fear is not the boss

by | Mar 6, 2018 | a slice of life, Balance, Popular, Running a Business | 184 comments

Confession time… The last 2-3 years have been a bit of a struggle for me.  Maybe more than a bit, if I’m completely honest.

Before you roll your eyes and wonder what on earth I could be struggling with, hear me out.  (And stick with me, because there is a happy ending.)

The struggle has been an internal one and has been fostered by fear and nurtured mostly in silence.  It crept up with such stealth that it was hard to name or put my finger on.  It was an unexplainable, literal lump in my throat that would manifest itself almost daily.  It was moments of panic that would overwhelm me at times, a sense that things would come crashing down.  It was just a matter of time.

These feelings, all circled around my business and blog and creativity, have made it harder to share with vulnerability, harder to take risks, and harder to cultivate and grow new ideas.

Now, some of you, even many of you, might be scratching your head, because things have chugged along and many new opportunities have come my way that were fully realized.  The blog posts have continued.  Products and books are on the shelves and lines are launched.

But I’m pretty good at plowing ahead and putting on a brave face, but that internal, stupid, annoying struggle has still been tagging along.

I think most of it stems from the thought that it was all just luck.  Luck and timing.  And soon the luck will run out and the time will be up.  It doesn’t matter how hard I work or what I do.  Even as I type it out, it sounds stupid!  I know it does.  But it’s there.  Most anxieties are completely irrational and aren’t grounded in reality in the slightest.

This anxiety came to a peak just a few months before we moved.  Jeff was in a full-time Master’s degree program, so he was only working part time, and that meant our monthly budget (not to mention tuition), fell on my business.  I slowly felt myself looking for a hole to crawl into.  But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t rest and I couldn’t be risky and I couldn’t make a wrong step.  I had to hold my breath and hope that it wasn’t really all hinged on luck and timing.

As an aside, have you ever tried to be creative or enthusiastic when all you want to do is crawl into a hole?  It’s a hard slog.  Things that should bring joy, don’t.  And you want to kick yourself for being so self-pitying when there are people in the world with real problems.  But the lump in my throat is real to me and turns my thoughts inward.

I struggled on, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  With his degree almost finished (he graduates in May), Jeff got a full time job.  We moved.  I simplified the business.  Everything would now be alright.

Well, the good news is that the lump in my throat hasn’t returned.  That physical manifestation of my stress has left me alone for months.  I also tripped into oil painting and it’s been revitalizing.  It’s fresh, cold water on a parched day.  There was a reprieve from the struggle.


But it’s still been lurking and I’ve known that dealing with it head on was long overdue.

 In a creative chat I did with my friend, Shaunna West on Instagram Live (we’ll be doing more if you missed it), while on the subject of fear of failure, I shared that I had more of a fear of success.  I’ve thought about that statement during my creative retreat and I realized it’s only half true.  I’m not afraid of success, but sustaining my success.

You see, for the first few years of my business, there was nowhere to go but up.  Every graph I looked at… profit and loss, analytics, opportunities, page clicks, social media followers, sales, etc. were all on an upward trend.  But then, as the blog world has changed, as the paint world has changed, and as I’ve become more concerned with protecting what’s been built instead of hurling myself joyfully into new things, I’ve experienced plateaus and even dips.  Last year was my most profitable year ever, but it still felt like I was failing, because all of the numbers and statistics weren’t at an all-time high and I had a hard time even acknowledging that I might have something to do with the success. Even after all of the years of consistent growth and opportunity, it still felt like I was probably just in the right place at the right time and I would shrug my shoulders at what my business would look like next year.  I was acting like a passenger.

It’s made me shy away from goals and dreams and new ideas.  The fear of sustaining success forced me into a holding pattern and I felt alone there.  I felt like I couldn’t write it down or share it.  I could only whisper it to those nearest to me.  If it got out, confidence in my brand would be shaken.  I would sound like a total brat.  No one would want to hire me as a designer or writer.  No one would want to invest in my paint line or products.

Fear is always isolating until it’s named and exposed for the stupid thing that it is.

This creative retreat has helped me in so many ways.  It’s going to take weeks to fully digest it and even longer to unpack it all to share here on the blog.  But one of the themes that kept wrapping around me like a warm blanket, like a friend offering me a piece of dark chocolate and her attentive ear, was this… Feeling like this is normal for creative entrepreneurs.  Heck, feeling like this is normal for humans.

