Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fear of failure...

 Years ago in Australia we had this brilliant magazine published monthly which celebrated the art of homemaking - Notebook: magazine...

I only discovered it about six months before the final issue was published and felt like a friend, a kindred spirit, had left my life when the newsagent told me it 'was no more'.
Since then I sporadically scour op-shops, ebay and markets for second hand copies and to date I have built my collection from six to twenty-two issues, with only one duplicate magazine.  

The other day, with three fresh copies having arrived in the mail from a bargain ebay auction, I decided that during the course of this year and next I'll 'imagine' I'm receiving a new issue of Notebook: each month and read it cover to cover, highlighting all the good things I want to ponder or attempt, as well as things I'd like to share with you. 

So here we go with the first Notebook:  blog post for January. 
I randomly chose this issue and it just happens to be the final one ever published...

Before opening the cover I brewed a cup of rose petal tea and buttered the last slice of ginger cake.
This will become part of my Notebook:  ritual.
Tea and cake and a jolly good read...

 "Feel Free to Fail" was the first article that made me want to knock on your door and ask if we could chat about it, if you'd offer your thoughts alongside mine so we could solve this problem together and change the world...

 It's all about failure attitude; how we hate failure, feel mortified to fail in front of others, and how easily most of us give up and try something else.
I like the author's statement about the exhaustion of seeking to be excellent...

...and by the time I'd finished her article the page was awash with lime green highlights.

As a mother of seven, having watched my babies crawl, fall, walk, fall, run, fall, the statement below made a lot of sense and I couldn't help but feel sad that I'd not read it before now.

"We're hard on ourselves. Look at a child learning to walk. They fall over, we encourage and praise them, so they get up and try again. If we treated children the way we treat ourselves we'd still be crawling"
(Angela Heise)

 I'm guilty of giving up. Sometimes I only have to look at a project, activity or recipe and I quickly step back with my hands thrown in the air insisting I cannot do it.
I have adult children who are guilty of giving up, too - in fact one of them told me recently "If I can't succeed in something at a high level I will stop and move on to something else."

I wonder how many amazing opportunities I've missed?
I wonder how much fun my child has robbed herself of?

Well, the times are a-changin', my friends.

Something I've been avoiding for almost a year, because I don't think I can do it, is drive Mr E's Jeep.
I have a lifetime problem with co-ordination and balance (can't ride a bike, drive a manual car, or close my eyes and stand upright) so I steer away from anything that may require me to tackle these things.

The Jeep is a US import and has a lot of the operational stuff (like indicators) on the left, not the right side of the steering wheel as Australian cars have. This may not seem big to you, but it's huge to me. 
And it's kept me out of the drivers seat.
It's also big and a 4WD, and I've never driven an off-road vehicle. 

This weekend I'm driving the Jeep.
I may not be great at it, but it's a skill I need in case one day there's no choice but for me to take the wheel. After all, we drive up mountains, over creeks and along forgotten misty tracks. Both of us should be Jeep and 4WD capable, right?

After that I'm going to try free-motion quilting, choux pastry and paper-pieced clam shells.

What haven't you tried because you think you might fail?


  1. Very good post, Jenny! i can't even begin to list all the things I've not tried for fear of failure. (I read your post about your childhood and father and we have a few things in common.) At 60, if I want to do something then I'd better try it! Good luck with the Jeep. I know you can do it!

  2. Great post Jenny .... GREAT magazine ... wish I had come across that one years ago. I must admit that after living my entire life with a Mother who lived HER life according to "what the neighbours might think" I was often afraid to try anything at all. Now I have reached an age where perhaps I don't really care anymore because I find myself standing up talking to a whole busload of people thinking in my head "did I actually comb my hair this morning" ??!! whereby once the very thought of that would've had me hiding away in my wardrobe !!!! I KNOW you can drive that Jeep Jenny ... you go for it girl. x x x x

  3. Well way to hit me on the head with a big ol' mallet, Jenny-girl - this post got me thinking, let me tell you!!! When I was younger, and fearless, I learned how to shoot a rifle, rappel out of a helicopter, blow up tanks, race dirtbikes, drive a semi-truck up a mountain while watching all the guys behind me sliding back down it, moved across country with just what I could fit in my car, $100 and no job prospects, took vacations by myself, learned to fix my car, dove in at the deep end even though I couldn't swim, honestly I don't think I said no to anything. And, here's the thing, I SURVIVED IT ALL. What happened to that Allie? Where did she go???? I want her back....I miss her. Jenny dear, you GO FOR IT - drive that thing like you're the boss of it. Make it bend to your will. You can do it - and the Allie of 40 years ago is cheering you on all the way!!!!!!!!! Go forth and floor it!

  4. I haven't try write you in english because I have fear of somehow offed or I make your waste your time. And for my shame. I write you now because you are corageus and I wish be corageus too :) Thank you for your post. Bless you.

