Don’t Be Afraid

Marian ParsonsRunning a Business61 Comments

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.

Don’t Be Afraid

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61 Comments on “Don’t Be Afraid”

  1. Thank you so much for the inspiring words ~ I will take these and hold them dear in 2011
    I am trying to make up my mind about whether I should paint my clock!???

  2. That is a lovely post, and this is why people love you and your blog.You are so absolutely right!!
    There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
    Go boldly and trust in God!! Yeehaa!! Soo agree with you!!
    Happy New year you brave and bold and beautiful person!!

  3. I'm with you on resolutions, silly little things. I've assigned a theme this year, BREATHE. Just take a deep breath and tackle that project, or take a deep breath and RELAX. My kids are going to enjoy the latter, I can be a bit wound up over little things. Thanks for the pep talk! You are appreciated, I look forward to spending 2011 reading your thoughts, viewing your beautiful pictures. Cheers

  4. You can't imagine what you have just done for me! I deeply, truly, thank you! Blessings to you and yours this coming year. May it be even more amazing then the last one.

  5. You energy is contagious! I am very happy I have found your blog a while ago.
    Wish you the very best of 2011 and may your dreams always lead you to success!

  6. Marian, this post is spot on. I have made some decisions for 2011 and I am going to run with them. Who would have thought hat someone like yourself from across the seas can inspire so many people like myself to just get out there and just DO IT.
    As you say, whats the worst that can happen – you might just succeed I love that part. Sandy xx

  7. All I can say is Thank You. I wish I had someone like you with all the time 🙂 I am so proud that you simply just stopped by my new blog to say Hi and your comment to do/blog what I have a passion for. You have showed us all how to do that this past year.
    I pray you get everything you have prayed for and even the things you haven't dream about, just like your previous post described from 2010.

  8. Thank you Marian! I never make resolutions, but do look forward to the new changes and the new year. I love beginning again.

    It is because of you that I paint now. Well, your inspiration, because ultimately it can ONLY be US, as individuals who take the plunge into unchartered territory – whatever that may be. Since following your blog and some other gals I have delved into things that I, quite literally, have only dreamed about doing/creating/being.

    Your words above will hit home with countless others. At times I can't decide whether it is failure or success that holds me back at times.

    But I am here to say that I am keepin' on keepin' on and will see where it all brings me, as well as watch myself grow in the process. It's all quite exciting!

    Thank you!

  9. Amen to that,it took me more than a year to put something in my etsy store after I opened it and even longer to blog.No I'm not an instant sensation and often feel like I'm speaking to myself, but I am so happy that I took the chance.It feels wonderful to shed fear and do something you really want to do,that in itself is its own reward.

  10. Someone much much wiser than I said, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." This is one of those words! Bless you!

  11. I started my little business "Shabby Shae" this past October. I started breaking free of the fear factor. If I don't try… I'll never know. So last week I opened at Etsy shop… and today I got my first sale! YAY YAY YAY! I've got lots of hopes and plans… some will work… some probably won't. But that is OK. Right? … right!
    Thanks for the boost. You are always so encouraging.

  12. Oh my goodness! I think God is speaking to me through you! I very recently found your blog and am awe struck to say the least. I started a blog a LONG time ago! I enjoyed it…I shared my projects, etc. In the midst of my blogging my 10 year old daughter was very sick…it was a very long and exhausting YEAR! She was diagnosed w/diabetes and she is doing great now!! With all of the mystery surrounding her sickness though, my blog and my home projects were put on hold! It's been 4 months since her diagnosis and she is doing great, but w/the New Year approaching, I, like many, have been trying to 'figure life out'. What does 2011 have in store for me? What are my gifts? my talents? what matters? Well, many things have just been too coincendental to not pay attention too.
    1st) my blog/business name: Miss O'bara/Miss Mustard Seed (it's small, but still. It's not really my name. I have had a business acct. set up in hopes that someday I will do something)
    2) My daughter received a mustard seed necklace from my mother for Christmas. Seriously!
    3) I asked my children and husband independently:"what do you think my gifts are? my talents? what am I good at?" They all said refurbishing stuff, finding junk, decorating…And SO many people have said to me these past few weeks…'you're so creative and talented'. (And these were my throw together last minute because I felt guilty not doing anything gifts.)
    4) Had lunch w/a friend (a corporate exec. w/IBM) the other day and the owner of the cafe asked what I did for a living…I said I was a stay at home mom (i do lots of other stuff too like volunteer)…he went on to say…'so, you're a kept woman?' I was in tears…I hated hearing that. It just confirmed that I CAN do something w/my talents! I can make my OWN money.
    I have spent the last few days reading your blog…and soaking in your words, advice, tips!
    Thank you SO much for posting this today…confirming what I already know!!
    Don't be surprised if you see my name in your email box from time to time! Keeping myself accountable. You're an Angel. Thank you!
    Here's to a great 2011~

  13. I agree completely. If we let fear stand in the way then we will never know what might have been.

    Happy New Year and here's to looking ahead.