Being bombarded with doubt, fear, questions, feelings of inadequacy are all completely normal.  The problem is, I was actually listening to some of them, taking them to heart, and I was making decisions based on those negative feelings.  I was allowing them to permeate my lists of goals, my plans, and my dreams.  I was giving them the reigns for the future.  I was permitting them to sap joy from my successes and enthusiasm from my ventures.

I was definitely getting stuck inside my own head and taking it all way too seriously.  I also wasn’t intentionally taking time to nurture my own creativity, feed my entrepreneurial soul, and just get a good night sleep and some exercise!  If I had taken that time, it probably wouldn’t have gone on as long as it did.  Instead, I just worked longer and harder and exacerbated the burnout and fed the stress.

I know this isn’t going to be an instant turnaround.  I know I have bad habits to break and healthy habits to start.  I know it’s going to take time to implement all that I’ve learned and to retrain myself.  But, I have lists, plans, schedules, and optimism that aren’t subject to fear.  I feel a renewed excitement and enthusiasm for my business, brand, and blog.  I’m moving forward with an inquisitive spirit and hope.

So, why share this?  I have second-guessed just about every word.  But I’m now convinced that it’s important to share.  First of all, it’s cathartic for me.  Even if no one else cares, it’s hit the light of day and there is a freedom in that.

Second, I believe that there is power in testimony.  When someone shares their story, even the parts that are difficult, it can be an encouragement and comfort to others.  One of the best things about the books and podcasts I listened to was hearing stories that were not dissimilar from my own.  Some of them spoke words that, I’m convinced, were just for me.  And I feel like I need to pass that on.

Lastly, I needed a declared turning point; a stake in the ground that I can point back to that says this is why I’ve made the personal and professional changes I’ve made.  Yes, this blog is written for my readers and my business works because I have customers and clients, but I’ve been assuming too much about what everyone wants and doesn’t want from me and those self-imposed assumptions have been burdensome.  I have a whole well of things I haven’t shared, because my fear of the opinion of others has been a tyrannical gatekeeper.

So, now I’m going to take a deep breath and race past that gatekeeper.  I might even do it holding fist-fulls of colorful streamers while singing loudly just to make it clear that I’m not afraid of being caught.  Fear’s not the boss.

I am.


  1. Kelly

    Marian, I’m happy that you have called out your fear! By struggling with my own fear, I know that it robs us of so much joy that should be ours in this one life we have. I hope you find much new joy moving forward.

  2. Kelly

    Thank you and love you! That is all. 🙂

    • Robin

      This is what I was thinking, almost verbatim. I’ll just add some hugs.

  3. Andi

    Wow- that is a very powerful statement! Good for you, naming the cause of your hold back-
    You have so many gifts, and one important one is being able to convey your feelings on the page.

    Carry on, can’t wait to see what’s next!

  4. Darlene Arnold

    Thank you for sharing. I believe we live in a world today, with such much social media, that everyone thinks everyone else’s lives are perfect and grand. People portray their lives to be that way on social media. It is refreshing to hear you share that yours is not. No one has a perfect life and we will not until we get to heaven. People need to hear this from other people, or they will feel inadequate. Thank you for being real. We are all here to help each other. Just remember, the Lord says over and over in His Word, DO NOT FEAR!

  5. Vickie White

    Could I admire you more? Possibly, but I don’t see how. Powerful, compassionate, generous and creative. My favorite things in a person, all wrapped up in one.

    Hugs from Texas,

  6. Linda

    Thank you…Marian

  7. Alissa

    I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  8. Peg

    You will most likely never know the difference you have made in someone’s life by writing this post. This is just one of the reasons I love reading your blog! God bless you for writing candidly about an issue that a lot of women experience. I know I have.

  9. Lynne

    I can absolutely, 100% agree with everything you have said! When I worked in ministry, we creative types would get together and share how our gift is a blessing, but also a curse in many ways! There is something about how we are wired that mires us in the need for others to love what we do ( because it’s such a direct reflection of who we are), fear of being really good at it (because what happens on a day we are not good at it?) and having to be “on” all the time ( even though our creative minds desperately need that off time ) Also, what can be the overwhelming constant activity of our brains! While it may seem really awesome that we work this way, it’s not always a good thing to walk into someone home and immediately rearrange the furniture in our thoughts. To have difficulty focusing on a conversation because you are imagining what that wall would look like as a different color. To go to bed with ten creative ideas, dream ten more in your sleep and wake up thinking of even more!

