Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fear of Success

Last weekend, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend a Writers’ Conference at the University of Wisconsin. It was both fun and inspiring to meet so many smart, creative people! And while they were all very different, with diverse backgrounds and personal stories to tell, there was one common attribute I found consistently among all of them: Modesty.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one to pick up on this because, interestingly enough, the theme for Friday’s lunch presentation was “Fear of Success”. The speaker asked some very poignant questions: Why do writers consistently downplay their work? Tell themselves they‘ll likely never be picked up by an agent? Never have a publisher interested in their story? (Mmm.. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we’ve had it pounded into our heads that the competition is seriously fierce out there?) But maybe the speaker has a point too. Maybe there is a part of us, deep down inside, that is a little bit afraid of what success will look like.

We all know it’s easier to stay quiet, take the back seat, let someone else have the spotlight. Writers aren't the only ones who may feel this way. Many food allergy families I know also prefer to leave it to others to make the effort so they don't have to. But in the spirit of Food Allergy Awareness Week next month, I challenge you not to fear success. I challenge you to ask for better accommodations in schools. To stand up for safer food policies and protocols. To teach others how to help protect kids who need our protection. And to do your part to spread understanding and compassion for those living with food allergies.

Don’t be modest. Tell your story. And keep in mind that Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times before any of his books were published. Remember that success is for those who never give up.

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