Get Rid of Your Fear of Failure Once and For All

Updated: Jan 21

Writing a book is a lifelong dream for many people, yet it seems out of reach. 80% of Americans have wanted to write and publish a book at some point — but fewer than 0.1% have done it.[1]

I write. Sometimes what I write is good. Sometimes it's excellent. But mostly, it isn't. That's okay, though. I keep writing to have those meaningful moments and savory sentences. One time, I read: "Writing is rewriting." Therefore, it takes many failed attempts at writing well to have a piece worth anyone's attention.


I used to be afraid of what others would think of my writing and me. I used to be paralyzed by perfectionism and fear of failure. I used to dream of writing a book, but I allowed my fear to sabotage reality.


No matter your dream or desire, you can let go of your fear of failure. How do I know? I know because if I can do it, you most certainly can.


About three years ago, I couldn't calm the whispering voice inside or tame the tug to write a book. I've always wanted to write a book, but it wasn't until about three years ago that I overcame the fear of failure.


Yep. For years, I feared what others would think of my words. I feared judgment and negative comments from putting myself out there. Well, guess what? Not anymore. Sure, I still cringe when someone states something less than positive about my printed words. But they'd find fault even if they were fabulously crafted. Why? Because I'm not everyone's cup of tea. That's okay. Not everyone is my favorite flavor either. But

There might be someone who benefits from what I have to share. So, I write.


Realizing that no matter what I do, someone will inevitably find fault helped me sail past the fear of failure. After all, what is the definition of failure? I used to think it was a one-and-done attempt. How foolish, right?


I mean, really? Nothing, absolutely nothing worthwhile, has ever been accomplished on the first attempt. I don't know why I thought I was any different. But I digress.


It all began with an idea and a dare.


It all started when my husband and I were chatting over Thanksgiving dinner preparations in the fall of 2018.


A week prior, I had to write five two-page essays for being Teacher of the Year. Some reward, huh? I asked a friend to edit the essays. She kept planting the write-a-book seed, "You really should write a book." she'd say.


The thoughts and themes began swirling, churning, and turning in my head. Then, in what felt like seconds over a meal preparation conversation with my husband, he led me to three of my core principles for being a warrior to all students. (We conversationally connect by cooking together.) I dashed out of the kitchen and grabbed a notebook and pen. My purple pen wielded an outline. A book idea was born. I promptly piled the idea in mounds of papers on my table in my home office space. The book overview got buried and forgotten.


New Year's day 2019 rolled around. My dear friend and I went out for a walk and shared our goals and dreams. We reflected on the past years' victories and failures. We encouraged each other and envisioned what the new year would bring with our intentional moves.


I shared my book idea with her. She challenged me to contact two publishers before the night was over. Well, I love a challenge. Done. I tapped out two email messages to two reputable publishers. It was scientific. I picked up two education-type books I owned from my bookshelf and gleaned who published them. Next, I looked up their email address and shazam. I sent the message. I honestly thought nothing would become of it. After all, it was just an idea. I didn't even have a book written. I didn't even know that writing a book proposal was a thing.


The next day, I heard back from both. The next thing I knew, I had a video conference set up with Dave Burgess, the captain himself and New York Times Best Selling Author of Teach Like a PIRATE. At the time, I wasn't on Twitter. I was naive to his edu-rockstar status. Thankfully. Had I known, I don't think I would have had the guts to pitch my book.


On January 16, 2019, I pitched my idea to an educational legend. He liked it. He encouraged me to go forward with the project. I did. But I rushed it with my own false timeline. I sent a proposal package to him and Shelley Burgess two months later. I labored and wrote an elevator pitch, introduction, and three chapters. Oh yeah, and an outline. I also had a few friends edit and provided feedback. I was emotionally sailing from their positive feedback, so I sent it.


I got a reply two weeks later: thanks but no thanks. What I wrote didn't fit future plans for Dave Burgess Publishing Company. However, Shelley Burgess encouraged me to keep writing and said I had some excellent ideas. She encouraged me to share my voice and find another publisher.

I felt crushed. Then I didn't.

I felt crushed that I didn't get to be part of the Dave Burgess Publishing Company family. I like their authors and wanted to be part of a like-minded group.


I wasn't crushed because Dave Burgess was the catalyst for fabricating my ideas into a book. I wasn't defeated because I reflected, researched, and reset goals. I repositioned words, and I reminded myself of the project's purpose. With reflection from rejection, I grew.


