I was never really afraid of failure when I was younger. I’d try things and if I messed up and failed, I’d try again. Until I felt like I exhausted all my options was when I’d reluctantly move on to another avenue. Case in point: in 7th grade, I spent all night trying to solve a problem on my math homework. I tried over and over again, but just couldn’t find the solution. I even tried to solve it the next morning before school started, but to no avail.
Eventually, I caved, took what I felt like was the walk of shame to my teacher’s desk and asked my math teacher for help. Looking back, the funny part was her reaction. She could see how much I had erased away my paper and within seconds, wrote on top of my now thin tissue paper on how to solve the problem. Although I failed to find the answer to the problem, I was still proud of myself because I knew I gave it my all.
I never gave fear of failure or fear of success much attention…until my college years. And even then, I wasn’t afraid of failure.
I soon realized I was afraid of success, but I didn’t know why. And since I’m a silver lining kind of girl, at least I’m aware of what I’m feeling, am I right?
A couple of weeks ago, Lewis Howes held a late-night Instagram Live just to chat to his followers. Since I love the guy, I tuned in to see where it would go. He was answering people’s questions, giving advice and asking of all us questions too.
Then Lewis asked what I felt was an extremely important question we must all ask ourselves at some point in our lives:
“What do you think holds people back from going for their dreams?”
I knew I had to answer, so I typed in my response: “fear of success” and hit enter.
Fear of success ended up being the topic of discussion for a good chunk of his Insta-live. What he said next really opened my eyes, “Fear of success is ultimately the fear of responsibility.”
Lewis was right though. I’ve been afraid of succeeding all these years because I’ve been afraid of the amount of responsibility that comes with being a true professional. The more successful you become, the more responsibility you have is the truth. And if you’re like me, you often wonder if you can “do it all” and still get time in with your family and friends, get a good night’s rest and keep your health as a focus too.
Deep down, I’ve known my potential for massive success for quite some time. I knew that if I gave it my all, success will come knocking at my door. However, somewhere along the way, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of life’s blessings. So, I’d begin to self-sabotage myself by stopping success before it got to me. I had no idea I was doing it until I became aware of my emotions.
Now that I’ve fully stepped into my identity, understand my value and that I am worthy of good things, I wanted to share with you some tips on how I’ve tackled the fear of success.
Be Aware of Your Emotions
When we aren’t aware or don’t face our emotions when we are aware, we are resisting happiness. And when we resist, we play it safe because it’s coming from a fear of failure. Because we play it safe, we are busy being busy instead busy being productive.
Some of us like to feel like we’re asking others for advice when in reality we already know the answer to our question(s). The truth is, when we ask others for their input, we are just seeking validation and wanting reassurance on what we already know.
For me, it’s a game-changer when I knew I was afraid of success, even if I didn’t know what to do with what I was feeling. Reading books like Resisting Happinesshelped me to begin to tackle my fear.
When you’re aware of how you feel is when you can do something about it. And in case you forget, everything is figureoutable.
Dream Big Even If You Can’t Believe It Yet
Yep. You heard me right. Dream big even if you can’t believe it just yet. The easiest way to do this is to create a vision board. Go buy a bulletin board that goes with your home decor, gather some pictures and grab some magazines and start cutting and pinning! After all, pinning images or words of what you want your life to look like isn’t hard!
People say that it works and I can attest to that. A few years ago, I put my vision board together and things started coming true on it! I’ve moved since then so I’m currently putting together my vision board again. I can’t tell you the details, but I’m testing to see how far my success can go with the specific images I plan to pin on it. And you know what? I’m pretty excited about seeing those images come to life!
Understand Your Impact & Know Your Priorities
When it comes to fear of success, I cannot stress enough that you have to know the impact of your choices. The decisions you make or don’t make not only affect you, but it affects those you love. My friend, Jordan Kemper, got it right when he said that the choices we make today affects our future and even those whom we have yet to meet. And if you’re interested in this topic, check out his new book, Red Key Revolution (more on this later). #ShamelessPlugForMyFriend
Yes, success is important. However, success is a different definition for everyone. Let me tell you this, you can chase success all you want, but at the end of the day, what’s most important in life won’t always be there. Know and prioritize what order family, friends, your health and faith goes in while you’re working on your goals.
For me, I take one rest day a week to go to church, spend time with my mom and relax. It’s a strict rule I’ve been following for a few months now where I do not do any work whatsoever. Just one day has done wonders in terms of mental clarity!
Shift Your Perspective
Most of the time, fear of success has to do with money. We either see expenses adding up and see them as costly or we’re afraid we won’t know what to do with a vast amount of wealth.
In my case, I’m the latter half. At one time or another, I’ve thought, “What do I do when I have all this money?” and “God, I can’t see myself spending that much on X.” and “Please don’t let me squander my blessings!”
First of all, whatever you need spend to succeed and provide for your loved ones, shouldn’t be looked at as costs. If you do what you love, it’s not going to cost you anything. Rather, look at the money as a tool, an investment. Your ROI will not only be financial assets. The time freedom you gain will be much more valuable than what money can buy. Think about that and let it sink in.
Know Your Worth By Taking that First Step
No matter how big your goal is, just take that first step to begin conquering your fear of success. Your first step doesn’t have to be big at all. A step no matter the size, is still a step. It can be as small as buying a domain for your website for under $20 or as big as starting an LLC.
For me, it my first few steps involved picking a name for my brand, purchasing a domain for my website and writing the “About Me” part of my blog. As time goes on, I know I’ll have scary moments like taxes and working with big brands. However, I believe what Shawn Mendes said in an interview is true, “I get nervous every time I go on stage, but it’s okay because being nervous means I care.” Ain’t that the truth?!
If you have a fear of success, you’re not alone. You can take the first few steps by checking out this article about feeling fear and read this book, Resisting Happiness. I promise it’ll guide you in the right direction.
I hope today’s post helps if you have a fear of success!
Let me know if the comments below what’s been holding you back. I’d love to know and cheer you on!