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Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor           humordoctormd@gmail.com
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Do You Have a Fear of Failure?
"When I was diagnosed with Lupus, a new door opened for me.  I decided I could not lie down and let life pass me by, while I felt sorry for myself.  All of a sudden, I had so many dreams that were only dreams.  I wanted to live to see these dreams come true.  The fear of failure was gone, and new appreciation for life was diveloped.  Once the fear of failure was gone, and a new appreciation for life was developed.  Once the fear of failure was gone, my talent blossomed and I found many doors open for me. I have found the magic in life of taking my dreams and weaving them into my reality.  If only others realized how easy this can be!" 

Thank you Sherry for that inspiring story.

*          *          *

The word "courage" is a word we hear little about these days.  But, from the time we were tots, courage has played a large part in growing up.  For example: Learning to walk; potty-training; riding your first bike, as you wobbled down the street and afraid to fall off; starting school, etc.  How about your first date...remember that?  It took a little courage to do all of these things. 

Courage: (definition) The attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of withdrawing from it. 

* It takes courage to start a family, with all the responsibility that goes with it.

* It takes courage to switch jobs.

* It takes courage to build a website and show your work to the world.

* It takes courage to join the military and serve your country.

* It takes courage to move out of town away from your family

* And, it takes courage to participate in an arts and crafts fair, to show and/or sell your
  work, having overcome the fear of rejection and failure. 

I was born, and still reside reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA).  The state is blessed with thousands of talented artists and craftspeople.  As a woodcarver, I participated in over forty arts and crafts shows all over the state, and I have promoted six of my own.  Diring this time, I have seen so many wonderful and talented artists produce sensational pieces in so many different mediums.  But, there are so many talented artists who will never get to the point of showing and/or selling their work  Why?

Because they have "stage fright," and a fear of going out before the public, and the fear of rejection and/or failure.  This is a big problem for some people.  This isn't like a salesman selling insurance.  These people make their own work with their own original ideas, and they use their mind and hands to produce it.  If they get rejected by the public or fail, the pain runs deep! 

The individual has to find the courage to get out there and show and/or sell their work.  A suggestion I give people is to do what I did.  I took a few of my wood carvings to the flea market and just showed them (no selling).  This way, I tried to get comfortable with large crowds of hundreds or thousands of people, etc.  I also got a reaction to my work, which was important to me.  I also got to see for myself, which pieces were getting the attention, and which pieces were not. 

It worked out great for me, and I didn't have the pressure of participating in a large show in a fancy hotel or a convention center, etc.  As I went to the flea market a few times, my confidence level went up and I didn't have as much stage fright as I did before.  By the time I was ready to participate in a real arts and crafts show, I was ready...well, sort of. 

While I was going to the flea market to show my work, I was invited to participate in a show on the plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Tourists from all over the world come to Santa Fe each your.  I didn't know if I was ready for this or not.  I didn't know if I had the courage to do it!  For my first show, I wanted to find a little show, behind a church someplace with a few hundred people attending.  But no, I had to choose Santa Fe to get started.  I must have been crazy!

Just before the deadline to cancel to get my entry fee back, I almost cancelled!  I was very nervous and I didn't I have the courage to do it.  But, to make a long story short, somehow I found the courage to participate, and for my first show, I did okay...as far as sales and nerves were concerned.  Doing the first of anything is always the toughest, and I was relieved when the show was over.  I then went on to participate in over forty more shows around the state.  So, I can understand why people have a fear of failure; stage fright and have the jitters and are nervous about participating in public.  I've been there...I've done that!

Many years ago, I was the founder and director of the Fiesta of Arts and Crafts.  (Art in the Park), which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (where I live) During the six shows, I had the privilege of meeting some of the most talented artists and craftspeople from all over the state.  During one of our shows there was a woman named Jean, who called me one day, and I'll share this story with which I think was great. 
Jean called me just before the deadline to enter the show.  The show already had over 100 exhibitors, and we really didn't want many more so the show could be manageable.  Jean was nervous about participating, and whe told me she had been doing her macrame for several years, and she would give her work away to family and friends.  She told me she had never been able to get the courage it took to participate in a show.  AS I spoke to her on the phone, she seemed nervous and jittery, and I could tell she was having the same problem that many people have...fear of rejection and failure!

I told her that I got my start at the flea market with a lot of people and she told me she had already done that, but she told me she was still not there yet.  To take the pressure of selling off of her, I told her she could come itno the show and just "show" and not sell her work.  I tried to encourage her as much as I could, and told her that all of us have had to go through what she is going through.  We all had to just jump in the pool and get our feet wet, and she was going to have to do the same thing, too.  Judging from her voice on the telephone, I didn't think she would enter the show.

A couple of days later, and to my amazement, her entry form can in the mail, and I was certainly glad to see it.  She made the decision to jump in this thing.  This was a non-juried show, so when Jean arrived the morning of the show, I would see her work for the first time.  She did fabulous work, and I knew she would do just fine!  Even if she didn't sell anything, that first show is always the toughest, and it would be out of the way, etc.

On the morning of the show, there were colorful displays all over the park area, and hot-air balloons dotted the sky above, as the International Balloon Fiesta was being held the same week-end!  Everything went fine as to the opening of the show, and a couple of hours later I was attending to business in the park someplace, when I heard someone screaming my name from afar. 

"Jerry, Jerry!"  A woman came running across the park!  It was Jean!  She was huffing and puffing, as she apporached me!  "Jerry, Jerry...I did it!"  She had something in her hand that she was waving around!  "Look, Jerry...a check...my FIRST sale!"  The check was for fifty dollars, and Jean was going wild!  "I did it...I did it...Jerry, finally!"  I had to settle her down because she was so excited, and I was so happy for her!  We were both jumping up and down like a couple of little kids playing in the park and giving each other high-fives!

I walked her back to her display, and I noticed a couple of tears rolling down her face!  "I did it, Jerry!"  She kept waving the check in the air for all to see!  Jean did it, and it looked like she had overcome the fear of rejectrion and failure, because she was already planning her next show!  I was so happy for...because all of us artists and craftspeople have been there!

So, it doesn't matter your chosen field, it's going to take determination; commitment; discipline; long hours; skill, and what Jean found out after many years of searching...it's going to take courage! 

I never like to use the word "failure," and I prefer to use the words "set-back."  I think people who don't try anything or do anything with their lives...are the failures!  I think if a person who TRIES, but doesn't make it...it's only a set-back for them and nothing more.  But, like it or not, all of us are going to have to find the courage it takes, to do some of the tough things in our lives! 
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My articles published 200+ websites
"I don't look back...I look forward."  Steffi Graf
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Copyright; Jerry Aragon; 2007
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To all the young people out there...STAY IN SCHOOL!
Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor           humordoctormd@gmail.com
Main Street/Front Page                         Free Stuff/Come see
Site Map/site contents                          The Creative Center
Writers Section                                     The Humor Clinic
The Funny Farm                                   Book: BumpyRoad of Life