But what if I fail?

what-if-i-fail-2-webToday I’ve got a tidbit of sweet, serendipitous inspiration for you that’s been on my mind!

Last week I stumbled upon Smart Creative Women – a podcast founded and hosted by artist/creativity coach Monica Lee featuring women in the business of creativity. She interviews super cool women (and some men) doing exciting, creative stuff and I find it pretty inspiring and quite practically helpful as well. So I’ve been enjoying that as I putter around many mornings, and today the best thing happened!

I was working away on my 100 Day Project page, looking for something to listen to… checked out the site, and what, wha?! Elle Luna, artist, designer, start-up superstar and none other than bonny captain of the 100 Day Project herself happened to be interviewed! And, seriously. I listened to the interview TWICE in a row. Typically, I’m not a repeat reader/listener, and I cannot remember the last time I did that. Elle was mostly talking about the premise behind her new book, The Crossroads of Should and Must. I haven’t read the book yet, it just launched but it sounds like a winner – part objet d’art, part practical guide to finding and following your passion, I def just ordered it.


Anyway. During the interview, she quoted a page from the book – an internal dialogue she has with herself almost daily. I’d already read the page, as it was posted during the amp up to the 100 day project, and it’s been on my mind since. Well, one line has. The line:

But what if I fail?”
“You will.”

Not you might. You will. It’s a glorious certainty. For me, hearing this beautiful, brilliant artist and business woman say you will fail, as she gently tosses her baby birds out of the nest feels so liberating! Actually, it was kinda the clincher for me in deciding to do the project! And it’s been quietly whispering to me ever since, in such a strangely encouraging way.

Because it’s true, right? We will fail. Always, every time. In some way! Not completely, maybe not even mostly, but partly. For certain. We will always fall short – in our perception – and that is alright. It’s just reality! Embracing that idea as a peaceful, playful, pleasurable certainty is really encouraging me to just lean in, love it, take some risks and run with it. It’s pulled some of the punch out of the fear of failure – helping me to enjoy the process of writing and creating more, be more public with my own creative stuff, let people know what I’m up to (self-promo, yikes!)… call midwives in German, try to return shoes after the return policy has expired… You know, generally terrifying stuff like that. 😉

Seriously though. Do you feel me here?




8 thoughts on “But what if I fail?

  1. Pat

    Dear Elena – love this post and I’ll definitely check out Elle Luna’ s book now. Her post on should and must came to me via Liz Gilbert, another brilliant creative person. I’m happy to see that there are others out there who are feeling the same way. As I write every day and question my sanity, wondering how I could have quit my job with no real plan other than to find my joy, I often get stuck with that question. WHAT IF I FAIL? How nice to hear the answer and to know that it’s not the end.
    Keep up your good work! I’ve been enjoying your Instagram posts.


    1. Elena

      Dear Pat,
      Thank you for your comment! Oh my, what an incredible journey you’re on! I’m wondering if you have a blog? The link through your name doesn’t seem to be working. I’d love to follow along as you find your joy! Failure is such a paradox – we do it every day and surely things will not turn out as you expect, so in some respects of course you will fail! And yet, it’s impossible for you to fail – you’ve already been so brave, I’m sure you’ve already gained so much! What a gorgeous opportunity you’ve carved out for yourself.
      And I just love Liz Gilbert as well! Have you heard her TED talk? It’s one of my favourites! It figures that she’d be hooked into Elle Luna’s stuff! I’ve just received Elle Luna’s book and it seems to be a beautiful extension on the article. A new IG friend and I are planning on working through the book jointly – let me know if you (or anyone else reading this) would be interested in joining in!

  2. Tara

    Very liberating indeed! I just started gathering/buying tools and materials to start some woodwork/carpentry projects…beginning from scratch, zero knowledge. I was taking forever to start my project, trying to line everything up just right so that when I did it it would be a “masterpiece”…then realized weeks had gone by and I had not done anything because I was waiting to make sure when I did start it would be perfect…duh, then it hit me that it would most definitely NOT be perfect and I should just dive in and get messy/dusty and let the wood fall where it may 🙂 But I think fear of failure can root back to childhood experiences for many, for me for sure I have very humiliating memories of how I was made to felt when I did fail…as I am sure many do.

    1. Elena

      Tara, oh my you and I… we have a lot in common! I’ve spent so many years buying supplies, stocking up, saving things, getting books, reading articles – just, you know, PREPARING in the absence of actually doing, and in the end what happens is that we end up putting so much pressure on ourselves it steals a lot of the joy from the actual process! YES, just get dirty. I think it’s really helpful to set goals, or like, take on projects that are more process oriented, lots of tinkering, short-term, trying new things… with this blog, the fact that I am making myself have a post every week has taken so much of that “masterpiece” pressure off, you know? Short term, small projects, and just GO. Without that THIS HAS TO BE AMAZING pressure, it’s so much fun! I really like wood working too, but really have no space for it right now – can’t wait to see what weird and wonderful things you come up with! Have fun failing! 😉

    1. Elena

      Yeah, Mom! Totally! The openness to the inevitability of failure – even joy in failing feels so amazing! I feel like it’ll make it easier spring back into shape no matter which way things go. We’ll see if I can keep it in mind in the harder times, though! 😉

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