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Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Belinda McBride

Living Fearless

We all know someone that humbles us with their skills, their intelligence and their abilities. I know I know many people like that. But among those lucky ones, there’s always that person who just seems to screw up in spite of themselves. It’s my friend “D” who can do virtually anything artistic, from drawing to sculpting in fabric. It’s “M” who can charm the skin off a snake, and paints photorealistically, or it’s “J” who had the looks and skill to have had a fulfilling career on stage.

These are all individuals with more than their share of talent, yet they’ve done nothing with it. Any of them could have started a business, written a book, or parlayed their skills into something really special. Instead, they’ve all lived tragic, unhappy lives and have never really exploited their potential.


I have a theory. It’s simple: fear. Fear of success, as well as the fear of failure.

Fear of failure is wicked. I’ve met writers who have been stuck on a project for years because they’re afraid to actually put it out there to be looked at. Even giving it to a critique partner or beta-reader is more than they can deal with.

Fear of success is even more insidious. There is responsibility that comes with success. How do you follow up that best-selling book with another? What if your next project sells well, but is a critical flop? Then there are more practical fears, such as money management and organizing your life to accommodate that success.

The people that I mentioned above are real, and without exception, their lives are unhappy and discontent. They gave up, and when you close the door on your creative self, life becomes bleak and unsatisfying. That creativity seeks another outlet, and sometimes that outlet can be far from healthy.

My challenge to you is this: take a risk. Try. To get Biblical, your light won’t shine if you hide it under a basket. And now that I think of it, if you put an open flame under a basket, you’re risking a nasty fire…

I’m not talking only about writing or art, but life in general. How long have you put off joining a gym because you’re afraid of the opinions of others? Maybe you want to take a class at the college, but it’s been so long and you don’t know if you can keep up with the younger students. Or my favorite, “Why should I get my hopes up when I’ll probably fail anyway?”

Let it go. Gather up your confidence, even if it’s the tiniest of shields. Cultivate thick skin. The only way to build your muscle is to exercise it. If you approach a wish with a plan, it’s no longer a dream, but a goal. And if you have a goal, write it down, make plans on how to carry it out. Don’t be afraid of succeeding! Don’t be afraid of failure either.


Cynthia Sax said...

My mamma always told me 'If you ever catch yourself wondering what other people think of you, remember... they aren't.' Most people are too busy with their own lives to concern themselves with my successes or failures. I'm just not that important.

So I do what I like... for the most part. It is quite freeing

Devon Rhodes said...

I think it comes down to fear of putting yourself out there..having to leave the safety of sameness.

Great post! And congrats on all the well-deserved praise for AUW, I was moved to actually send recommendations to friends on GR, and I hardly ever do that!

Belinda McBride said...

Cynthia, my grandma used to say, "You just worry about yourself..." LOL!

Devon, that's very true, we don't really like to leave our safety zone, do we? And thanks for the recommendations on Uncommon Whore, that was truly a delightful book to write, and the follow up is just breaking my heart. Griffin made me cry, and that rarely happens!

Carol L. said...

I really liked your post Belinda. Thinking positive is a hell of a lot better then thinking negative.I tell my one daughter all the time worry about you and not what you think others expect of you. This is your life, don't let anyone else interfere in your dreams.Only we can at least ry to make our dreams come true.Thanks for your post.
Carol L.

Belinda McBride said...

Thanks Carol!

She said...

Truer words were never written than what you've written in this blog. About 2 years ago I started to take risks with my life. I get a lot of criticism, mostly from family, but I let it go. I am happier now than I've ever been and do things that I've always liked to do but was afraid to admit to liking it. It's been very freeing to leave my comfort zone. Life has so much to offer. I'm glad I let go and started doing what makes me happy.