Fear of taking action and the fear of failure

October 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles

I hang out in craft and jewellery making forums all the time, and the one thing I see time and time again is people who are too scared to take action and sell their crafts. They have a fear of failure, and therefore they would rather not take any action at all. This way they never get any where, but at least (they reason) they have saved themselves from the possibility of failure and humiliation.

What amazes me is the number of success stories I have seen on craft forums where people have summoned up the courage to approach a shop and the shop has placed an order. Often they are all too willing to stock something different and unique. The crafter then comes back onto the forum to share their success and everyone congratulates them. Common comments are, “aren’t you brave, I could never do that.” or “You’ve given me hope, maybe I will try and make some approaches next year.”   NEXT YEAR?  Why not now?


I tell you why, because the posters who offer their congratulations have no real intention of making any approaches to shops to stock their goods. They are too scared of rejection and therefore would rather say they tried jewellery making or soap making but couldn’t make a living out of it. What they really mean is that they don’t have customers banging on their front door asking to buy their goods.

The other trend I have noticed is probably even worse. A fear of rejection I can understand, but making comments to put people even off tying to sell their goods is worse. And I think that this stems from two things. One is envy, and the other is that they want secretly want people to fail in selling their goods, so that they can justify their own inaction.

Recently I came across a comment in forum from a woman who had been approached by a large company in the wedding business, who wanted to stock her goods. They wanted her to make products for their company and sell them under their own brand.

What a great opportunity! This woman gets to sell her products without incurring any advertising costs or marketing costs or dealing with customers. She has a ready made outlet and a steady income stream, plus she can still sell her other goods directly to the public as well.

What do you think people had to say about that? Here are the comments:

• “sounds like piece work to me – don’t get involved”
• “you won’t’ get your name recognised.”
• “I think you will need a contract and that’s complicated.” 

Nearly every single comment was negative. Why? Is it because the other posters are envious? Is it because the other posters have no idea that this is great opportunity? Is it because they are just plain dumb?

Most of the comments were concerned that she would not be credited for her work. What is worse? Make a few cake toppers at home and sell them at a few wedding fairs making an occasional income, but having the satisfaction of knowing that the few people you sell to know your name. Or become less egotistical, forget the branding and have the opportunity of selling hundreds of your products and generating a great income which could lead to greater things.

Every day big brands are sold under supermarket own labels.  The big brands don’t complain that their name does not appear on the package, they know it makes good business sense.

So I wonder why it is that people are too willing to advise someone against a good opportunity. And I think it comes down to basic envy. Most people are too scared to take action and they would rather see someone fail than succeed because this way it in reinforces their own belief that it is safer to do nothing than put yourself out there and try and obtain some success.



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