"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

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"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Fear of Failure Week 1: Little Victories and Big Goals

When you pay attention, it's really surprising how often you'll do or not do something for fear of looking stupid. I didn't thank someone who I thought had held open a door for me just in case he hadn't. I was talking to one person and didn't hear something she said, so instead of asking her to repeat it, I just chuckled and hoped that was the correct response. I have a job handing out food samples at grocery stores, which means I travel from store to store, stepping into the back room and setting up my samples. So many times, I was setting up my gear and the store staff were chatting around me. I had something I wanted to contribute, but I was scared that everyone would turn to me and think "Who the heck asked you?" It took me a while to work up the courage to join in a conversation, and of course when I did, the group were fine about it. I made a point to start up conversations with as many people as possible in the future.

There was another moment where I was filling in for a Quiz Meisters quiz at The Austral on Wednesday night. There was a girl there who looked exactly like Brooke from our gang and I wanted the rest of the group to see her. But let's be honest, if you didn't know me and I went up to you and said "Hey, can I take a picture of you to show my friends?", you'd probably think I'm pretty creepy. But this experiment is no place for paying attention to logic like that, so after the quiz, I packed up my gear and approached her. She was sitting with her back to me, talking to her friends. I tapped her on the shoulder.
'Hey, sorry to interrupt. You're going to think this is weird, but can I take a photo of you?'
'Uh, why?' she replied, perplexed.
'You look exactly like one of my friends and I've got some mates who'll be interested to see it.' The girl hesitated.
'Alright, but only if my friend can be in it,' she said, motioning to the handsome man sitting beside her. I thought that was really smart. Obviously she thought that by "mates", I meant a group of meathead boys who wanted to gawk at her. The fastest way to discourage that sort of behaviour (in most cases) is to bring another boy into the picture. If she was wrong and it was all innocent, no harm done.
'Absolutely,' I said, relieved. I took the picture, thanked her and sent it to my friends.
'Really though?' said Kelsey.
'Yeah I don't see the resemblance,' said Jerida.
"Ah, screw you guys," I thought.

These are some little victories I've been having this week, but there are much bigger fish to fry when it comes to my fear of failure. I sat down and thought about it, and there are four things that I really need to address if I''m to beat this thing. They are:
  1. Asking out girls. This is probably the biggest one. Literally since primary school, I've been under the impression that either a girl likes me or I like her, never both. That's been very frustrating and proven true on quite a few occasions. My fear of getting rejected by the girls I like I has stopped me from ever trying. Apparently when I was really young (0-4),I was a bit of a womanizer. My parents would take us to a restaurant and I'd run off to find girls to talk to. At the end of the night, my parents would find me surrounded by girls of all ages who thought I was the cutest thing ever. They used to make fun of me about it, which I hated immensely. So as I got older, I became unwilling to talk to them about it. All of these things have led some members of my family to jokingly wonder if I'm gay.
  2. Applying for jobs. So many times I've gone on the net to look for radio jobs and glanced over them all, thinking "I'm not qualified for any of these." I should be cold-calling radio stations and introducing myself as a way of getting my foot in the door. It's not just radio either, there are so many jobs I could have applied for, but I didn't because I pictured the person on the other end going "I don't have time for this kid," and throwing my resume away.
  3. Publish something. I'd love to write a book or a sitcom.. But I'm scared that I'll spend two years' worth of free time working on it and then try and send it to anyone that can get it made, and never hear anything back. It's like "Well... that's two years I'm never getting back."
  4. Take business opportunities. This is the least important one. I've had ideas that I've thought could work and make me a bit of money on the side while I fund my other adventures. But just like with writing a book, the amount of time I'd have to devote into making it work scares me. Plus I have no business sense and wouldn't know where to start.
These are the things I'll try to work on. The little victories I've had in this first week have been very encouraging, but the real work hasn't started. These four tests - four titans that have stood over me for years, blocking my path... That's where the real battle is.

Wish me luck. *draws sword and walks off into the sunset*


65 comments:

  1. Lots and lots of luck. And with your attitude you are already a dragon slayer and don't need luck at all.

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  2. It sounds like maybe you should do lots of little things to build up your confidence. Perhaps then, these others might no seem so insurmountable.

    As far as writing that book, do it for yourself, not for fame or fortune. I'm writing one right now. I believe it will be the first one I ever publish. It might be self-published, and I'll probably sell a dozen copies to friends and family. Maybe even a few on the E-book store. Most importantly, when I step into my study and see a copy on my bookshelf I'll know I succeeded.

    Girls? There are a ton, just go for it and be yourself. You don't want the girl that likes you for someone you're pretending to be.

