Don’t Be Afraid

I’m sure a lot of people out there are making resolutions about now.  Lose weight (amen), exercise, train for a marathon, get a job, start a family, start a blog, stop smoking, no more coffee, etc.  I think resolutions can be silly things.  As human beings, if we want to do something, we do it.  If we don’t we either:

A.) don’t
B.) wait until the new year, make a resolution, do it for two weeks and then stop
C.) discipline ourselves to do it

So, make whatever resolutions you’d like, but may I be so bold to propose just one?

Don’t be afraid.

Just make the resolution that you won’t let fear control you this year.  I’m not talking about healthy fear…that’s a good thing and can keep you out of trouble.  I’m not talking about anxiety issues.  I’m talking about the fear that prevents you from doing good things.

“I’m afraid to sew and it’s horrific to imagine making slipcovers.”
“I’m afraid to paint the wood dresser in my guest room.  What if I mess it up?  Is it even legal to paint nice wood?”
“I’m afraid of starting a business.  What if I fail?”
“I’m afraid of color.  What if it’s the wrong one?”
“I’m afraid to start a blog of my own.  I don’t have anything interesting to share.”

Sound familiar?  These are fears some of you have shared with me over the past few weeks and months.  What you need to do is have a little conversation with yourself (or an encouraging spouse, friend or family member) that goes something like this…

“I’m afraid of starting a business.  What if I fail?”

“Well, you might.  But, what if you succeed?”
“I’ve never been a business minded person and I don’t have a degree in this field”
“So what?  Everyone has to start somewhere and a lot of people succeed in fields they aren’t educated in.”
“I’m scared about taxes and keeping track of finances.  I’m clueless about how that works.”
“OK, I’m going to hire an accountant and get some software to help me.”
“I don’t have the money to put into a business.”
“I’m going to start small and slow.  I don’t have to have everything all at one time.”
“What if my stuff doesn’t sell.”
“Some of it won’t and that’s OK.  Even really great stores have to put things on clearance because they were wrong about what they thought people would buy.  I’m going to learn the market, but I can’t learn if I don’t try.”

Getting the gist? (This was almost the exact conversation I had with myself!)  A lot of fears we have are just silly.  Why should anyone be afraid to sew?  The worse thing you can do is make something hideous and have to try again.  (Well, I guess a needle can break in a freak accident and put out your eye, but I’m guessing that’s not the usual fear.  If it is, just wear some goggles.)  The first set of curtains I made was some quilting fabric I sewed directly over a green cotton valance.  They looked terrible, but everyone has to start somewhere.  The first chair I slipcovered was horrible.  Well, I use the term “slipcovered” loosely, because it was more slipholstered (half upholstered, half slipcover.)  I was so proud of it, but it was really bad.  All of that to say, it’s OK to be bad at something when you first start.

For years, I longed to play the violin.  Really.  It’s a beautiful instrument.  So, I purchased a student violin off E-bay.  I waited eagerly for it to arrive in the mail.  I bought a couple of lesson books and I had dreams of being a prodigy.  I was really hoping I would remove the violin from the case and just “get it.”  I would run the bow along the strings and play a beautiful song I had only heard once before and it would be magical.  The reality?  I remove the violin from the case and screeched out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just like all other average people who play the violin.  You know what, though?  I still really enjoyed playing.

The point is, we all want success, perfection and smooth sailing.  The truth is, most of us won’t have that right off the bat 100% of the time.  The beauty is, that’s where the good stuff in life can be found. We learn the most, grow the most, and change the most through struggle.

I’ve been sewing for about ten years, now, and I get better all the time.  (My violin is sitting the guestroom closet with only three strings.  Not everything works out.)

So, whatever your fears about DIY, home decor, crafting, art, or starting a business might be…

Be bold.

Be brave.

And see where it takes you.


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Comments

  1. What a great piece and very inspiring. I have also just started my own blog http://www.chicagobungalov.com and slowly working on it to become a business for myself. Thanks for sharing your story and tips.

    Jen @ Bungalov

  2. I have been reading your series and this post is my favorite so far. I recently quit my job to start working for myself. I have nothing but savings to see me through 3 or 4 months and a mortgage to pay on my own. Afraid? You bet! But starting slowly was impossible as I had a 5 hour daily commute that promised to kill me someday. I love the reminder that everyone begins at the same place because this past 4 weeks has pretty much been a giant learning experience…..its been fun reading about how you started out too. thanks.

  3. I loved this post. I am thinking (scratch that) STARTING A BUSINESS restoring and painting furniture, and I have been reading your business related posts.
    You are very helpful!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    Also, regardless of starting a business, I loved the “don’t be afraid” resolution. Brilliant.
    We should not live in fear.
    We should have more FAITH (in God, and in ourselves)!!!

  4. devan says:

    I reread this post tonight and it inspired me once again. Circumstances have changed in my life and now its just me and my kids. I start a new job tomorrow first time back to work in three years, first time my youngest will be in daycare, and the first job in my new career of accounting…needless to say Im scared. I have also secured my business name and license in my furniture business but have yet to move forward with it, think Im frozen with fear and doubt. But my first client fell into place this week and I have pieces done and ready to be sold so here I go, wish me luck! Thank you for your daily inspiration I look forward to your warm words and great spirit daily.

  5. “The worse thing you can do is make something hideous and have to try again. (Well, I guess a needle can break in a freak accident and put out your eye, but I’m guessing that’s not the usual fear. If it is, just wear some goggles.)” — This made me burst out laughing — in a good way! So me. I’m thinking of starting a business, and this is so true for me. I have realized I have lots of fears and I’m trying to rationally think my way through them. I have found I have some real fears (mostly healthy) and some “goggle” moments. I’m reading my way through your business series, and I love your honest and open posts. Thank you for inspiring me!

  6. I’m sitting here with my coffee in hand reading this post….just burst out laughing about the “freak needle accident” Blah ha ha …… That would sooooo be me! I would then pitch the machine in the river! :)

    Thanks for the encouragment today!

  7. I’m a premie in blogland. Just left a prosperous design firm to “just do it”! Phil. 3:13

  8. Thank you. After reading this post I was able to let go a little of the stress that has been bogging me down since I decided to switch booths and move into a different antique market. I’ve been fretting over whether I made a huge mistake and if what I’m doing will even sell at this particular location, but tried to keep reminding myself that I’ll never know unless I try……..I am about to get out my sewing machine and attempt my first upholstery project which will probably be sloppy at best but I will try and I will learn something………..Thanks again……..inspired……..

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] year around this time, I wrote a post challenging you to not be afraid.  To follow God’s leading in your life and to do so with a spirit of courage.  A few days [...]

  2. [...] the words of Nike and to paraphrase Miss Mustard Seed, I needed to “just do [...]

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