    I get it. We get it. And I don’t know what the magic pill is. I call out to God so many times , thankful that He has created me this way ( He is the ultimate creative mind) but asking Him to show me how to channel it all!

    • Mj

      Lynne, I love every word written! Your words are my thoughts! I get it now! Thank you!

    • Annette

      YES, YES, YES!!!! As you said…..sometimes it’s difficult to “turn it off” …..relax!!! Being a creative individual is a blessing and a curse. And you DO constantly seek “that approval”. This may sound silly, but after I went through menopause (…and retired from public education) attitudes changed quite a bit….I have learned to do what makes me happy, when where, and on my terms. I’m no longer feeling like a “artistic production robot”.

  10. Emily

    There’s a phrase for that feeling- it’s called “imposter syndrome”. Something I personally struggle with regularly in my career and that, in my experience, is particularly profound for women.

  11. Amberlamoine

    I rarely comment on posts, but this resonated with me, and I’m sure so many others as well. I am attracted to the “human” behind every story or success. Success of course is defined only by ourselves. I am so glad to see you naming your fears, even if you totally haven’t figured it all out yet. Such is life. Such to be a human. Bless you and keep trucking. The journey is the lesson and I’m glad you are paying close attention to that voice within you. I admire that, as I do the same.


  12. Chick Voice

    About three years ago I was unexpectedly let go (without reason) from a position running a company for 17 years. I was 55 years old. Though I was employed within a few months, in an industry I had been missing for a long time————-three years later I’m still plagued with fear that I will be sacked again. That fear is debilitating some days. And I’ve never lacked confidence in my abilities before. I too, often feel like giving up and therefore don’t bring the great energy and creativity to this new position. It’s a vicious circle. Thanks for sharing this Marion. Knowing we are not alone in our struggles is helpful. I’ve asked God to work a miracle in me and help me overcome the fear of failure. May God continue to bless you.

  13. Kat

    I believe it would be cathartic to paint the downstairs cabinets 🙂

    And, you sound pretty normal to me!

  14. Marilee

    Every. Word. A. Gem.
    Thank you.

  15. Karen

    Thank you again and I have to say you surprised me again ! X0X ❤️❤️❤️

  16. Karen

    Dance like there’s nobody watching, Marion! thanks for sharing. blessings to you and your family.

  17. Traer

    Aw, Marian, anxiety and fear are two tools satan uses against us. But I have realized through much prayer and God’s gentle hand that, I am not, in fact in control of ANYTHING! That we all have to lay everything at his feet regardless of how big or small. And when I, we, begin to think I am the boss is exactly when everything comes crashing down again. Prayers for guidance, encouragement, and joy in your heart friend!! God has given you many wonderful talents and I know you will use them to the fullest!

  18. Kathy

    You never cease to amaze me! You are an inspiration to us all.

  19. Cheryl Britton

    Wow. Can I just start by saying this is one of the best articles/blogs I’ve ever read in my life. Spot on! You are an excellent communicator! There is so much to say but I can tell you “you are an excellent communicator along with your creative talents!” What a combination! You have given me many things to think about and have communicated things I have felt but in a way that is so over the top! I can’t justify in words how well this article has been written in my opinion! I never reply to blogs/articles so this is hugh! Carry on with you bad self:) Cheryl

  20. Kathleen

    Thank you for letting us see behind the “veil” and sharing the inner struggles that I think we all share, or have at times, I know that I have felt the same way. I love your insight, real-ness, your artistry and creativity! Thank you a thousand times!

  21. Judy

    Marian, I met you a couple of years ago in Rochester, NH. You were so kind and down to earth, taking time for us there to talk. Then I saw your presentation, if I wasn’t already impressed with you enough, experiencing that really sealed the deal. You are the reason for the success, with one exception and that is the Lord who has given you the gifts and natural talent you have ( and I know you already know that) You are so genuine and give your best, it is so evident. No matter what tomorrow brings, you will always be a success just being you! Thank you for sharing and big hugs to you!

