“I want to, but…” is a recurring theme I hear from people I talk to. The “what” of their stated desire is irrelevant to their more important message that says, “I’m afraid to fail.” I hear this same theme expressed by the amazon that lives at my house regarding her schoolwork, and it vexes me regardless of who the speaker is.

To combat these expressions of negative thinking, I have stopped using the phrase “Take a chance”, replacing it with “Give yourself the opportunity to succeed.”

To my mind, this is a far more useful and affirmative way of looking at the things we might like to try.

If you “Give yourself an opportunity”, you are granting yourself permission to attempt to do something new that might be uncomfortable at first. More importantly, you are removing the negative connotations of failure if things do not work out. After all, you had permission.

By focusing on the positive outcome of successfully accomplishing an objective, the fear of failure whether self-condemnation or even public embarrassment is removed.

When I started writing, I had several choices. I could keep a private journal, make my work public online, and hope someone noticed, or I could give myself the opportunity to succeed by taking the big step of trying to make money from my work. I held my breath and began approaching publishers. Eventually, I made friends with fellow author Eric Bradley who writes awesome collector’s guides to a wide range of amazing things. He was kind enough to offer some advice that helped me connect with a publisher, and The Handbook of Modern Percussion Revolvers was published.

Has my book been a huge success and financial windfall?

  • The book sold out the original printing.
  • It is still available as an e-book on Amazon.com and other places.
  • Readers in several countries have given the book good reviews.


Since I still get up and drive to work every day, I cannot say the financial rewards have been great, but this little success has encouraged me to continue writing. As announced in previous posts, I have won several awards in regional writing contests, and I have completed my latest novel Ladies, Fish, & Gentlemen.  Every little success build my confident to take the next step. Now I just have to find an agent.


When feeling uncertain, try giving yourself the opportunity to succeed. You might surprise you.