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something about ‘me’




Today i’m participating in a blogger’s cocktail party, organised by my friend theresa. There is a whole bunch of us who will blog about the same topic just for today. The choice was between something we feared or to share something about us. Both topics serve to allow the reader to go ‘behind the scenes’ and get to know the person behind the blog a little better. I chose the latter and if you want to see the rest of the participating blogs, hop over here.

I’ve chosen to talk about the fear of failure vs the fear of success.

For the past 20 years i’ve believed in the notion of having a vocation versus just having a job. I’ve strived to find work that i love, that i’m aligned with and that supports my value system. It didn’t start out like this. In the beginning it was all about making money, fitting in with the social fabric and feeding my ego. Slowly, i started questioning my motifs and realised that i have the power to say no to jobs i didn’t think fitted the bill. It has been an uphill struggle and i can assure you it will continue to be a challenge.

I’ve always believed that i have a fear of failure. Full stop! In the past few years it has transpired that i actually also have a fear of success. Do you know this poem by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles?

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

That’s right, we are powerful beyond measure and i’m starting to really get it!

You didn’t think it would stop here, did you? Well, then we have the meaning of success. What does success mean to you? I can only share here what it means to me. It means waking up every day and liking what i see in the mirror (metaphorically speaking:) to be true to who i want to be, to live in authenticity and to serve humankind. Yes, you read correctly, i see my working life as serving humankind. I believe that we can all create our own life. As the saying goes: Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. In my very small way i try to help people create their own life. For me, quality of life starts at home, hence why i’m passionate about home finding for my clients. I want to give them the best chance of waking up in a home that will facilitate them having the best day they can have.

I’ve also learned that i cannot grow if i don’t fail. I used to be paralysed with fear when it came to trying out new work things but am happy to report that these days i take it much more in my stride and will test, discard or change things as and when required without getting that feeling of being a failure.

I hope my learning never stops and that i’ll carry on the journey that has so far given me tremendous pleasure and enriched my life. Hey, let’s face it, getting to the destination is so last season. It’s all in the journey, a bit like, err, life itself.

Have a great weekend people and please share your thoughts on this. Does it make sense to you? How do you feel about your work?

Here’s to all my fellow cocktail party bloggers. You rock!

38 Responses to “something about ‘me’”

  1. Igor says:

    Fabulous post, Tina. That is a very familiar situation for me too. Though I haven’t made that giant leap to take the risk – not yet. But I am strongly considering it. Let’s see. Thanks for inspiring my thoughts!

    • tina says:

      Igor, you are very much on your way. Your way, btw, is the right one… stay in a job and start exploring your passions on the side… you will get there. I’m so impressed how you started Happy Interiors from scratch and have carved out a niche for you. I do not worry about you x

  2. Holly says:

    Wonderful Tina! I am also in the midst of my creation and thank you for reminding me that I am powerful. Somehow, I needed to hear that today. I also hope to keep learning and to keep adding dimensions to the person I am. Always.

    I’m glad you are conquering your fear of success – you have so much to offer, the world needs you.

    Man, I wish I could hug you right now :)

    Xx.

    • tina says:

      Holly, you’re always so supportive to me. Thank you so much for your ‘virtual’ friendship. I do so appreciate it!!!. x

  3. Lauren says:

    Oh beautiful, Tina! It’s so funny, I often have this conversation with myself…what am I afraid of here? Failing? (I’ve gotten used to that over the years!) Or success? That Williamson quote has always summed it up for me, and yet I still struggle with reaching with both hands for success. And I think a lot about failure when it comes to raising my son. Not just my failures, but teaching him that A) it’s okay to fail; it’s how we grow and B) how to fail gracefully.

    Lovely, and thought provoking. And I agree about the home bit too! xoxo

    • tina says:

      Ah, yes the failure/success merry-go-round. I believe that as women we often struggle with really getting into our own powers. I remember just before I turned 40 I said to my then therapist that i now really feel I’m coming into my powers. It was such a liberating feeling and it’s made this decade extra special.