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    1. That's all very helpful advice, I'll keep it in mind :)

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  3. You're aware of your fears. That's half the battle. Keep taking steps forward. Just remember - what's the worst that could happen.
    And I've always been shy around girls. My wife had to ask me out.

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    1. Hey, well at least it worked out for you :)

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  4. As far as the book, you just have to write it and see what happens. 99.99% of people writing books will never get rich, so if that is the motivation, may want to avoid it haha but if you enjoy doing it, do it.

    lol oh I've had a few family members work in the gay angle toward me as I haven't dated much in years, so they think that is strange.

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    1. I don't want to write just to be famous, but I do want what I write to be read ;)

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    2. If you figure that one out, let me know lol

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  5. Asking out girls is a tough one alright. But practice makes perfect!

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    1. As long as the girls you're asking don't know how much practice you've been getting in ;)

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  6. Did you ever try online dating? That may help eliminate that stress of asking out a girl....it also has the plus of knowing that she's looking for the same thing. At least you know you won't have lack of conversation topics bc every post I read you mention a new job. Store samples too? I am impressed!

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    1. Hahaha yeah I like having a large variety in my week. There's very little I could stand to do for eight hours a day, five days a week for the next 60 years.

      I have considered online dating, that'll probably be a post at some point.

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  7. Whoohoo! Go, Michael! Go! You're halfway there already - facing your fears head-on. Now go slay those dragons. [Whatever that means.] Just don't forget us little people down here.

    And gosh darnit, what is wrong with women? You're such a doll. I do believe, Michael, that it won't be as fearful as you expect to make initial moves when it's "right" or potentially "right." It will kind of just evolve out of a friendship or acquaintance-ship. She'll do some of the groundwork, too, when the interest is mutual. Give it time...It takes some maturity for a gal to realize that a good one like you is what she wants and deserves; we're used to bozos/losers.

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    1. I suspect my short height hurts my chances, but thanks very much for the kind words :)

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    2. Really? If so, I can relate. I once had a blind date with a friend of a friend - a very short guy. He told our mutual friend (the one who set us up) that I was too short for him. I guess he never looked in the mirror.

      I like short men. George is short, and I'm the first woman he's dated who was shorter than him...Anyway, sorry to ramble. There are women who like short men. That's all I'm trying to say. And you don't want to be with a superficial person anyway. At least, we don't want you to be. ;~)

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    3. Hahaha I'll make sure I'm not with a superficial person just for you guys ;)

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  8. To second Jax, I met my wife through online dating. She 'winked' at me, so I messaged her and we started a dialogue going. Really saves on that whole awkward 'do they find me attractive? Are they someone I might like, too?' kind of thing. And now that it's become more commonplace, it's not just for crazies who can't find anyone.

    That's a great story about taking that girl's picture, and I'm glad to hear you did it. Frankly, if anyone came up to me and said, "Hey, you look just like my friend, can I take a picture of you?" I'd have a blast with it. I think people are a lot more receptive to those things than we think on the inside (I'm a big overthinker too). And if they aren't, well, at least you tried. No regrets there.

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    1. I over think EVERYTHING. Or it's the right amount of thinking and everyone else under thinks.

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  9. Hi Michael. My goodness, almost sounds like the making of a YA book here. Your audience would include male and female, but I'd bet more females would read it. They would love to read about shy guy who needs their help meeting someone. Throw in three-four lines of poetry expounding on the sadness of being fearful. Share some jokes and possibly an intimate profile of feelings. Be sure and find out if you can apply for a grant to do a study of "shy males in the 21st century." I'm thinking pretty soon you'll need to open a chat line to handle incoming responses. It's all research - it's all good. Or maybe interview guys on shyness and their solutions overcoming it. I'll be looking for your you tube videos(smile).

    Basically I have a crazy imagination. I let it take me to a happier place, when fear would stop me. Then again, I'm the only one who can stop me. A friend once told me... F.E.A.R. can mean one of two things:
    Fk. Everything And Run... or Face Everything And Recover.
    I think you'll do nicely. You're certainly well on the way!! And thanks for letting us join in the journey! (smile)

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    1. I actually did write some poetry on the weekend that I'm pretty proud of and it came out of a particular aspect of something I've talked about here. Shymale sounds like an an interesting hashtag to start up.

