Give Fear the Finger, and Live the Life You Want

There’s one major hurdle that stops us from achieving our dreams. Fear. In particular, the fear of failure.

Don't be chicken

Don't be chicken

Life can get off track if you let fear make your decisions for you. At least, it did for me. When, at that crucial age during the final teenage years, I was asked to decide what job I’d like when the real business of life began, I told my parents I wanted to be a writer. This wasn’t a job the school career adviser picked for me, and it wasn’t generated by a careers computer program, it was just something I knew. I knew because when I was at primary school during art classes, I always asked if I could write a poem or song instead of drawing. I knew because in secondary school I loved writing weekly essays for my English class more than anything else. I just knew.

Trust Your Inner Voice

But unfortunately my parents did not know and, in their best efforts to cushion their little girl from disappointment, they put me off writing. They frowned and said that writing was a very hard field to get in to, an extremely competitive business. The sub-text was that I wasn’t good enough to succeed in it.

So I did other things. I was a student, a teacher, a magazine editor and an Internet developer, but in each of these jobs the thing I enjoyed most, the thing I was best at was reading, researching and writing. And I still wanted to be a writer. Although, I was already writing I dreamed of writing full time, I wanted to write more creatively and I wanted to write a novel.

Dare to Follow Your Dreams

But fear held me back for years. Maybe I wasn’t good enough? Maybe people would laugh at my work? Maybe my writing would be boring, trite, pathetic or just plain bad. Eventually I realised that there was only one way to find out and that’s to write, to let people read it and see what they think. So here I am. Now, more than 20 years after I was dissuaded from being a writer, I’m finally back on track.

As part of my self-prescribed aversion therapy I write a blog for all the world to read, and so far the feedback has been good. No one has complained about my writing, though a few people have disagreed with my ideas. (Unbelievable, I know!) I’m also well on my way to finishing my first novel. I’ve already written 60,000 words and I plan to finish it this month. Of course after that I still have a lot of work ahead of me: I’ll have to rewrite it, polish it, edit it, find an agent and, with luck, a publisher. Maybe it won’t ever get published but, if that’s the case, I’ll get over it. Because the thing is I feel truly happy with my life now. I’m doing what I always wanted to do: writing. I’m doing what I’m best at and what I love. Finally, I am a writer.

Overcome Your Fears Today

So the moral is, if you know what your dreams are then, follow through on them. We don’t live forever and time is of the essence. Don’t let fear hold you back from achieving what you want to in life!

Come on, let’s give fear the finger together.

Thanks for reading, feel free to tell me your dreams, fears and inspirations. I dare you to join me in the hot spot. Don’t forget to subscribe by email now or to the RSS Feed, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans!

Don’t forget to subscribe by email now or to the RSS Feed, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out.

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  1. Jessica Stokes May 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    I am giving fear the finger with you! Right now and everyday for the rest of my life! Thanks so much for this post.

  2. anna maria May 11, 2009 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Totally cool stuff. Please can you write about how to sift through to find your dream and which to pursue first, in the case of having more than one? Big up for you pursuing and nailing your dream!!! It does indeed take courage and persistence. Mucho respecto, amiga x love, chicken licken x

  3. Jimney Cricket May 12, 2009 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Nice blog! And I like that post, it really makes me want to follow my dream. I do have my dream, and right now I’m working on following it. I’m with you on that one! :)

  4. Teresa LOng May 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Go Girl! Your best ever piece…passion, enthusiasm, encouragement…I love it! You’ve made me want to do something….just what?

  5. Kate Hayes May 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    I love giving fear the finger! I will remember that phrase whenever my knees start to knock or my strength begins to falter. Keep inspiring and motivating. Your energy explodes through your words.

  6. Big Andy May 13, 2009 at 5:41 am - Reply

    I like this. I will buy that novel, so that’s one copy sold :)
    You must buy my book of my travels around Morocco which will be published in about March 2013.

  7. iadiedee May 14, 2009 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Wonderful post. I fully relate. I recently realized that despite my education and over 20 years as a secretary that I enjoy sewing the most, and am really good at it. Like you, it started early in life but wasn’t a ‘career’ one aspired too but one associated with sweat shops, long hours, low pay and no rewards. I’ve recently started sewing seriously and find that not only is it a natural fit but I’m HAPPY all of the time! Imagine that.

    This is another thing I can thank God for gifting me with disability. I’d never have figured this out if I didn’t have time on my hands. I’d have been too busy busting my butt doing something the went nowhere and gave me little satisfaction. He has a plan and a reason for everything and sometimes it takes a swift kick in the pants to make us realize where our path lies, or give us the courage (and time) to follow that rewarding road.

    Thanks for a great read and I enjoy your writing!

  8. Laura Baker August 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I’ve always felt success was something you found WHEN you found what it is you loved to do – didn’t come to me until my mid 40’s, when retail happened by chance. Annabel – you are a natural care giver to children so can parent and pursue writing simultaneously. I always knew you were amazing, but have no clue how you can write, surf and be such an amazing Mom simultaneously. I couldn’t tie my shoes when kids were small (except when you came and rescued me!) Bravo! xxx

    • Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Laura – What a great definition of success. I think it’s so normal for people not to discover what they enjoy doing until later in life. There’s a temptation to feel like a failure when you hit 40 and decide you want to reboot your life. I read somewhere that most people have three careers during their lifetime, and I think they’ll bring the skills and experience from the former careers to the new one so that they have a greater chance of success. Maybe that’s why you’ve done so well.

      What a success you’ve made of parenting too. Lock just knew what he wanted to do and you encouraged him to follow his dream. While some parents may have said:
      ” Oh darling, I don’t think you really want to become a motorbike designer and builder. Here, I’ll pay for you to study accountancy.” You supported him and maintain a great relationship with him because of that. I still want to write Lock’s story and will do one day. It really inspires me and your own business success story is inspirational too. How lucky I am to be surrounded by cool, successful and inspirational people. Thanks for hanging out with me and reading my site!

  9. Colleen C September 10, 2009 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Great article – and inspirational. Thanks for writing it!

  10. hilary November 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    My new mantra! Well put.

  11. 2009 Article Round Up May 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    […] Give Fear The Finger and Live The Life You Want […]

  12. […] series on how to Give Fear The Finger was popular, so I’ve taken it a step further and found people who’ve faced their fears […]

  13. Bob Benditzky June 23, 2010 at 12:18 am - Reply

    I have used this advice twice before in unrelated business ventures. Guess what, the fear was totally fabricated. When ignored it became one of the best learning tools I have at my disposal. “Courage!” You are always right on!

    Best Regards!

  14. Christine Osborne February 24, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

    At school, a careers adviser suggested said I should pursue hairdressing.

    I have authored 10 books/guides in 40 years as a freelance travel writer and photographer and have just finished a 90,000 word memoir of my travelling life.

    Middle finger!

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