Considering

Many thanks to all of you for your support as we begin this adoption journey. We had a fantastic meeting of Friday with our social worker and we are now on our way. Although adopting from India is difficult, we will have an easier time of it because Vijay is a Person-of-Indian-Origin. So that was a nice piece of news to hear!

As I was curled up on my friend’s lovely window seat this weekend (see above for textile love!), I began thinking about the concept of failure and success, and how they apply to a creatively self-employed person, such as myself. Many of these feelings are coming out of the morning pages that are a part of The Artist’s Way. Each morning I find myself spewing all kinds of thoughts having to do with failure and stresses…why is that?

I think part of the reason that I fear failure is because I cannot define it. If you have a job in a traditional office setting, you are given yearly goals, there are annual review meetings, your company has a mission statement… all of these guidelines are in place to help you assess your success as an employee. When you work for yourself, especially in a creative profession, there are no review meetings, no bosses holding you to a set of standards. All of your goals are self-prescribed.

This can be difficult because my goals are always changing, always shifting. When one goal is met, a new one forms. I want to write for a widely circulated national magazine, I want to have one deadline a month (meaning an article/ paycheck a month), I want to write about subjects that interest me and are meaningful to me, regardless of what they pay…those goals have all recently been met, so now what? Why do I still fear failure. I am on a journey, and it has been a very successful one. So why do I feel like at any moment it could all slip away? How do I get to a place of security, a place where I can own my successes?

I pose these questions to anyone out there who is working in a non-traditional setting, or taking time to be at home raising kids. It is hard for us to fit our successes into the “normal” model. It is hard to answer that question: “What do you do?” So how do you handle it, how do you squash those feelings of inadequacy, that fear of failure?

I am trying a new tactic, something I call zooming out. When I begin obsessing about tiny details (for me that looks like: rejections from certain magazines, tiny paychecks, frustrating edits), I remind myself to zoom out and focus on the larger picture. We only have one life, and what REALLY, TRULY matters is how we live it; do we fill our lives with love, do we engage in work that we are passionate about, are we always trying to be a better person? That is the bigger picture, and that is what really matters…not those teeny, tiny annoyances. So that is where I am…trying to take a deep breath and zoom out.

Along these same lines, check out Christine Mason Miller’s post at wishstudio.

5 thoughts on “Considering

  1. Sarah

    Christine,

    thanks for this post … I was expressing this exact same frustration (less eloquently) to my husband last night. It's a circular process–it's easy to go from downtrodden to jubilant overnight and vice versa. I guess eventually you just get used to riding the waves wherever they take you…

    Reply
  2. Kellie

    Were you in my brain today? I have been going through this on and off for a while. I told myself today that I need to stop obsessing over what success is! Because we in America know it to be the 9-5 climb the ladder salary success. Well my success is being home raising my son, freelancing, designing and crafting for my etsy store. There is no schedule, like Sarah says, you just gotta ride the waves… Thank you Christine and know your not alone!

    Reply
  3. gem

    mmmh. Christine, i appreciate your voice & the wisdom you share here. i will surely be borrowing “zoom out” as a mantra to apply as/when appropriate. also delighted to hear about Friday's successful meeting.

    Reply
  4. bluepoppy

    ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM– you are DOING it— and remember, as you bring your consciousness to this process– you are learning about yourself, life, etc– that the very act of reflecting on your repsonses teaches you so much and grows us all— especially when you share it with us. smooch, E

    Reply

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