A confession about the fear of failure, my comfort zone, and finding help.
Recently I read an article from @mistygirlph about leaving your comfort zone. Truth to be told, I have always stayed “safe” when it comes to blogging as I don’t really want to offend anyone or to get my facts wrong. Despite doing so, I felt that I couldn’t satisfy everyone. We’ll always have someone that disagrees with us and will argue with what we say…or even up to the extent of unfollowing us because they didn’t agree with something that we said.
I don’t really mind, but that being said, the fear of failure and making mistakes had once stopped me from blogging. Living in an Asian culture, a lot of us were brought up by our parents to “make no mistakes”. Mistakes were seen as a failure, and failing to live up to expectations is an insult to the family.
I remember when I was 6, I was really bad at spelling (language is not my best skill until today) and every time we had a spelling quiz of 10 words, my brother and I would get a 2/10. What is even worse, every mistake would result in a caning from my dad. It was a painful experience and mom would always come to the rescue. That helped me and my brother to work really hard to avoid getting caned and we eventually improved our spelling. From making 8 mistakes per quiz, we improved to only making 1 or 2 mistakes. Although that story seemed like it had a happy ending, I believe that it had somehow affected my personality because now whenever I wanted to do something, or blogged about it, I would decide to play it safe. When it comes to blogging, I am always worried about the quality of the article.
- What if people don’t like what I write?
- What if my English is not up to par?
- What if people find it too…amateurish?
Having all that in mind, I once stopped blogging here and at AskAaronLee for 40 days. I basically just left without a word. Danny had been kind enough to email me asking if I was alright.
This affected how I work in a team too. I usually prefer to work alone because if I were to make a mistake, I could take it alone without affecting the others. I found that I was more relaxed working alone because I carried my own burden and my own fate.
We all have fears when it comes to blogging, says Judy when she wrote about the secret of fears that bloggers have. I felt really connected with that and I think I could tick most of them if it had a tick box. This questioned me. How personal should we be on our blog? Danny Brown wrote about being as personal as you can which is usually something I avoided at askaaronlee. Should I really be so upfront? I thought a lot whether I wanted to share my story in blogs because it can be a little too long winded sometimes it is better to just cut to the chase.
I used to ask myself every day about how to overcome my fears. Luckily for me, and for my readers today, I remembered reading a blog post by Mark about overcoming blogging fears. One of the tips he suggested was to seek active support, and that his friends kept him going when he first started blogging.
So I decided to follow his advice and sought help from my friend Henry, a buddy whom I met in university, to help me edit my articles. He agreed too, and even refuses any payments from me. Editing my articles helped me overcome my fear of blogging and most of my current articles were even edited by him. He gives me helpful feedbacks about it too. Because of that, I am now able to write whatever is on my mind, and it motivates me to keep churning out posts-after-posts without having to worry about my writing eliminating one of my fears. (Henry: It’s true! I take credit for any mistakes here . Aaron writes much more these days and he’s even getting better at it!)
I also sought help from a few friends on Twitter, and everyone has been so helpful to me. @CtKscribe always knows the right words to cheer me up and to get me back on track. She was always there when I was down and so were a lot of my twitter friends.
Long story short, I am gaining more confidence each day because of the support I have from the people around me, and from those who find that my articles are worth a minute or two of their time. Being on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook has helped me to slowly overcome my fears and it has been amazing to see how people are willing to jump in and help. I will never forget the support that I was able to get from the social media industry.