What do we fear the most? Is it failure? I used to think so. Back in 1997, I was on the cusp of doing what most of us dream of — becoming a household name actor. I was on shows like Sex and the City, Law & Order, Third Watch, and more. I was the voice of Budweiser and AT&T ads. My agent was rock solid, and I was slowly but surely gaining momentum. Then, out of the blue, I quit.
I quit because I doubted I could be the best of the best — and my career’s momentum wasn’t as fast as I would have liked at the time. When I told my agent, I remember hearing a thunk (quite literally) when his jaw hit his desk. “Why are you quitting now? you are starting to really take off?” he asked. The answer was simple enough: doubt and a fear of failure.
I’m writing about this because I don’t want anyone to look back on their life and have a shred of regret. Just don’t quit. If you find yourself pursuing something you are not passionate about, then by all means, quit, but don’t quit on your dreams. Your dreams should drive your life. If you need help, seek out a mentor and learn how to move towards them.
Today, I’m happy as an entrepreneur. Sure, I regret not fully pursuing my acting career, but I love what I do. I’ve found that it takes far more fortitude to finish something than it does to start it, especially as an entrepreneur. I no longer fear failure and I will no longer give up. I read what critics think about my work, but I use it to improve and make myself even better. Years ago, when I was an actor, these are the types of things that would have brought me down. I’ve accomplished my dream of becoming an entrepreneur and I have no fear or regrets about that.
Moral of the story: Never avoid your dream if fear of failure is all that is keeping you from it. You will regret it forever.