      I’m not a parent but I honestly believe that if you can let children feel loved and know they can be anything/anyone they want to be, they will have an inner foundation that will serve them well in life. From reading your blog I KNOW that Cal feels this from you and Neel and so everything else is just ‘the journey of life’! You do a great job!! x

  4. Tori says:

    We are so on the same page about having a vocation instead of just a job. I wish I was taught this a lot earlier but I too believe and am starting t really understand how important it is to have a vocation. That’s one of the things I love about getting older is that you become more aware of the world, how it works, discovering more about your passions and having the ability to act on it. Lovely post!

    • tina says:

      I was just saying that to Lauren. Becoming older has it’s struggles but for me it has allowed me to become more and more the person I always wanted to be.. it’s nice to know that you are well on your own way… that’s lovely x Thank you Tori..

  5. Theresa says:

    This is exactly was I was hoping would come from you today. I knew you would be able to perfectly articulate this journey vs. destination conundrum. I mentioned already, but the Williamson quote/poem is one of my absolute favorites. Reading it here today has given it new meaning…Now I will think of you every time I read from this day forward.
    Written in my handwriting, I have a piece of paper on my pin board that reads, “See failure as success.” Because if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. (via The Happiness Project.)
    Thank you for your post today and participating. I tell you, this blogging community is the best thing and the strangest thing at the same time. Strange because I feel like I know you all, but have never met you in real life. Damn that ocean that separates us!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Tina.

    • tina says:

      Mother T. Although I didn’t really want to participate, I’m glad I did!

      I know you’re reading The Happiness Project and really glad you like it. I often turn to it just for a bit of ‘Happiness':)
      Now I have to tackle TFSS amongst all other books:) but then reading keeps me alive, inspired and ‘knowledgeable’, all vital ingredients for Tinaland:)

      Thank you for initiating this little virtual cocktail party x

  6. sue says:

    “Your playing small does not serve the world.”
    so very, very true and a lesson we should learn anew each & every day… what a lovely, honest post tina!
    i think we’ve all shared this struggle too… i spent 15 years in a job that not only failed to feed my soul, it positively crushed it to within an inch of its life… starting my new career is like a new beginning for me… one step closer to our shared notion of success (ie, liking who you see in the mirror)… i often ask myself if i were to meet myself, as you do a stranger, would i want to get to know me? it makes me want to work harder to be the kind of someone i would want to know every single day!

    • tina says:

      That is a beautiful way of looking at yourself. I too strive to be the best person I can and will do so for the rest of my life. It gets better with age, right?
      Thank you for your lovely comment.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Tina! Your words are truly inspiring and I couldn’t agree more that your home can affect the way you feel each morning when you rise to start the day. I can tell you that if I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t got back to work, but as long as I need a paycheck, I’ve got it pretty good. I have days where I dream of being a decorator or art curator, but I try and quench those interests in my spare time. Here’s to working on creating ourselves everyday, with the help of our fellow bloggers to give us the support we need! Have a great weekend!

    • tina says:

      First off, you have an amazing blog, so you are expressing your passions and interests. From memory, you like your job and that’s great? All else falls into place one way or another. Anyway, here’s to passions, interests, blogging, support and love. That surely ticks a lot of boxes… hope you’re enjoying your extended break.

  8. Goodness me Tina-yes, perfectly articulated, as ever and so thought provoking- the journey is what counts so much more than we all realize, that makes so much impact and marks our lives x

    • tina says:

      Thank you love.. it’s nice you’re back being creative…here’s to Instagram and yes, it’s in the journey!!! x

  9. limor says:

    like yoy wrote: “i see my working life as serving humankind”‘ that exacly how i feel. and yes, It’s all in the journey. it remined me of my Marathon race: it was not the finish line i crossed’ it was the hard’ very hard journey to get to this point.

    love you, my successful and favorite relative…

    • tina says:

      Hey Motek,

      I can’t wait to come to Amsterdam and support you in the Marathon again. Rome was truly magical and memorable!
      Thank you my favourite cousin!! Love you x

  10. noreen says:

    hello! we like the same quote, although i am unsure of its author. i agree with you 100% about finding a work that is a calling. as a teacher, i found it!
    joy to you!