  5. Lovely post. I don't know that magazine, not seen it here in the UK. I subscribed to a mag for a few years and kept every copy - and after 3 years, I starting putting them on the shelf in month order. That way U could always find articles and recipes relevant to the season - and after 4 years, I had a magazine a week to read each month. xx

  6. Sounds like a great mag. I can sympathize with your thinking your are unable to drive a standard transmission vehicle. I learned when I was 16 and have owned a few. However, I have poor depth perception which keeps me from parallel parking.

    My mother ALWAYS told me I could break any machine (I had a very sad childhood being verbally abused) so I have a fear of mechanical things. Free motion quilting scares me. She told me my smile was ugly and called my teeth "Big Horsey" so I seldom smile. I almost have to force myself sometimes.

    It's sad how our fears can keep us from even experimenting, but I have tried to overcome my childhood and really have done a pretty good job of it.

    This is a good post and I look forward to future posts about the gems you find in these magazines!
    xx, Carol

  7. Thank you Jenny for bringing this topic to think about. I think the only fear I have is the fear of failure and I have gave up so many things due to that fear... The one such thing that I always wanted to try doing is to sell my handmades. I'm always afraid if someone will like what I'm doing. Or if I take an order will I be able to deliver it on time ... Etc and many more which I will take many pages to write 😐... I'm going to put this topic into my prayers and am seriously thinking of starting to sell my handmades.

    I'm a follower of your blog since long time... Then i lost track in the blog roll and missed your blogposts. Recently I started to follow you on fb and I'm visiting you more frequently..thank you so much for always inspiring us with your lovely post. Good luck to Your mission to drive jeep... I'm sure you can do it because I'm a new driver and the first car that I drove is my DHs Jeep Grand Cherokee and I felt it is just another car like the saloon I practiced in my driving school.. I'm yet to try the 4 WD option on mountains... 😊😊

  8. this topic hits close to home - I know I never quite finish anything because I'm afraid it won't be perfect. I'm terrified of failure and it has only been recently that I've truly started to address it. Thanks for this post.

  9. Such an interesting post. I remember the magazine and used to enjoy it too. I'll look forward to these posts.

  10. Such an interesting post. I remember the magazine and used to enjoy it too. I'll look forward to these posts.

  11. So true, Jenny. My failure is lace-knitting. I can crochet anything, and I can do plain knitting and cables, but lace knitting frustrates me to no end!

  12. Beautiful post !! I feel like you are writing about me. I wish I could be more like you and so positive. The good news is I'm going to try and not be so hard on myself. I feel like life is such a struggle sometimes but God helps me get through it. Thank you for your beautiful words. You've help me so much.

  13. This post is very timely. As of yesterday, I pretty much had five star reviews in my etsy shop. But last evening, I got knock down by a not all true review. And this morning I was encouraged by Isaiah 41:10 -14, and Psalm 9:1-12, topped by this post of yours.
    I like what Nancy N said above, "I'm going to try and not be so hard on myself. I feel like life is such a struggle sometimes but God helps me get through it. "
    Thank you again, for your encouragements, Blessings to you.
    huggs , Judith

  14. Just look at those ripples!!! How many lives will be changed because of what you wrote? Guess I'll need to enter a quilt in a big, juried show. Have fun learning to drive the 4WD stick! I took my first driver's test in a car with a manual where the shifter was on the column and no power steering. I remember driving in wipers just kept popping on every time I wanted to make a turn!!! That habit if VERY difficult to break!!! Looking forward to reading about your success :)


    Thank you for your post.....I do this a lot in my life and even more so now that I have hit the big...huge 60.
    The thought process is not only why try it...but also...why not...too old...don't bother...
    BUt You touched a nerve....I may have to TRY!!!

  16. Good Morning Jenny! What an excellent topic that could be discussed endlessly, by so many of us including myself. I agree with your reasoning for not wanting to learn to drive the big truck and also agree with the reasons that you do need to know how to drive the truck. So while you are learning to drive it this weekend, just remember to have fun and laugh while you are learning! It will take so much of the pressure of failure off of you another good point to ponder is that some things are not easily learned. One person may do it perfectly the first time, while others it takes several attempts to even get out of the driveway. No steps are steps after all! I am really good at failing, but am also excellent at just starting over and learning all over again. Because of my severe memory problems, I am in a completely different category than everyone else. There are days in which I honestly do not remember how to tie my own shoes, so I fail each and every day. But I learn something new each and everyday also. Today, I am learning the disappearing 4 patch block and a method for tying fleece blankets. Thank You for sharing this spectacular post today and have a fantastic creative day!

  17. OK - so this is paradigm shifting. I need to go away and process how I feel about this. Thank you for the shake-up Jenny!

  18. I failed today! The builder said "are you busy? Could you come up and clean off some roof tiles for me?" I'm game to help with my building project whenever and wherever I can but going up the stepladder to the roof height of the scaffold was beyond me. I'm able to get to the top of the ground floor level, but beyond that I'm just plain scared. I think it's fine to say 'No, can't do that' sometimes - especially if it involves stepladders and a roof!!!!!