  22. Kathy K

    Oh Marion, dear one. You are the keeper of all things God has entrusted you. You WERE in the right place at the right time because of HIS hand and HIS heart and you were FAITHFUL to the tasks he set before you. The sustainer is not you, but HIM. Read that out loud.

    I can say this to you because I could have written what you wrote here today. I, too, have had immeasurable success and kept thinking it could be taken away tomorrow and perhaps it was just such a fluke. Instead I was reminded that all good things come from HIM. And that he holds ME in His hand. I had to come to a place that said to Him, Lord, if you take it all away tomorrow, I’d be ok because Blessed be Your name. The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. And I thanked Him and relaxed in His goodness and blessings in my life – today.

    Manna is given each day – just as we need it. We can’t store it up. Instead, we trust God who loves us so. Because our lives are in His hands.

    Say good-bye to the enemy who whispers fear in your ear.

    • Marian

      I know these words were for MissMustard Seed, but you have deeply touched another Marian. I have been pounding away at a huge, multifaceted project for the last 4 years and I am weary and frustrated and terrified I will never finish. But your words “you were faithful to the tasks he set before you” gave me such enormous strength and peace, because I have been faithful. I had not thought of it like that. Thank you!
      The Other Marian

      • Kathy K

        Chin up, dear Other Marian. Shoulders back. Deep breath. Look upward.
        I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
        From where shall my help come?
        My help comes from the Lord,
        Who made heaven and earth.
        He will not allow your foot to slip;
        He who keeps you will not slumber. – Ps 121: 1……

  23. Gillian

    “You might be surprised but many of us struggle with uncertainty, regrets, paralyzing anxiety, stress and doubts. When I found your website and milk paint and something I could do that my inner critic could not sabotage, I felt like I was home. The milk paint turned out to be so much more than all of that. I am a published writer who has been trying forever to improve, publish, make a name, write the next great Canadian Novel, but it hasn’t happened…YET. Your story and your success has hit a sweet spot within me. I don’t know if this helps, but I don’t think I have ever “known” of anyone who works as hard as you do. I love your stories, your books, your photos, your website…You make me laugh and feel secure about my own efforts. When I have my doubts about my own abilities, efforts, memories impaired or troublesome; I might feel the strain…but going to your website is a place where I can feel safe, inspired, creative and blessed. Carry on and know your story has touched many.”

  24. Lynn Crider

    Listen to the song by Zach Williams “Fear is a Liar”

  25. Margaret

    As always, so eloquently and beautifully written, and sincere. You have a true talent for writing.

  26. Sonya

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. I’m getting ready to start my own business. I was so excited in the beginning but now I am overcome with fear and feel paralyzed with uncertainty. I know this fear does not come from God but sometimes the other voices crowd out that still small voice that brings peace. I’m glad to know I’m not alone and that these “lump-in-the-throat” weeks and months are more common than I ever imagined.
    Btw, I have a beautiful chair sitting here in my living room that is a direct result of your upholstery video!

  27. Barbara

    All of us can relate at some level to what you have confided to your readers and customers. Thank you for being transparent.

  28. Rebecca Turner

    I love all of the encouragement here, but especially what Karhy K was inspired to say. Marian, I think you are courageous. Putting yourself out there with a blog makes you vulnerable to criticism and takes courage in the first place…but even more so to open up and reveal your fears. We all have fears (I have struggled too) but fears are injurious and don’t come from God. He has given us love, power, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV) I hope that you experience renewed creativity, hope and peace!

  29. Mj

    At the end I expected to see my name written!
    This is exactly how I’ve felt since the end of last year!
    I’ve just now realized that fear has no control over me!
    Being creative has two sides that sometimes don’t play nice together!
    Thanks again for sharing your story!

  30. Kim

    I absolutely loved this post–thank you for sharing it. My biggest hurdle has always been being courageous enough to just do it. I needed to hear these words!

  31. Cindy

    Soooo wow Marian… this speaks to me so much right now. Sometimes i wish i could just talk to you. I struggle with so much anxiety – but you never fail to inspire me. I’m in awe at how connected you are with the great “spirit in the sky” and how you continue to seek the fullness of who you are. So much courage and beauty there…


  32. Sarah

    She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

  33. Bianca

    I, too, have had the burden of carrying the family both financially and emotionally. Everyone admired me for my strength, but as if it came more easily to me and therefore, all in a day’s work. And so it was left for me to bear. That same fear you speak of, would manifest in me, radiating from my chest and at times so intense I would go numb. Fortunately I came to find, like you, that to speak of it, made me less a prisoner to fear.