    • tina says:

      It’s so nice and refreshing when people have found their calling or purpose. It must give you joy and peace of mind doing something you love… thank you.

  11. I’m sure this resonates with zillions of people. What a great initiative to present the less ‘happy’ (but nevertheless encouraging) side of bloggers. I once came accross a blogger on twitter (can’t remember her name now!) who used to post totally unglamourous photos of her life at regular intervals as a counter to her ‘happy blog’ They were incredibly funny and uplifting.

  12. Chi@106 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that powerful poem, Tina and for this post – they both really resonated with me in … oh, so many, many ways! :)

    I started out in an industry renowned for being shallow and self-obsessed and I feel that I have now found a way to use it as a means to “serve humankind”.

    I definitely have a fear of success – big time! This is the first time in my life that I’ve put myself out there and it’s scary. That said, I find that because I’ve done so I’m growing more and more as a person each day – and loving it! :D

    Ultimately, I just want to be someone I (and therefore my daughter) can be proud of. xoxo

    • tina says:

      Well, do we see the next Katherine Hamnett for kids? She was such an iconic figure in the 80’s. I actually saw her talk at Selfridges on the overfishing project. She still looks the same:)

      It is scary, but you know what I’ve learned. A lot of people are in the same boat and very supportive. It took me a long time to ask for help but once I cracked that, it all became easier.
      I have no doubt L will be proud of you just for being you and her mommy… nothing else. On second thoughts, I wish I would have had better female role models when I grew up.. x

  13. I quit my job in Jan 2011. Had been on the career treadmill for 10 years and couldn’t do it anymore. Now I’m trying to carve out my niche and find my space in the world. Money was always important, and it’s necessary to live, but isn’t the ultimate driver anymore. I jumped feet first into my exploration of design and what I wanted to do with it all. And I’m still finding out, as the recent revamp of my website has shown me. I know I’m a great writer and I know I can express myself well (I say that in the context of the poem you shared). I just need to find the courage to take it to that next level… and I will. I’m gonna be a very successful design writer and stylist ;-)

    • tina says:

      Gerard, my lovely twitter mate who I look forward to meeting… I’m happy you gave up the treadmill:) Money has never been a driver for me and I count myself lucky.

      You are so on your way and I love watching it unfold online… what I particularly love about YOU is your strong opinions and your undeniable passion for design and its aesthetics.
      You will, no doubt be a very successful design writer and stylist. Just keep believing!!! x

  14. Sibylle says:

    Just wonderful:-)

  15. annie says:

    “i spent 15 years in a job that not only failed to feed my soul, it positively crushed it to within an inch of its life… ” Yep that sums me up! And schools such as KLC are making a mint out of people like us :)

    Well I have a fear of starting rather than failing It think. I’m also developing a fear of finishing my course. Because then I will have to be brave and put myself out there. Which is frankly terrifying.

    I’ve never been motivated by money either. I would far rather have a job I love any day.

    The thing I have found so interesting is that in my work circle I’m described as ‘aloof’, an ‘ice queen’, ‘mildy aggressive’, ‘obnoxious’, ‘stubborn’ and ‘unhelpful’. I thought I was that person, until I started mixing with bloggers and interior designers and I realised it was just becuase I hate my job. I’ve now been described as ‘generous’, ‘fun’, ‘friendly’ amongst other things. That’s the difference the right career choice makes.

    Pardon me for being uncultured but I thought it was Nelson Mandela who said that!

    Great post Tina, sorry I’m so late with my comment x

    • tina says:

      Yes, you and millions of other people. I’ve been on this journey for many years and so really appreciate the new flurry of companies and entrepreneurs who look out for their staff and make sure their souls are fed and the people grow and learn from their experience in the job. Surely this must be the way forward. Anything less is not acceptable and the UK has too many people off sick and experiencing mental illnesses due to stress, long hours and ‘crushed souls’.

