The Fear of Failing


Last Wednesday morning, just after sunrise, we headed into the bush to record another music video for Imogen.

“What song are you singing today, Imogen?” I asked.

May it Be from The Lord of the Rings, the Enya song.”

“Do I know that one?”

“You’ll recognise it once you hear it.”

Did I recognise it? Was the song familiar to me? I don’t know. I have to admit I didn’t listen properly. I was far too distracted to concentrate on Imogen’s beautiful singing. You see, I had my eye on a leech that was looking for a victim.

Yes, we were in a leech-infested part of the bush. We risked our lives as we operated the cameras, capturing enough clips to turn into a music video. Was the danger worth it? Is the video a good one? I guess we’ll have to wait for people’s reactions when Imogen uploads the video to her Youtube channel on Wednesday.

When we do things in the public eye, there’s always the risk we’ll receive criticism instead of the positive feedback we’re hoping for. This doesn’t worry Imogen. She knows criticism is an opportunity for learning. But most of us don’t react that way. We worry about other people’s opinions. We might worry so much we’re afraid of trying new things just in case we fail. Of course, if we do that we’ll end up missing out on all kinds of interesting experiences.

Just imagine if Imogen wasn’t brave enough to make music videos. She wouldn’t have asked us to head into the bush with her last Wednesday. We wouldn’t have encountered all those leeches and a million mosquitos. We wouldn’t have demanded danger money, and Imogen wouldn’t have offered us ice cream as our payment. Yes, we wouldn’t have found ourselves enjoying ice cream smothered with hot caramel sauce early on a weekday morning when everyone else was on their way to school or work.

Ice cream sundaes for breakfast? Perhaps facing our fear of leeches was worth it. What do you think?

In this week’s podcast, I talk about the fear of failing.

In episode 66, I discuss the following questions:

  • Are we reluctant to try new things because we fear we might fail?
  • Why do we fear failure when we know we learn from our mistakes?
  • How can we encourage our kids to give new things a go?
  • How do we react when they do make mistakes?
  • And are some people afraid to try unschooling?

I also share some stories and a few resources.

Show Notes

My Blog Posts
Learning from My Children
Sheep Surgery and Confident Sons
Why We Have to Take Risks

The Accidental CreativeJay Baer Teaches Us To Hug Our Haters

Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

Imogen’s Youtube Channel: Imogen Elvis
My Youtube Channel: Sue Elvis

Podcast Music
60’s Quiz Show by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)

You can find more episodes of my Stories of an Unschooling Family podcast on

and here on my blog.You can download episodes, listen to them online or use an app. Have you seen the Podbean app?

Please feel welcome to comment on this week’s podcast. Have you ever been afraid to try something new? Perhaps you have an inspiring story to tell. I’d love to hear it!

And if you’d like to share my link, please do! Let’s spread the word about unschooling!


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  1. I have always been very afraid of failing, now I'm in a learning process to overcome those fears. My children help me a lot in that because they're not afraid at all.
    Now I intend to strengthen them in their self-confidence – and to also build my own.

    1. Reply

      Living a Catholic fairy tale,

      Oh yes, I've also noticed how my kids aren't afraid of things, but I am. I don't want them to pick up on my fears so that's been a good reason for working on my own confidence. I can see you understand!

      Thank you so much for listening to my podcast. And for stopping by. I always smile when I see a comment from you!

  2. Reply

    Oh my gosh! Terrestrial leeches!! We have leeches here, but they stay in the water! I may not have a fear of failing, but leeches that come out of the water and hunt you down sure give me the heebie jeebies!@-)

    But I did enjoy the podcast. 🙂 And I can't wait to hear the new song!

    1. Reply


      I wouldn't kind leeches if they stayed in the water. Yes, our leeches venture onto land looking for victims. Or maybe they are land leeches. I've heard that not all leeches live in water. It was rather creepy watching the leeches inching their way over the ground and then trying to locate us. They were successful. Sophie ended up with two leeches on her leg!

      I hope you got a chance to watch the video. Thank you for listening to my podcast!

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