  14. You Rock! Happy New Year! Thank you for the "kick". I am there and don't want to fail. I can encourage my children to try and don't worry about failure, but don't always do as I say.

    I can give of myself and I value that, I am creative, and love to design. I will work toward overcoming these fears.

    Talk to you soon, always,
    Teresa T.

  15. Marian, you seriously bring me to tears every time you write a post like this (and the one before it)!
    I sure I hope I get to meet you someday and give you a giant hug.
    One of the things I've decided this year is to glean every bit of info out of people like you who are willing to share it. I can't afford school, but really- I think we can all learn so much more this way- from people who've been there, done that. thank you.

  16. As usual, you make perfect sense. I remember the first thing I ever sewed. I was in high school. It was a pair of pants and I sew the darned legs together! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  17. I wholeheartedly agree! I have enjoyed your blog immensely and am always inspired by your posts. I look forward to seeing what all my fellow bloggers are going to aspire to accomplish this year as I journey to go where I have not yet dared to go!

  18. You said it perfectly!

    As someone whose family is looking to make some major changes this up-coming year I am so glad I read this post!
    Thank you and Happy New Year!

  19. Thank you!! We are going through some major changes in our life right now and sometimes the fear of the unknown overwhelms me. I must keep telling myself that FEAR is False Evidence
    Appearing Real! I pray that 2011 is a great one and full of new possibilities and adventures!!

  20. Thanks for this encouragement! I needed to hear it. I have dreams of turning my blog into my job, not just my hobby, but I am feeling scared.
    But I am going to do my best and see what happens!
    Thanks for always being so inspirational! Can't wait to hang out with you at Blissdom!!!

  21. Thanks for this encouragement! I needed to hear it. I have dreams of turning my blog into my job, not just my hobby, but I am feeling scared.
    But I am going to do my best and see what happens!
    Thanks for always being so inspirational! Can't wait to hang out with you at Blissdom!!!

  22. Amen! Thank you! and preach it sista!!! Words to live by. Anyone who doesn't blog just doesn't get what an effect a blog can have on someone!!! Here's to looking at fear straight in the eye and taking "her" down!

    By the way I saw your dining room table at Goodwill yesterday, I showed it to my sister and then showed her your transformation on your blog… she was shocked!!!

  23. "I'm afraid to sew and it's horrific to imagine making slipcovers."

    Yeah… that one hit home. 🙂

    But it isn't fear. It's not WANTING to. Now what?!?

    Thank-you for this magical post. The advice is absolutely sound. Today I removed my first wall by myself. The learning never ever stops when you keep trying new things. Imagine where one can be even in one year if they try something new as little as once a week.


  24. Marian this is so perfect because I am reading your oh so wise words; my favorite song Claire de Lune by DeBussy is playing!

    Happy New Years!

    Art by Karena

  25. Be not afraid!!! I love it and I am writing this down in big, bold letters on my kitchen chalk board!!
    Thanks, I needed this!!

  26. I add my thanks to all of the others. Some of my 2011 goals do require the kind of courage that is difficult for me to muster up, namely facing the fear of REJECTION!

    My goal this year with my art is to not only become a better painter, but to make the move from being a hobbyist to becoming a professional. (Good grief, I need to do this so I can keep buying paint!) I'd like to have my illustrations published and actually sell some of my paintings.

    Yet this means that ::shudder:: I have to put things out there where people can tell me, "Nope, sorry, not interested" or they can even say "Yuck!". Prayerfully, this WILL be the year that I say 'so what?' and do it anyway.

    Girls, I hope all of you conquer your fears and move forward in the direction you have been dreaming of.

  27. Dear Marian,
    Just a few days ago I left a comment on your New Year's Eve post. I mentioned how reluctant I am to tackle a sofa slipcover. You answered back with an encouraging email. Thanks for that and thanks for this post. You definitely touched me and with the Good Lord's help, I am going to work on overcoming them!

    Come over and read my post – one that you inspired me to write.

    Thanks much,

  28. Hi Marian!

    My name is Shauntelle– I blog over at A Beautiful Abode and I swear that you .are. my. new. best. friend! lol

    I have a few new projects I've been mustering up the courage to get started on… and I'd been battling fear a lot.

    And then I stumbled on to your blog and for the past week, I've been reading it non-stop. Especially your workshop series.

    I think your blog made me feel better than the Nyquil I was taking for the flu.

    And today's post… well, girl, you might have just been speaking directly TO. ME!

    (How did you know about that painting the dresser thing? Stop spying on me! lol)

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. And for sharing your awesomeness with the blog world.

    xoxo Shauntelle

  29. This post gave me goose bumps! You are so right! I'm terrified of starting my business, eventhough I pretty much announced it on the blog the other day. But you are so right with everthing you said!

  30. 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.

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  32. 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)!!!

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  34. 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.

  35. “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!

  36. 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!

  37. 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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