If you link the outcome of failures to your self worth – you are bound to feel like a failure. You are NOT your book! This is vital to overcoming the fear of failure.
Treat failed attempts as feedback.
How do you react to criticism? If you become aware of a strong reaction, try taking a step back and thinking objectively. It might be because you’re connecting who you are as a person with your work, goals etc. Your drives might be fuelled by emotion – that’s fine – but it’s good to distance the outcomes and criticism, from your identity beliefs.
I published my debut novel last year, I got some good reviews, a few bad ones, I didn’t sell many copies. So? Does that mean I’m a failure? No. What have I learned from my self-publishing experiment? A whole heap of stuff.
I view my debut novel as an experiment. Why? Because whether or not that experiment was a success or failure, it does not matter, because I have learned from the experience so I can do better next time. My book is not me. I AM NOT A FAILURE. I can only learn from experience and get better from it.
There’s no such thing as a failed experiment. Sure, it might not have achieved the desired outcome, but you’ve figured out what didn’t work. You’ve learned.
Labelling an outcome as a “failure” is one thing, choosing to attach that label to who you are as a person takes you down a whole other path!*
The book is no longer available for different reasons, but If I viewed that book as a failure, and viewed myself as a failure, it might have put me off publishing ever again. Self publishing was a huge learning curve, and now I know how to do better next time.
If an action fails to produce a desired result, find out why and make any necessary changes accordingly.*
Smashwords founder Mark Coker advises people not to pull their books, but to work at making it sell. It’s not like it’s taking up shelf space.
Write more. Read More. Try harder. Learn from your experiments and keep on growing! Start re-framing failure as feedback, and mistakes as learning experience. It will become easier to make decisions and mistakes, since you can no longer fail – only experience, learn and grow!
I hope you enjoyed this article, thanks for reading!
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*source – The Fear Of Criticism – Way Of The Dave
Future articles in this series:
- The Seeds of Fear and Self-Doubt – The Fear of Criticism
- “What if No One Likes My Book?” Fear of the Unknown
- “My Book is a Failure – that Means so am I.” – The Fear of Failure
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others