    Strength, sometimes in not a choice. It’s just something you have to do. I’ve just learned to handle fear and strength differently. We all do to some degree. And by sharing, we help each other. Thank you for your story.

  34. Wendy

    You too? I thought it was just me. Good to know there’s others out there struggling- and getting past it- as well. I think it must be common amongst us creatives. Thank you!

  35. Ann Jamieson

    Thank-you for this blog Marian. Our vulnerability to life’s everyday challenges is enough to make us feel like a big dark cloud is following us. You have juggled so much and are truly an example for many of us in finding balance. Loving yourself first, as much as I had thought was selfish is what we must do to nurture and be there for others. I am so glad you are working on these things , your blog and product line is always changing and your creativity is inspiring to others. You have helped others in more ways than you know in being transparent and honest about your struggles. ❤️

  36. Donna Pruitt

    Marian, love reading your blog and love that you are only human. You are amazing and it’s only making you a stronger person. You have so much talent and everyone know’s it. So carry on my friend only the best is yet to come from it. Loving everything you do and prayers for you.

  37. Margie

    This is just what I needed to hear! I struggle with fear but just not sure if it’s fear, success or as you stated fear of sustaining the success. Will definitely work on identifying that fear and then move forward. Thanks so much for sharing. You’re such a kind and generous person.

  38. Heather

    Thanks for sharing this! Being creative is vulnerable and sharing our struggles is vulnerable, but that’s exactly why both are so powerful! Also, I couldn’t agree more that talking about things and not keeping them hidden is absolutely necessary for freedom – whether that’s fear, shame, or any other “secret” struggle – the dark just can’t survive when exposed to the light. I know this post took courage and you probably had major vulnerability hangover after hitting the post button, so Bravo!!! Now you’re free!

  39. Cheryl

    I knew some of that created the sell before the sale actually began. I understood that. I always knew you would do so well. But fear is a heady thing and I understood that as well.

  40. Cari

    Thank you so much for writing this! You brought tears to my eyes because I have been in the same rut for years, and God is trying to tell me it is time to be me by adding this to the signs he’s been sending me! Thank you for having the courage to write this and to share it. It means so much!

  41. Kerri LaFornara

    ” You Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself”. I never fully understood that statement ( especially as the country was heading into WWII), but it really seems to apply to what you just so eloquently expressed. You are so very talented in so many ways. Your blog is, by far , my favorite and most anticipated post to show up in my FB feed. Its not only the projects you do that makes it so interesting. Its how you write and express your thoughts and perspective on things. You make even trivial things interesting. And comforting. And relatable. You are not just a decorator, or painter, or artist, or blogger. You are a writer. So as long as you are posting, I’m reading. Carry on.

  42. Ann

    As a Christian, I do not believe in luck. I believe God is in control of everything. You and your family are very blessed. Leave your fear at the cross and tell Satan to leave. May you have peace.

  43. Carole

    Fear can be a show stopper. I know from experience.

    Thanks for sharing your own struggles.

  44. Amy M.

    Marian, This post was a perfectly written, and something that I needed to hear. I have been researching blogs for the past few months- trying to decide if it’s really worth blogging, and what to blog about and a million other questions I’ve had about the blogging world. I haven’t done anything yet because of fear.
    Your blog has been so inspirational to me. I have been looking at your blog for the past few months- I love everything about your blog, the pictures, design, and especially the projects you are constantly working on or something your are posting about. I’ve been fascinated with the amount of work you do. You are so creative. So in a nut shell, thank you for writing the post about your fears, ups and downs. I like that you said about taking risks. Life is real and what you make out of it. Letting the fear get the better of me is only stopping my progression- I know this, I just needed to be reminded. Thank you again for sharing so much of your creativity with the world.

  45. Candice

    Loved this! Thank you, for sharing, Marian. You are not alone.