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  10. The publishing thing reminds me of that famous Michael Jordan quote on failures (was that on your quote list? I'm thinking it was...). I ascribe to the theory that of course a lot of rejections are going to come in. That's the name of the game. Best to get as many submissions in as possible to hurry up and get the onslaught of them (the rejections) out of the way and finally get that yes!! I am not a writer by nature, but I did go through a spell years ago where I gave it a whirl. I must have sent in 50+ submissions getting no after no after no (until I just expected 'no'). And then I got a few yes answers, and a cover. Yep, a cover. Neat, right? Perseverance and a high self-efficacy level... if you know you are going to get published (if that's what you want), you will. :)

    On a complete other note... 'windexplosion' certainly does sound manly (from your comment on my latest blog post). Girls never do such a thing. hhahahaha Though not your intention w/that comment, totally made my night.

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    1. Yes, that was my post :) I watched a talk last night from David S. Goyer, who wrote the Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel. He said when he first started out, he rang up an agent he liked for 45 days straight. He only got to talk to his secretary until on the 45th day the agent himself picked up the phone and said "Who the fuck are you and why do you keep bothering my secretary?" The agent represented him within two weeks.

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    2. Sounds like smart moves all around. :)

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  11. I was never asked out by boys in school. I figured it was because I was a little ugly duckling. Maybe they were all just too shy, like you ;) It's probably why I married the first one who did ask lol.

    I think it's great you have acknowledged your fears so you can face them head on. Best of luck to you!

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    1. I've seen interviews with supermodels where they've said they rarely get approached by guys because they're all so intimidated.

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  12. I also think it was a great way to meet someone by asking to take her picture! Just be yourself, and good things will happen. I'll never forget when a boy in college told me I was the only one in my sorority who said "hi" to him, during our fraternity/sorority mixer (dance). A simple "hi" was all it took to get the conversation going, and we even went out a few times afterward. You can do it, Michael!

    Julie

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    1. We often completely miss the affect we have on people, good or bad.

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  13. There have been so many times where I haven't heard something and just smiled and nodded or shook my head in hopes that I'm just correctly reading the situation. A bit of advice for the "you look like someone" bit: it never works. Either you end up insulting the person by thinking he/she looks like a hideous troll monster or you're met with an underwhelming "meh".
    That's an ambitious list. I wish you all the luck in the world for accomplishing these. I'm particularly impressed if you should tackle number 2 because I didn't know radio was still around. You could always start a podcast and use that as your audition tape. Best of luck, again, to you. If we can be of any encouragement or assistance, don't be afraid to reach out.

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    1. Thanks very much Pickelope, you're awesome :) Don't worry, if I'd been trying to pick up that girl at the bar, I think the old "Don't I know you from somewhere?" might have worked better ;)

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  14. Asking out girls gets much easier with practice. My philosophy is, if you don't take a chance, you don't have a chance :)

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    1. Perfectly summed up. Let's hope I can learn to live that.

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  15. All girls want to meet a nice guy; if he has a sense of humor - he's golden. Knowing that (hey, I'm on their team...) should encourage you. I find that guys think girls want much, much more. I disagree.

    If you want to write, just start small. You did so well with your challenges last year. Why don't you just do a paragraph or a page daily? Everyone has time for a little bit of writing - we all waste time daily. Think smaller. Every step in the right direction counts.

    Getting your foot in the door is the key to breaking into jobs, in my humble opinion. I've had more jobs that I wasn't qualified for on paper than jobs I was qualified for. In fact, I've had employers re-write job descriptions to hire me. The key was that I got my foot in the door.

    I'd go to a radio station and offer a free service. Lunch pick up, courier, "go-for" guy...maybe a few days a week. Tell them you are interested in the industry and want to see what it is like. Then keep your eye out for the job you want or one that is going to come available. Our pal, Michael, is always the better choice than the stranger they might employ. Show them who you are - trustworthy, interested, committed.

    I've been around the block a time or two, ha ha. Hope some of this makes a light go on.

    PS: Don't combine "suggestions" - like dating at work, ha ha.

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    1. Well I definitely have a sense of humour, but it hasn't seemed to be enough so far :P Making myself visible does seem like the most important step for me.

      I won't rule out dating at work just yet ;)

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  16. I like the picture. So THAT'S what happened to Mrs. Penwasser I.

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  17. Hey Michael, just read this article about how one guy overcame a fear of rejection and thought it might interest you, so here's the link to copy-and-paste into your browser:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/valentine-s-day-looms-jason-comely-s-rejection-therapy-may-be-for-you-1.2935717

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    1. I read the article and it sounds absolutely perfect. I'll watch it just after I've caught up on my blog posts ;)

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    2. That was so brilliant and inspirational, thanks so much for thinking of me when you saw this.

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  18. Oh you're so not alone in this! I think we all get caught-up in our insecurities in little ways.

    As a girl, I'm glad that it was more expected of the guy to ask out first. Because, like you- I would be pretty nervous approaching the opposite sex to ask about a date! It's so silly how scary that is!!

