gain the momentum needed to take that first step, but this particular flavor of immovability is: the fear to start on my own work.
Now, I’m not afraid of failing on a project. That’s a part of the overall learning process, and experience has taught me that I will learn more from a failure than a success. That’s not what is at the heart of this particular issue.
I have spent most of my adult life working for other people, fulfilling their needs, their projects, and making their dreams come to life. But when it comes to my own projects, liz.exe stops working. It’s like I can’t get it beyond “Hey this would be cool” into making it, and then the necessary part of selling it. I can sell like a madwoman when it’s something I like and am passionate about, but promoting myself? I turn into a toddler asking “why” incessantly. It’s the constant juggling of “work on this thing that *will* make you money” with the “work on the thing that you love that *might* make you money.”
There are only so many hours in the day, after all, and time is money, friend.
Now, my past experience has told me that when I create the things that I love, other people will love them too. Numerous artists have also taken the risk to do the same thing, with great success. Somewhere out there, there is an audience for your work, it’s just trying to find them.
This is where the fear of success comes in. What happens when I actually…finish a project? Usually, you immediately jump into the next one. You’re only as good as your last project. So, my mind is stuck in this loop: afraid to get started because I might actually like what I do, but not have the time, money, or energy to actually properly promote it, to actually recoup my costs in creating it.
Work on the assured thing through contract work (which as previously mentioned, is not great right now), or work on the less sure thing and lose money if it fails.
There is a saying that everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear. Whether that fear is because of failing, or from succeeding, is the real question.