  46. Rebecca

    I was once asked during a job Interview what my greatest weakness was? I answered, “my insecurity.” Then I was asked what my greatness strength was? I again answered, “my insecurity.” And it’s true! I can let my fears get the best of me, but they also make me strive harder to do better and be better. God gave us our strengths and our weaknesses. And he knows they are interchangeable. It sounds as if you rearranging yours now! I wish you much love and fulfillment as you find your path. Know that you are not alone. Thank you for sharing. It can be isolating when thinking we are alone or that no one out there understands. Thank you for sharing and helping others find their way by showing how you are finding yours!😍

  47. Anna Belle

    Hold everything loosely. We like to think we are in control, but that is an illusion. Enjoy today: work hard, love your family, grow your faith.

  48. Tricia

    Thank you so much for sharing. I feel the same way and to know of your struggles, especially since I consider you to be a role model for me, is enlighting and gives me hope. I have just started painting and creating. Fear (of failure) has held me back for years and I am glad to have finally started this journey.

  49. Renee Metzler

    My word for the year is breakthrough, so it is awesome to see God is breaking through our fear … False Evidence Appearing Real. Your victory is everyone’s victory because we are running this human race together.

  50. Kelly interiors

    Mariann I have followed you for many years now and have loved every post, picture and thing you have done. Congrats to you for taking the next step and bringing us all along on your journey. My husband just had a full blown aniexty attack 5 weeks ago and the struggle is real and silent. He is getting back to his old self which makes us both smile. Keep the faith and keep leaning on all of us who adore you and what you do!

  51. Sue K

    Marion, Although this is not my idea, the phrase ‘Imposter Syndrome’ comes to mind. That syndrome is fueled by fear of success…not failure. It’s much harder to put a finger /identify the fear of success, because the self-sabotage (usually manifesting itself in a very subtle manner too) just feeds into our projected outcome of it not working out. Thanks for your transparency, bravery and graciously sharing your heart with us…bless you.

  52. Darlene Champion

    I am just blown away by your testimony. It touches at the very heart of our concerns. We feed the beast called fear and give it strength when we deny our dreams. I had the biggest, scariest thing happen in my life and I learned to turn around and scream at the beast, the fear. If the worst happened and someone laughed at me (really, my worse fear?) or mocked my dream I’d still wake up and go on.
    Learning to actually challenge my fears has been my most affirming achievement. I call it my Tawanda stance. (fried green tomatoes) So moved by your blog. thanks for sharing.

  53. Deborah D

    Thank you for sharing and being real.

  54. Lisa Bunner

    Thanks for sharing. I wish you the best of luck in your push to move forward with creativity without fear.

  55. Debbie

    Sweet girl God’s this. You can see out of the darkness now. I love your sweet spirit that comes through in your words. You’re so talented and filled with grace and beauty. You will always have ups and down so but don’t the fear lead you to failure. I can tell you from living in that fear most of my life, I can take away all of your drive and spirit

  56. Cathy

    You need the T-shirt’s my friend has created for her business of helping create dreams and business for others. “Shut The Fear Up”. She speaks to this very mindset you have shared. You are wonderfully transparent and that’s what we love about you. Keep up the good work and Shut The Fear Up. As Marie Cochran would say.

  57. Judy Anaya

    There is a quote by Zig Ziglar that helps me when I want to go back to bed and pull the covers up over my head.
    FEAR has 2 meanings…’Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face everything and Rise.’ The choice is yours.

    Thank you for writing this post and for being willing to share your thoughts and expose your humanity. That is such a gift you gave of yourself and a blessing for others to hear a message like that from someone we look up to and admire.

    Everything we want is on the other side of fear, so go get ‘um Marian!!!

  58. Marian

    Kathy K,
    You kind woman! What a beautiful reply. I had forgotten the wonder you can find in looking up. The things one sees when your gaze leaves the ground. Thanks for reminding me that I stand on bedrock, that will not fail me. Blessings your way, friend,
    the Other Marian

  59. Ellen

    Marian, thank you for sharing this! I love your honesty and your resolution. I have a fledgling blog, and I love it, but gosh sometimes it’s so hard to keep pressing on. And I really resonated with your thoughts on success. I realized as I read your words that I frequently back-burner upcoming posts because in the back of my mind I think “what if this post does well and I can never do anything as good/better?” Or, “if I wait another month (or five) I’ll have so much more to add to this post, I’ll just write it then”. Fear that it’s not going to be good enough, or that’s it’s going to be too good (via luck). So thank you for sharing not just your creativity with us, but your journey and wisdom too! <3

  60. Dauphine

    What you have gone through really shows that you value more than just success. In this day and age that is not always apparent when hearing about successful people. It is not luck but talent and wanting to share that has gotten you where you are and will continue to keep you successful in whatever you do.

