Dare to Dream. Dare to Fail. Dare to Finish.
Dare to Dream
Recently I brought home a book from the library called You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-up Girls, written by Lauren Catuzzi Grandocolas.
I checked it out to see how it was written and put together. I wanted see if it was a take off of The Daring Book for Girls. I found it to be neither. I also found that it inspiring. I figured I might even learn something new.
I began with the first step 'Dare to Dream' and followed the prescribed steps. It didn't take me long to answer all of the questions. But then, I have made a point to never quit dreaming. My dad once confided in me that he didn't know what to do with his life because all of his dreams had been accomplished by the time he was 25. I figured the same could easily happen to me, and have left my imagination to run free.
The sixth step of the 'Dare to Dream' was about getting started on learning something new. It says, in part, "Not sure where to begin? Not to worry! You Can Do It! is all about making dreams doable, and building up the experience you need to get you to your goal." The book is also sub-titled The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-up Girls. I took that as my cue, and decided to start with something I know, after all, that is what I would do if I were in Girl Scouts. I turned to the sewing section, and the beginning project is to make a skirt. Simple enough, and I could use another skirt.
One of the things with the book is to keep a journal of your day dreaming, desires and learning. Since I enjoy writing, this was no hardship.
From My Journal
The first project under sewing is a skirt. I have lots of fabric and many patterns. I plan to choose from what I have. I would be fun to make a 'boutique' style skirt. I want something fun to wear.
- Brown Asian
- Green Sheeting
- Blue poly
- Scraps from another project or two
- Goes with me, instead of standing out or weighing me down.
- Versatile. It has to go with more than one thing I own.
Later the same day:
This morning I got up, excited and feeling sure. I read the chapter on sewing. Made my lists. Made decisions. Got out the fabric and procrastinated!
I looked at other designs online. I played games. I did chores. I did everything in my power NOT to sew.
I also have not pursued a single one of my writing goals this week. Maybe I really don't want to succeed.
Fear of Failure
Being a very analytical type of person, I could not just let it go. I needed to know why I had refused to take on a project I had been so excited about and was sure I could conquer.
I also needed to be brutally honest with myself. I could come up with 100 reasons and excuses, but what was at the root of this? What was I refusing to face?
Failure was the one word that resounded true. It has always been the thing that has brought me to my knees. And we are not talking failure by other peoples standards. We are talking failure by Ivorwen standards.
Failure, by Ivorwen standards, means that if it is not the best job I have ever done on something of the sort, then it is a failure. A complete and utter failure. If it turns out as well as what I have done before, then it is okay. Only okay. After all, it shows no improvement.
How long can you top yourself? What does a person have to do, to always do better?
As I asked myself these questions, I realized that in the back of my mind, I thought the only way I could really succeed in my sewing was to complete something I had never done before. The only thing that came to mind was to make a wool suit, of which I have no need. I have made virtually every other type of clothing, and worked with most all types of fabric.
At this point I called a very talented friend who also suffers a lack of motivation at times, to see if this made any sense. She told me that failure was the one thing she fought every day. If supper didn't turn out just as she had imagined, then it was a failure, even if her husband liked it. And it was the same with everything else in life.
As I thought about this discovery, I realized that my dad 'suffered' the same thing, and it was what really kept him from knowing what to do with his life.
- When I was 12, my dad built a sawmill, with the intention of selling plans to other do-it-yourselfers. He gathered all the dead trees from the neighbors and took on jobs clearing lots, so that he could make lumber. He made many beautiful additions to our home, but the plans were never written. He said it was because the mill needed a few tweaks, to be just right. He didn't want to try again.
- When I was 18, my dad carved a violin. He greatly enjoyed making it, and it turned out fabulous. My sisters teachers both valued it at about $10,000. He has refused to make another, because it might not turn out as well.
I could go on with more of these stories, but the point is, I was doing the same thing.
Dare to Fail.
The next day, after identifying that fear of failure was the thing holding me back, I decided to challenge myself. To dare myself, not to dream, but to fail.
I thought of others who had dared themselves to fail. For example: the woman I read about who had set herself the goal of collecting 100 rejection letters for her articles. She had more published than she had ever dreamed possible, and still had not reached 100.
I challenged my self to face the worst: What if the skirt I was planning to make didn't turn out?
Answer: I would have wasted a bit of fabric, but most of it would be reusable.
So, I began. I measured carefully and cut out the skirt. I sewed up the seams, put in the zipper and completed everything but the hand stitching. So far, it is beautiful. At least as good as I had imagined.
Dare to Finish.
If you don't finish the race, are you in last place? Nope. If you don't finish, you don't place.
Sometimes, I would rather be disqualified, or simply step out of the 'race' than to finish without recognition. I often experiment with a project, until I have enough proof that I could succeed, if I gave it my attention to the end, and quit. I have many unfinished projects.
I not only need the challenge to see if I can fail, but the challenge to finish.
It has been three days since I have worked on the skirt. I am challenging myself to finish it tonight and to have a picture of it to add to this tomorrow. I am also challenging myself to finish 30 other projects in the month of March 2010. These projects that I finish don't have to be started yet. They don't have to be big or fancy.
My dream is to finish 30 things that are outside of my normal, daily routine, in March.
If I fail at this, I will still have completed something, the skirt first!
Finish the challenge. This is probably the hardest aspect of what I am daring. Even if I do not finish in March, I will still have to finish 30 things.
- My Skirt!
- Wrote a short story that has been floating around my head for several days.
- Made a 'Tomato' pincushion for my two year old, so that he will quit asking for my strawberry. (picture below)
- Wrote seven articles.
- Completed three tutorials.
- Hemmed a pair of slacks that I had made more than a year ago. They are finally wearable!
- Finished quilting a table runner.
- Made a wool dress skirt.
List continued below comments.
- Knit six dishcloths.
- Made a quilt top.
March Total: 23 out of 30
- Wrote three articles.
- Made four dishcloths.
And # 31, completing this self imposed challenge!