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Feel the Fear of Failure

I’ve never really been afraid of failure. In some ways, the idea of failing never crosses my mind. I’m actually far more afraid of fear, of letting fear control me.

This fear of fear is what has pushed me to zipline across Las Vegas canyon, pack my biggest to move to New York, even when I’d never been to the East Coast, and start BookEnds. In each case I was more afraid of not trying than I was of failing.

Success Doesn’t Come without Fear

The fear of failure is absolutely normal. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the fear, but true success comes only when you decide that you’re more afraid not to try than you are of failing. That you make a decision to embrace the fear and jump anyway.

Success doesn’t without fear. It doesn’t come without failure either. I’ve never regretted taking on a book (and client) I couldn’t sell. I have regretted those I didn’t bother to even try with.

It’s absolutely okay to fear queries, submissions, rejection, reviews and, yes, even success. What’s not okay is to let your fear limit the chances you could have had because you didn’t even try.

Category: Blog



  1. I have a saying on my desk that keeps me going, much along the lines of what you’ve said: The most painful thing to experience is not defeat but regret.

  2. Thank you. I read a book recently where the author mentioned someone said we all have those failure demons. The difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful one is that the successful person has learned to ignore the demons.

  3. Thank you. This is just what I needed to hear. I’m on the verge of giving up. I’ve written 45 picture books over 23 years, but I’ve been stuck in rut lately. You are absolutely right.

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