I’ve been procrastinating lately.
I need to start a big project and keep finding other things to do.
When I took the time to think about it, I realized that my problem is that I’m afraid of failing.
Will it fly?
Will people like it?
Will it be good enough?
Maybe you’ve had the same questions as you’ve started writing a new book.
Have a little faith
I went in search of a little inspiration to help me overcome my fear of failure and found this gem from Michael Jordan: “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”
What if I never tried?
What if I never gave my idea a chance?
What if I always regretted not trying?
The flip side of this is a nice collection of negative “what ifs” that include my favorite: What if it fails?
And just for the heck of it, let’s throw in: What if I’m not the right person for this?
Making sure you’re not afraid to fail
Years ago, I presented a keynote speech on finding the courage to change. There’s a lot of fear around change. I told the audience that one of the secrets to overcoming that is simple: Before taking the leap that represents change, make sure your bungee cord is attached.
That bungee cord, in whatever form it takes, will keep you from hitting the ground.
I had to think about what my bungee cord might be.
What’s my bungee cord?
The project I’ve been procrastinating around is a new training program for authors. It’s going to take a lot of time to create, and I want the time I invest in this to really pay off. I want this course to make a difference.
I think you can relate. You want your books to have an impact, too, right?
So … how can I be certain it won’t fail? What’s my bungee cord?
It’s two things.
First, I can beta-test the course before releasing it. Honest, constructive feedback from the people I want to help can make a big difference.
Second, I can be flexible about the launch date. If feedback tells me I need to make a lot of changes, I want to have enough time to do that . . . and to do it well.
My bungee cord involves letting the process define the deadlines, rather than the other way around.
What’s your bungee cord?
Do you make sure your bungee cord is attached, too?
Author bungee cords can involve making sure people are interested in reading what you want to write, but they’re also often quality checks that can include:
- Beta readers for fiction
- Content reviewers for nonfiction
- Checking references for specialists you’ll hire — cover designers, editors, and proofreaders
- Professional development programs on how to write, publish, or market a book
I’m sure you can add to the list.
I think if we get outside input that helps us improve our work and take our time (rushing can be deadly!), we’ll be okay. Would you agree?
Bringing this back to the Jordan quote that inspired this post, what are you more afraid of — failing, or failing to try? Please tell us in a comment.
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