  19. You have done it again dear...taken a fear right from inside of me and made me realize I can overcome it. The worst that can happen is not clearly as bad as my fear taking charge of my life and ruining my fun. I believe we women especially are squelched and told we cannot do some things. Oh dear do I envision a new force in the universe? 2016 truly will be amazing...

  20. Failure. If we could just remember that we fail every day at something and just keep on going. Most of the time it's something little like forgetting meds on time. We just fix it, forget it, and get on with it. Too bad we forget that to succeed you will fail a few times. Kids do it every day. Somewhere along the way we learn that failure is a bad thing and to avoid it. I'm no exception. Well it's time to fail again! I'm going to fail to let failure stop me from trying and keep trying until I succeed even if it takes years to get to that success. Free motion quilting. Practice. Practice. Practice.
    I'm going to finish the quilt I started with Leah Day and her videos. All the pieces are cut most are put together and some are even marked. I just need to get brave enough to quilt them. All 42 of them. They're small, and if I fail on 1 I have 41 more to get better on. This is that year! Think I'll set a goal to have it ready to have it ready for my guild's quilt show in June. I'll not worry if I fail to have it ready by then but I WILL finish it for the next year!

  21. Thanks Jenny for this article. I have avoided completing a quilt for just that reason. I am not very good at free motion quilting and I am afraid of making a complete mess of it. I think some of this occurs as we age. I used to be much more willing to give anything a try. When I was 30 I went to the UK for six months and found myself driving a manual car on the opposite side of the road from US driving. It was a bit strange at first, but I caught on quickly. Good luck with your driving the JEEP. I'm sure you will do just fine.

  22. Way to go that Jeep! Such an excellent post. I have eight quilt tops hanging in my sewing room waiting to be quilted because I am not able to hand quilt them and I am afraid I will ruin them (fail!) if I try to machine quilt them. So there they hang unfinished and unused. 2016 is the year I want to finish all eight of them.

  23. I guess I'm fortunate, because I've failed at many things - I can't knit in spite of trying several times. My brain just doesn't comprehend it. Oh, I can knit and purl, but I can't make it into anything! One of my main encouragements to students, as a teacher, was to try and it's okay to fail because failure is where we learn the most. Perfection has always been out of my reach, but I do try for excellence. =) Your post is filled with such good spirit, Jenny. You go with that Jeep! You can do it, and it will be fun! Who knows? Maybe you have an American brain and it will be easier. =)

  24. A great BLOG post Jenny, umm mine are similar to yours. Our Dodge Nitro 4WD, we've had it for 5 years in April and I have not driven it yet.... It's sooooo BIG and
    scares me and yes has the indicators on the opposite side as this vehicle is made in the US same as Jeep. I would love to do free motion quilting and very shortly I am going to seek out if lesson are in are area. I know a lot of people do it themselves however I would prefer for someone to show and help me. I want to learn some dance steps to do some nice dancing at my Daughter's Wedding in April this year. I have also wanted to try Needle turn applique, I have been too scared to start and not sure of an easy project to tackle for my first.....

  25. Yay! Good on you! Driving jeeps can be fun! WE are definitely our own worst enemy and judge ourselves hard at times. I am practicing not doing that.

  26. Wow, Jenny; I saw my name written all over your blog post this morning. Plus, many of the comments mirror my own fears and reluctance. Good luck with tackling the Jeep. You'll find me at my sewing machine practicing free motion quilting or on the couch with my embroidery hoop and threads. swalker287 (at) aol (dot) com

  27. This year I'm going to make a quilt. I've tried doing it the "correct" (read: perfect) way in the past, but after one not-so-great result I'd given up. This year, I will make a quilt, and I will embrace the entire process. I will not be afraid of failure. I will also not be afraid to embrace the parts of me that others don't agree with. I will stay home in spite of those little "harmless" comments others throw so casually around, but which make me question myself. I will focus on my family, step away from the world and all its traumas, and trust that the LORD has it all in His much more capable Hands. I will not be afraid of letting go. I will be me, after I give her voice and listen to her, and I will not be afraid. And if I fail at the quilt, at the letting go, and at trusting myself, then I will learn from my mistake and start all over. The journey is just as important as the destination, and there is no time limit.

    Thank you for this today, Jenny.
    Illinois, USA

  28. Such a great post Jenny! I must be the "odd duck" as I can't think of a single thing that I have not attempted because I was afraid to try it. Some things are perhaps outside my economic means or geographically too far away. I'm more of a "you can do it, and if you mess what! Think of the experience!" YOU CAN DRIVE that jeep! I just know you can...and I bet you will even enjoy it once you "re-learn" your brain where all the knobs and gizmos are. I'm also struck by the timing of the article...being that it is in the last edition of the magazine. Bet the editor and staff were feeling a bit "unsuccessful" and began to think of their past editions as their "great adventure". Sharing that perspective...will help all readers. Thanks so much for sharing the article. Looking forward to other "back issues" as you review them each month. Hugs, Kathy


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