Overcoming the Fear of Inadequacy

This is a picture of my son.


It is a self portrait made back in March when he was still four years old, sent home in his personal file when he left his daycare/preschool and started kindergarten. Being four, this is as skilled as his self-portrait could be, even though I know he really sees himself more like this:

Do you ever feel like your talent may not live up to your own expectations?

Does that fear keep you from trying something great?

In almost any creative endeavor, we have an idea of what we want the end result of our efforts to be. The knowledge that our labors–our writing or painting or sculpting or songwriting or drawing in crayon–may never quite live up to the perfect standards we have in our heads can keep us from trying. One can feel paralyzed by potential.

But one must still write. One must still create.

My son may not be a real ninja turtle, but he is taking karate lessons.


If you don’t try, you can’t fail. But if you don’t try, you can’t succeed either.

You’ve got to start somewhere.

2 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fear of Inadequacy

  1. Several of my grandchildren have gone from “tiny tigers” to accomplished Black Belts. Like your son, they are my encouragement as a later-in-life beginning writer. My husband (at 75) has just completed his first novel manuscript and I’m (at 62) a little over halfway there myself. We’ve crafted a life centered around writing, reading, learning, and fitness and try to make some progress every day. We’re very lucky to be able to live this way, and to walk this path together. Nice post, Erin.

  2. Wonderful, Beth! That’s a great way to live. And a great reminder for parents of young children that at some point, you will have more time for creative endeavors again. 😉 Best wishes to you both as you write!

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