    And I agree about talking yourself out of applying for jobs. Important to aim high and put yourself out there.

    Best of luck to you as you continue to tackle these!

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    1. Thanks Caitlin. I'm glad I'm not alone, because I definitely feel like a loser saying more or less that "girls scare me"

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  19. I guess as you get older, you're more willing to try things and not worry about what others think. When I look back on my life, I don't want to be asking myself, "What if?" I'll try things, and if I screw up royally, oh well. At least I tried.

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    1. One thought that's driven me more than any other for as long as I can remember is the thought of laying on my deathbed, waiting for the end, and wondering if I'd be satisfied and ready to go or wishing I'd done it all differently.

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  20. I guess as you get older, you're more willing to try things and not worry about what others think. When I look back on my life, I don't want to be asking myself, "What if?" I'll try things, and if I screw up royally, oh well. At least I tried.

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  21. I think you will eventually succeed at everything, because you always keep trying, and that's the most important thing. With the book and sitcom, you could try smaller versions of doing that. For example, you could try to get a short story published instead of a book?

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    1. This comment made me smile the most, because you've picked up on something I'm very proud of about myself. You may remember when I wrote about my heroes and talked about Dean Winchester and his ability to just keep going, no matter how pointless and hopeless he thought it was. Is getting a short story published easier than getting a long one?

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    2. Also, Invader Zim is a hero... I don't know, but it won't take as long to write as a book at least. I don't know how to get anything published, I would just do it myself if it was me....ugg, but that's me.

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  22. I was really timid and be afraid of all ! But not know. Curiosity when my twins arrive to my life I forget sacres and others and fight for my babies ha!!

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    1. I imagine I would be the same when I have kids :)

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  23. Applying for jobs and publishing. *nods* Yup, those scare me too. Whenever I apply for a job, I feel inadequate. And I sure hate it when they pass you up because you don't have enough experience, but how else will you get experience? As for publishing, rejections are normal. I've received a ton and I know I'll receive a ton more. You actually get used to it after a while. I don't let rejections get to me anymore. You know, I spent over ten years working on a series and I still have not got an agent to represent the first book, but I won't give up. And when you decide to write that book or sitcom, you won't give up either. :)

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    1. Thank you, I hope you're right and I'm glad rejection no longer scares you :)

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  24. Good luck, Michael! You're certainly taking steps in the right direction, and I think we can all relate to some aspect of your post.

    Re jobs and potential girlfriends, you don't know if you don't ask! :) Will be looking forward to the updates!

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    1. Thanks Susan, I'll be tackling the girlfriends first. Not literally, I hear they don't like that ;)

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  25. Did you ask your pole dancing tutor out? I wouldn't be surprised if she thought you were cute while you were straddling her pole.

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    1. She did seem awfully impressed by my sense of adventure...

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  26. I totally hear you on many of these things. My co-workers are mostly men, that are religious, older, and tech heads. All of which I'm not. I feel odd jumping into conversation with them sometimes. Then there's the students. If I jump in on conversation with them it sounds creepy that a teacher is. I do sometimes anyhow.

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    1. Yes, that's one of those rare things that's frustrating but understandable. I just got a job entertaining at kids' parties and I was warned that there wouldn't be as much work for me as everyone else because people tend to be uncomfortable with older males around young girls.

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  27. Good luck to you! You'll get there. Set goals and take small steps toward them. :)

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    1. It sounds so easy when you say it like that ;)

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  28. I graduated college with a degree in TV journalism. I didn't want to move away (to be a TV reporter, I couldn't have stayed in Nashville because it's mid-market and you have to start out in small markets, as you know, I'm sure!). So I went into public relations...and it all worked out for the best. But what I did at the time (this was the old days) was pull out the phone book and send my resume to every PR firm in town. That actually worked. It was a lot harder getting my second job, though. I sent resumes out and went on interviews for a while--but I always seemed to do well if I just blasted my resume everywhere I could. Now with the Internet, I guess it's not that easy?

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    1. I'm not sure of the effect the internet had on job-hunting because it's been in my life since I was 9 :P But I'd like to be able to blast out my resume like that and not worry about the results.

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  29. Elephant's Child is right, you don't need luck. What you need is to borrow our eyes to see yourself through. =D

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    1. What if we really could see ourselves through others' eyes? That is a VERY interesting concept...

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  30. Well, those are all definitely good ones! I just find it so hard to believe that you are afraid to ask girls out, though. You are so handsome, you are funny, intelligent, creative and have the best smile! Do those girls out there a favor and ask them out, man!! :)

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    1. I don't know, I'm starting to think it's just the girls I go after are wrong.

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