  61. Caren

    Thank you for your transparency! I’m studying Ephesians 6:10-20. Amazing! So helpful for understanding and battling life’s challenges.

  62. Melissa McClure Fuller

    “Fear is not the boss. I am.” Could you make a t shirt out of that? 😉
    Love that! Amen.

  63. SusanIrene B

    Thank you for writing for me. After retiring from a very successful career in design I’m struggling with anxiety that had been put on hold. As Melissa said, I’m going to make a shirt with “Fear is not the boss” to go with my “Choose Joy ” shirt.

  64. Jennifer


    I am new to your blog, in fact, this is the first I have read & I say Hallelujah that I found it. I am not naturally creative but want to develop it as part of my self-care practice. This is such an important subject matter as it doesn’t matter what industry you work in fear can hold back your future and ruin the present. I am in the exact same place as you at this very moment and only recently put a voice to how I am feeling to a friend. I look forward to your insights and recommendations for books to read & podcasts to listen to. I haven’t read the other comments but know you have helped\insirped me. Keep up the great work.

  65. Sharon Hankins

    Oh wow. I love this post!! I can so relate. Need to book myself a retreat so badly! Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your heart – you are so right. There’s power in a testimony, and you are an encourager to many. x

  66. Sherrie

    Hi Marian,
    I have followed you since the mural days. Be the time I met you at your first Blissdom conference you were the hardest working blogger I knew. I couldn’t figure out how you had so much energy to do projects and photos and end each night with a a post.
    It was never about luck for you. Your hard work brought you every opportunity that has come your way.

    In all your fear you perservered! Congrats my friend for working so hard that the riches have come you’re way!

  67. Paula Blankenship

    Great testimony and I am sure it will be helpful to all that read it. Praying for your continued and renewed strength Mariane.

  68. Traci

    Thank you for being brave and sharing. I get every word of this. Our stories are different but our fear is the same. It is isolating. It sneaks up on you. It is time to retrain. I am also working on walking this out and relying on Jesus to do so. Thank you for sharing.

  69. Chelsea

    I am a new reader! Although I am not an entrepreneur I am a SAHM who works very part time because my family needs a little extra cash here and there, all the work having a 2 year old and a 5 month old who hates to sleep. A lot of days are filled with fear and dread. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it today. FEAR IS NOT MY BOSS!!! I AM!

  70. Sally

    I am so glad you shared your reality because I have marveled at how any one human being could possibly do all that you do on any given day and survive – intact and sane – more than a week. And you have done it year after year! I would not have even lasted a week at your pace without becoming catatonic! It’s so nice to know you, too, are a mere mortal. I think you will find that you will not receive criticism, but encouragement and understanding from your clients and readers because fears and doubts of all kinds are universal. It makes you relatable! Don’t believe the lies whispered into your soul; your success has everything to do with YOU, some God-given talent, a lot of hard work, and nothing to do with luck! You’re awesome!
    Remember to take good care of yourself and take the time you need to recharge your batteries when you need to, even if it means you take a few days off from your blog from time to time. We’ll all understand and still be here when you get back!
    Blessings to you, Marian.

  71. Daryl

    You will never regret sharing these thoughts with this whole company of followers who trust you. We trust you, so now you know you can trust us. Blessings to you, Sweet One.

  72. Barbara

    I admire you so much. You are so talented, kind, caring and loving. I am so happy I had a year to hang out with you. And so happy to call you friend. Go get that fear. Much love to you!

  73. Jolena

    Ah, dear Marian, the Lord has provided for you every step of the way. He will not fail you. Can’t wait to watch the direction He will take you!

  74. Eileen

    It wasn’t luck! You are very talented. Thank you for sharing your story.

  75. Monica

    Go to amazon and pre-order “Fear is Not the Boss of You” by Jennifer Allwood. I’m blessed to be on the launch team and just finished reading the advance copy. Marian, it’s all about everything you just wrote, and it is AMAZING. It’s not a book about business, but how fear creeps into every part of our lives and keeps us stuck and overwhelmed.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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