Last year I wrote about how believing in yourself is the key component to success.
I’ve come to realize that faith of this kind isn’t something one has or doesn’t have, but something you need to work at each and every day.
Belief in one’s self is more like a muscle than a state of being.
I was approached about an awesome job the other day. This job would mean a return to the corporate world, but it promised to be exciting and well-paying.
After too many years of focusing on jobs that were originally supposed to pay the bills while I concentrated on making my dream of writing fiction full-time a reality, I left corporate life to see what would happen if I really gave my writing 100% of my energy, creativity, and attention.
The first year, I struggled to find balance. I was still doing too much freelance work, letting it expand to fill any available space. The second year, I did much better. I got an article published in a national magazine again, and a publishing contract with Samhain for The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave.
I was convinced that 2015 would be even better. I’d finally figured out how to balance my various passions and make my fiction the top priority. Things were great. I felt extremely fortunate to be my own boss and make my own decisions. And then, just when I was feeling invincible, along came that job.
Why did it turn my head?
It would mean a regular salary, which is tempting when you’re a freelancer and people aren’t above waiting months to pay you for your work.
It would mean being out in the corporate world again, actively appreciated and respected for what I do, making a difference (conveniently forgetting, of course, all those times I wasn’t appreciated and respected).
I’d be able to save more money for our move, but when you factor in the higher tax bracket, and that I’d need a car, the dreaded corporate wardrobe, and other various sundries required when you work in an office, probably not as much as it looked on paper.
Ultimately, it came down to one thing.
Did I believe in myself, or not?
If I took this job, I’d be right back where I started in 2012. It would be a better job, but I’d be spending my days doing something that wasn’t my dream, while my writing got relegated to weekends and early mornings, assuming I still had it in me to work in my precious spare time.
I really struggled with this. In spite of the Samhain victory, part of me believes that I still haven’t proven my worth as a fiction writer. Communications and journalism, I’m confident about. I’ve already made my living that way for years.
What if I never get published? Or what if I self-publish and the book doesn’t sell?
I remembered something Jim Carrey said in a commencement speech last year.
You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
I decided not to take the job.
I may not get published, but deep down I have to believe I will. I need that faith to get me through umpteen rejections, bad reviews, ignored blog posts, and other disappointments.
If belief is a muscle, I have to start flexing.
How do you believe in yourself in the absence of proof?