“Hi! Can I ask for a pep talk?”
I’m reaching out— to another MotherHustle panelist, in fact— for support. I’m several thousand words into the draft of a nonfiction book that I’m working on, and I need Jess Goodwin to talk me away from the self-doubt spiral I’m approaching. It wasn’t until I sent this message that it occurred to me why I really needed that pep talk and what was going on in my head.
When I started thinking about the word failure a couple of weeks ago, something about it felt foreign. I didn’t connect with it or immediately relate to it, and I figured that it was because it’s not a word I use regularly in my life to describe an outcome or something that happens, or to describe myself.
When I reached out to Jess, it was because getting to my goal of 30,000+ words seemed so far away. I wondered when I would get there. How long would it take? What magic would need to occur for me to get from here to there? When I sat with all of those questions, something became very clear.
I had a realization that the gap between where I am now and where I want to be leaves a whole wide open space for failure. Plain and simple failure. The concern that led me to reach out was in a type of fear. Fear of not making it. Fear of failing.
The possibility of not making it makes me realize that I could spend all of this time on this project for “nothing”…but wait. Doesn’t that all depend on how I define success? What if the process of creating and writing this thing is important in and of itself? And then perhaps there is no actual failure.
As Elizabeth Gilbert declares in Big Magic:*
“My intention was to spend my entire life in communion with writing, period.”
It didn’t matter to her who rejected her writing or whether the project made it to completion— she would keep writing. And so will I.
I would be overlooking something important if I didn’t note that the risk for failure is an opportunity for connection. Jess is not someone with whom I have had a lengthy relationship. We’ve known each other for less than a year, and with that said, we don’t know each other well!
Feeling the possibility of failure, though, made me vulnerable. Since I have been on the journey to remove fear from the driver’s seat, this was an invitation to turn outwards and connect rather than withdraw and leave my book partially written. The universe gave me a chance to talk with someone who has been there, and I wasn’t disappointed! Jess and I connected, and she dropped this beauty in my inbox. It’s some excellent fuel for not buying into the fear of failure.
“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult
MotherHustle Panelist Emily Souder is a life coach, Reiki Master Practitioner, and writer in Maryland. She helps mom entrepreneurs who are feeling lost in the demands of motherhood and out of touch with themselves achieve confidence and empowerment using mindset work, mindfulness, and skill building. She is married to her best friend (so cheesy, but so true!), has two littles, and is on her own path of rocking her authenticity. Follow her on Facebook at Nesting Space LLC and on Instagram at Nesting_Space. Make sure to check out her book here.
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