I studied how to write an elevator pitch. I learned how to craft words that draw in readers. I studied how to make my thoughts better. I revised and revised again. I removed words that passed judgment. I made it my mission to write words for you, the reader. Words to encourage, help, and motivate. I refocused my stories to be less about me and what I did to be more about the strategy and how it worked and how you can do it too. I refreshed my thoughts. I regrouped and rewrote an outline. I continued to write.


So, yeah. I was discouraged at first. But I moved on.


Rejection is redirection.

Don't ever let anyone define your dreams because they told you no.

Rejection made me a better writer and led me to a divine appointment with Jacie Maslyk at a Virginia Children's Engineering Conference. Jacie is a kind, caring STEM advocate and an advocate for all kids. I only knew her through Twitter until I met her face to face at that conference in February 2020. I boldly asked her if she'd read my book proposal for EduMatch Publishing. She agreed. She provided insightful, specific feedback that made the proposal and the book better. I'm forever grateful for our encounter and her kindness.


I tweaked and tweaked the proposal based on Jacie's input. So many times, fear set in again. I almost gave up. But thankfully, I didn't. I sent the proposal to EduMatch Publishing Company in April 2020. In June 2020, I met Sarah Thomas through a video call, and I knew that we were a perfect fit. I was over-the-moon thrilled to become part of the EduMatch Author Family. I love how Sarah emphasized that we were a partnership, and one of EduMatch's missions is to amplify all voices.


I knew immediately that my rejection had been a redirection to create something more beautiful.


Grateful doesn't seem strong enough to express my gratitude to Dave and Shelley Burgess for being the catalyst to my book project dream. Thankful doesn't even come close to the overwhelming welcome I received from EduMatch Publishing Company. Their belief in me is astounding.

If I'd let fear of failure continue to dictate my life, my book Be Their Warrior wouldn't be able to be a spark of hope and help in others' lives. You wouldn't be able to hold its powerful message in your hands.

So I encourage you to overcome your fear with action and rebounding.


Get Rid of Your Fear of Failure Once and For All

  1. Define the source of your fear. You have to name it to tame it.

  2. Think of opportunities you'll miss if you let failure stop you.

  3. Choose to see failure as an incredible learning opportunity instead of the end of an experience.

  4. Think- What's the worst that can happen when you try?

  5. Focus on what you have to gain by trying.

  6. Let go of control. The need to control is stifling. Perfectionism tells you that you have to get everything in order before moving forward. Perfectionism and the need to control all outcomes are paralyzing. Let it go. Excellence is a better companion. Excellence says I'll learn new things and do my best no matter the result. Excellence extends hope to learning and improving.

  7. Realize failure is inevitable. Anyone chasing dreams fails. The difference between achieving them and ditching them is in the rebound. Try again. Try a different way. Mistakes are for learning. Failure isn't final.

I don't know how it will turn out with my new book, but I know that I'm a better writer because of this journey.

And

Fear of failure no longer has a grip on me.


It reminds me of the time when I was eight. I wanted to whistle like my softball coach. I wanted a whistle that commanded attention and called children. I spent every day out on my back porch spitting, blowing soundless air across my teeth, tongue, and fingers. I'd reposition my fingers and try again and again. Sometimes I blew so much air trying to create a sound. I felt dizzy. My desire to whistle was insatiable. Day after day, I'd try again.


I startled myself with a piercing whistle that caused animals to pause and point their ears one day. I did it! Now decades later, I'm the envy on the playground. I'm the only teacher that can call the children to attention with my mouth and some moving air—no plastic whistle hanging from my neck. No way. Not necessary.


Who knows, maybe one day my writing will command attention like that because I didn't give up, and I overcame my fear of failure. At a minimum, I hope my writing helps someone. So, I write.


Because I didn't quit, I'm proud to say I'm among the 0.1% of Americans who have published a book. Be Their Warrior is now available. It's packed with relatable stories and doable strategies to help all kids succeed.


"Don't let disappointment rob your passion. Be the first one back up – real passion fights through adversity.”

{Tim Tebow, 2007 Heisman Trophy winner}


I'm cheering for you.

You make a difference!

💕Pamela


Learn about being STRONG & how to cultivate life-changing relationships with families and students in my new book. I share personal student stories and strategies for cultivating culture and community rooted in relationships. It's centered around amplifying all students' potential and unshakeable relationships that raise student achievement. Click here or the image to go to Amazon. 😃


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Resources:

  1. https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-write-a-book/

  2. Read more about Overcoming Fear of Failure here.