      I’m so glad you are getting out…

      I’ll be lying if I would say the path to starting a new career or setting up on ones own is an easy one. Its filled with anxiety, tribulations and knock downs. What I will say is that you will experience 2 steps forward and 1 backwards ALL the time and it will seem you’ll get nowhere. The best advise I have is: just ‘do’, be prepared to ‘fail’ and learn and grow. The truth is you have nothing to loose and EVERYTHING to gain. Remember also you are supported by R and your friends and the ‘vocation community’ is very generous and helpful. You just have to ask…

      Go forth, you’ll be fine and ‘happy’ and have all your bloggers friends to support you!!! xx

      I better address this conundrum of whose quotation this is. I’ve always known it as MW, but was aware of the NM speech. You are not uncultured. It’s a controversial one.
      Here is an explanation for it: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Marianne_Williamson

  16. Nicola says:

    Monday morning and just catching up with all….

    A most inspiring way to start the week, thank you Tina, and so beautifully written.

    I have seen great success in projects and worked with high-profile clients, yet my greatest achievements & satisfaction have been in the smaller projects that have truly changed that person’s life for the better.

    To leave even a small amount of inspiration, hope and happiness in peoples’ memories is a vocation. You are able to do that by finding a person’s environment, an important starting point to creating your best life.

    • tina says:

      Thank you Nicola. I agree, I’ve often preferred the smaller projects myself. The important part for me is always: how can I contribute to inspire or facilitate change in everything I undertake. That seems to make me happiest!! Happy week to you my friend.

  17. Toni says:

    Lovely and thought provoking Tina! I have typed up various versions of my comment but what keeps coming back to me is this latin sentence Errare humanum est – it is human to make mistakes. Once I truly realised that, I felt liberated full of energy and above all free!

    • tina says:

      I know I should have paid attention in Latin classes.

      The lesson of it’s ok to make mistakes took me forever to learn. Of course, now I’m also liberated. What joy!

  18. Sam Lennie says:

    Apologies for being a few days late Tina!

    I have read the poem before but I couldn’t recall who wrote it but thanks for the reminder. ‘It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us’ – that’s a real revelation.

    By nature we are self deprecating and are not very good at praising ourselves. Why do we wait for others to comment, praise, criticise and confirm who or what we are when we have our own feelings and inner power that we should trust upon the most?

    Letting our own light shine so that others shine too is a lovely thought. That definitely radiates when we physically meet and interact with each other, it’s a powerful scenario indeed and a lot of fun! Each and every one of us is interesting, in some way and the uniqueness of each of us is awesome and fascinating.

    When I got out of being an employee back in 2009 is was the biggest, most satisfying and freeing experience. Yes, it was scary but when you see life from a different perspective, doors start to open and you discover things about yourself and your abilities that would have never come to the surface had I stayed in a job working for the man. It definitely takes that step, without it you can’t experience that feeling. I will never be employed again xx

    • tina says:

      That’s encouraging to hear. Glad you got out of employment and are embarkng on your own journey. I’m sure you’ll do well:)

  19. Hi Tina…just loved the raw honesty here and the glowing positivity. It was just what I needed to read. I get caught up in the “not being there yet”-ness of things, and I’ve only started! What’s my rush? It is, like you say, about the journey. I will admit…there are days I want to curl up in a ball and rock myself…overcome with fear of failing. But, reminding myself of my greatness and being grateful for the greatness that surrounds me (like here in blog world) is enough. It really is. Thank you for your post.

    • tina says:

      Thank you for your honesty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through the fear/failing/not good enough feelings. All I know is that every time it got slightly better and we must never forget that we’re taking ‘the road less travelled’ and for that alone we’re winners.

      Everything else is conditioning and unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves.

      Thank you for your comment and for stopping by.

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