I once knew a woman, an artist — painter and jewelry-maker. She was terrified of failure. So the dialogue within would go like this: “If I give it everything I have, and it ‘fails,’ then I’m a failure. But if I just make a little mistake — a necklace too short, a fence out of perspective — then it was just a mistake and I’m not a failure.”
And, like most of us, she undervalued her things, or put no value on them at all. I praised them instead; told her at length that both she and they were worthy. Until finally — one day, she had the opportunity to place a painting in a gallery in Manhattan. She crated it and sent it off, but never told me the price. (You needed a price to hang something.) I harassed her until finally she told me.
“$5,000,” she said.
It didn’t sell, but that didn’t matter: She’d won.