I Failed Once…

Gremlin Busting: Fear of Dreaming

At 25, I made a bold move.  I decided that I was going to be an entrepreneur! I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, or how to go about running my own company, but I had the passion to work for myself.  So, I quit my day job and put up signs to start dog-walking…

I hadn’t worked with dogs since high school. To be fair, I had trained my dog in high school, and been involved in a Dog Agility Club, where I received a lot of experience working with dogs. In university, I volunteered with the SPCA.  I also worked part-time for a dog groomer for a few months. Mostly, though, I just loved animals! So, I decided to spend my days walking with them. It was going to be great…

Did you know that running your own business is hard? Especially for somebody who knew she was bad at Sales. In fact, a Sales conversation with my former boss had eventually led to me saying, “screw this, I’ll work for myself!” Did you know that you have to sell yourself constantly when you are running your own business?


I was fairly persistent for my first business, though. I built a website with the help of an amazingly-competent friend. I had posters up all over the neighbourhood. And I even “faked it ‘til I made it” at social events, building my networking skills.  But, after six months of having only two clients – a bird lover who trusted me to pet-sit and a fellow vegan who became an amazing friend – I decided to give up on the dream. I had met some real dog walkers along the way, and was intimidated by the competition. (They had spent years building up their client base and had vehicles to take dogs to theoff-leash parks.) I felt like I didn’t have what it took to make a real go of it. And, I was tired of feeling like a failure….so, I moved on to roles where I knew I was a success – working for other people.

Being a success is awesome! People look up to you; you can answer their questions; you’re seen as somebody who has all of the answers, and respected as a leader. Being a success is so awesome that it can be hard to let go of that feeling sometimes – even addictive. When you know that you were meant to change the world, being a success at the wrong thing can be a soul-crushing endeavour.

But, that’s another story…

Despite all of my success working for other people, I was not satisfied. I knew that I wanted to be my own boss. But my earlier experiment kept me from even trying to work for myself for years. I found myself spiralling into Quarter Life Crisis zone, where I stopped succeeding because I was terribly unhappy, but I didn’t dare take a step out on my own because, well, I failed once…

Success on one side; Failure on the other.


Failure is not something we can avoid when we are here to change the world.  Do you know how many times Thomas Edison “failed” before he gave us the light bulb? Much more than once.  Did Rosa Parks completely eradicate racism when she refused to give up her seat? Not at all! That battle continues even after 50 years!  The failures of the information age are even more prevalent. How many computer scientists spend decades in their basement before we have one product that lasts longer than a week in our collective memory? The Facebook phenomenon was a “freak occurrence” rather than an “overnight success.”

Our fear of failure is much more prevalent than our real failures.

The truth is the only definite failure happens when we GIVE UP.  Up until that point, we’re learning what might not work.  How do we silence our fears about failure?

First, check out this inspiring video by one of my favourite bands, Garfunkel & Oates:

After watching the video, follow these 3 simple tips:

1) Tune in to your creativity.

You know you were meant for something bigger!  You may not share them with other people, but you day dream about what your ideal life could really be like. Sit with that vision for a moment. Who are you when you are living that ideal life? It doesn’t have to be very specific. In fact, it’s better if you focus on an aspect of your life that has nothing to do with the logistics of your project.  Maybe you’re spending a month at that vacation home. Or an evening reading books that stir something inside of you. Or, you’re at an Awards Dinner – you don’t have to be winning the award (yet) but the atmosphere is something you desire.

Your creativity doesn’t have to do with everything related to your life goals. Sometimes you can get started on the larger projects by starting some art.  For tips on tuning in to your Creativity, check out this inspiring blog – Everyday Artistry – by Stephanie Medford and make sure to download her 51 Ways To Be More Creative Every Day

2) Remember Your Strengths.

Ok, yeah, you failed once. But, before that you tried! How was it possible for you to try in the first place? You had an idea! You have thousands of ideas! You are an idea-creator! In fact, the millennial generation is filled with people who create ideas constantly. Play with them!

Your “failure” was not as bad as you thought it was. Along the way, you learned something. What was it?  For me, I learned how to tell people what I did for a living, even if it was a short-lived career as a dog walker. I also learned a lot about website design. These are transferable skills to any new project I begin. What are some skills you picked up in your endeavours?

It’s time we stopped looking at our “success” as reaching our goal entirely.  Every time we learn something, that is a success!  Celebrate those successes – learn how to here.

3) Have a Supportive Friend or Coach Help You Get Started.

Maybe you’re completely stuck in the rut of fearing failure. Somebody out there believes in you! Maybe it is a family member, a trusted friend, or your Life Coach. Talk it out with them. Have them help you strategize the first little step out of your rut.

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

Still scared of failing? Let’s talk… Contact me below for a complimentary coaching session where we can wake up your creativity and gain clarity on the Big Project you were destined to start NOW!