Simple Steps to Conquering the Fears of Failure and Success

It’s human nature to think we will fail. Whether past failures haunt us, reminding us what could have been, well-intentioned friends try to protect us from falling, or others try to crush our dreams, we all, at one time or another, face the fear of failure.

“You can’t do that.” “It’s not possible.” That’s what they say. That’s what we tell ourselves.

The fear of failure is real, and, in many ways, understandable. No one wants to blunder in front of others, to be unsuccessful, to have friends and family see their collapse.

But as scary as failure is, there is something that scares many of us just as much. It is the fear of success.

Success conjures up images of shiny new cars, bigger homes, and names scrawled in bright lights across a well-known theater. (Or whatever you think of when you think of success.) But thinking of success also sends images to our brains that stop us from achieving our dreams.

I was once afraid of success. I wondered if it would hurt my family when I climbed the corporate ladder. I wondered if it would hurt me if I became more successful. I often wonder where those images arrived from, whether from too many stories, late-night movies, or just my own wild imagination. Whatever it was, my fear of success was very, very real.

And it stopped me from living my life.

We all have dreams and goals we’d like to accomplish. It could be losing weight, training for a marathon, finding a job, or writing a book. But we often stop before our dreams become reality. We stop because of fear, of failure, and success.

If you are stopped dead in your tracks, afraid of failing or succeeding, I encourage you to read these few steps that have helped me along the way. I hope they help you as well.

Steps to conquer Fear of Failure and Fear of Success:
1. Recognize your fear. Accept it. Acknowledge it. It is real.
2. Believe in yourself. Believe in what you are trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter who says you can do something, and it certainly doesn’t matter who says you can’t. You must believe in YOU.
3. Remember, no one can predict your success or failure. Not even you. But if you never try, you will never know.
4. Recognize failure for what it is, one more stepping stone on the way to success.
5. Be afraid. Own your fear. Then use it to conquer and move forward. Fear can be an enemy, or it can be a motivator. You choose.
6. Never give up. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

Fear of success. Fear of failure. Both are real. Both can be conquered.

A few quotes to inspire you:

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” – Tony Robbins

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” –Theodore Roosevelt

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My Eight Favorite Frugal/Budget Sites

What began as a journey into minimalism turned into a road of simplicity. Simplicity turned towards frugality, and frugality into budgeting. Funny how a path you think is so simple can take so many turns.
But I’m happy it has, and so is our bank account.

I’m not even close to being a money/budget/frugal expert, but I do know this, once I began saving, I couldn’t stop. To help me along the way, I enlisted the help of a few experts online. Listed below are a few of my favorites. As you explore them, don’t be surprised if you find hints of wisdom about minimalism and simplicity. It seems they are all tied together.

My Favorite Frugal/Budget Sites:

Living Well, Spending Less – What’s not to like? Ruth has it all. I especially love her “smart money” section. If you can’t find what you are looking for on this site, it probably doesn’t exist.

Wise Bread – I don’t know how long this site has been around. It feels like forever. In any case, it is absolutely filled to the max with everything from personal finance to career, with college stuff thrown in the mix. So much information, you will need days to explore this site.

A Cultivated Nest – Cute and well-put-together, this site is perfect if you need ideas on frugal projects for your home or garden. But check it out for yourself, there’s even more to explore on this site.

The Dollar Stretcher – Can’t have a list of frugal sites without mentioning It is everything you can imagine about finance – budgeting, saving money, complete with categories like college and retirement. The topics in the food section alone overwhelm me – from babies to coupons to leftovers, and everything in between. If you want to save money, this site is for you.

Little House Living – More about simplicity than frugality. But like I said before, they kind of go hand-in-hand. Merissa is adorable, sharing loads of tips on saving money and recipes from scratch. Wish I had half her ambition.

Living on a Dime – Another great site with tons of frugal living advice, recipes, and even a section on staying organized.

Frugal and Thriving – A well-designed site, full of information, everything from saving money on food to paying bills, and much in between. One of the reasons I enjoy this site is because she recognizes the importance of a simple life.

And Then We Saved – Anna had a load of debt, $24,000 in fact. Within 15 months, it was gone. If anyone knows how to scrimp and save, it is Anna.

There you have it, my eight favorite frugal living/budget sites. What are your favorites? Share them in the comments below.

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What Makes Us Happy?

The man from India drags his bare feet across the hot sand, his head burning beneath the noonday sun. Dust swirls around him as he pulls his rickshaw through the village, carrying an older man and young boy in the tiny carriage behind him. The rickshaw driver smiles, knowing he has a full day of work ahead, and money to provide a meal for his family.

The driver’s family lives in the village, a small place that is tight-quartered and dirty. His house has only a tarp for a door, into which every element blows on a windy day. The family owns very little in material possessions, just enough clothing for each person, and a few utensils with which to cook.

But each of them are happy.

When I first saw the name of the documentary, “Happy,” I admit, I thought it would be something different. I thought I’d hear how happiness lay in immense wealth, closets brimming with clothes, popularity, or even the latest gadgets. Turns out, it is none of those things.

As I watched the driver on the screen, I couldn’t help but wonder, how can a man with so little be so content? How can an entire village with almost no material possessions thrive on happiness?

I watched the driver on the screen, covered in sandy dust, his feet tired, worn. As he ends his day, the photographer turns to him and asks what makes him happy.

The rickshaw driver smiles shyly, recalling his daily blessings: How he arrives home each day to find his little boy sipping tea at the shop across the street; how the boy sees him, yells for his Bapa, and runs into his arms; how the village is more than a group of friends, it is a support system for one another.

“These are the things,” he says, “that make me happy.”

Why are we so discontent, constantly searching for something new to make us happy? Why do we think happiness sits inside a mall?

When will we learn to be happy with tea, a child’s hug, a place where friends and family live? When will we find happiness like the rickshaw driver, swirling like dust beneath our feet?

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Benefits of Simplicity

About a year ago, I was asked to write a post on a friend’s site, detailing the benefits I had received from living a life of simplicity. I excited, and a little nervous. After all, what if I hadn’t really received any benefits? What if this life I claimed to be living were a lie?

In the process of writing the post, I discovered more than I could have imagined. Apparently, there was something to this life and this thing called simplicity.

I recently went back to that same post, just to see if I still felt the same way today as I had nearly a year ago. Turns out, I wouldn’t change that post at all. I’ve been blessed by a simpler life, a less with less stuff, a life with more living.

You can read my past article here on

Are you living a life of simplicity? What benefits have you seen?

Or maybe a simpler life is what you long for. What benefits do you hope for?

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The Simple Key to a Beautiful Home

My husband and I didn’t own much when we were first married, an old flowered sofa that took up one wall, a stand on which our tiny television sat, a big scooped blue chair that promptly fell apart when someone sat on it, a tiny metal table with drop leaves plus two chairs for the kitchen, and a (fake) brass bed whose paint was peeling. Sounds hideous, doesn’t it?

But we didn’t care. We were young and in love, and just needed something on which to sit, sleep, and eat. And sometimes, you when you have nothing, you will take anything.

Time went by, and pieces fell apart. We grew up, and so did our furniture.

We moved into a nice apartment building, bought a formal oak dining set, and a living room set complete with a large brass lamp.

The furniture was nice, expensive, and just what everyone expected of us. But for me, it was a bunch of wood and material taking up space.

I never loved the pieces we owned, they were a reflection of what I thought others expected of me. They were formal, grand, straight-backed, not-cushy at all, and none of it my style. Sometimes, I wonder if they were purchased to prove we could, and to impress others.

Our furniture moved with us into our new home. We purchased a couple of indestructible loveseats for our family, ones that two boys and their friends could never destroy. They weren’t comfortable (hard armrests you couldn’t lay on), and not pretty, but they worked.

Barren spots resided in the corners of each room, and though my husband and I never minded, it wasn’t long before well-meaning family members filled the empty corners and walls with their own discards. We never had the heart, or the guts, to say ‘no.’

Our house quickly became a mismatched orphanage, complete with spindly-legged peach chairs, a large curio cabinet holding cups and saucers, a grandfather clock, and other random pieces. It was pretty, but none of it was my style (or my family’s, for that matter).

Our home became a house of formalities, a place I didn’t feel I belonged. I tried to fit into our house, wearing pencil skirts, perming my hair, and putting on too much make-up. But I never felt like me. I had become a tangled mess of emotions, a simple hippie trapped inside a formal body, and inside a formal house. I even tried to change my family, which of course never worked.

Everything around me felt foreign. When I closed my eyes, I imagined a new home, complete with a deep-sinking sofa and a place on which to rest my feet. I wanted to rescue old wooden tables, strip their paint like flaky skin, and make them new again. I wanted comfort.

One day, we moved far away. Most of our furniture was left behind. The few pieces we brought were eventually given to a thrift store. We purchased a sinking sofa, and a large, cushy chair. But by then, I no longer knew who I was.

It is only now that I’m beginning to figure it out. With each furniture purchase, I look for a reflection of my personality. I look for simplicity, comfort, and love. I still make furniture mistakes, but I think I’m getting closer to who I really am. The good news is, in each mistake I have learned a lesson.

Lessons Learned:
I have learned that no matter what sits in my house, it is beautiful when it becomes a home.

I learned that even when I hated my furniture, I loved my home. I never thought about furniture when family was near, while sitting on a hard sofa reading a book together, or while listening to a large upright piano being played by a child. I never thought about it while eating pizza and playing games around an oak table. Even while leaning against a hard oak loveseat, watching movies and eating popcorn, the furniture was erased from my mind.

I learned that life was never in the clock or the chairs, in whether my furniture was formal or relaxed, it was in my family.

I learned that when family was near, that’s when I knew who I really was.

Our possessions may be a reflection of our personalities, but our family reflects our soul. I guess that’s all that ever mattered.

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