Fear of Success? What Really Holds Us Back?

I was thinking about the term “fear of success.”  One of my great new clients said it today.  It gets used often when we aren’t getting the results we want and don’t understand why.  What does that mean, really?  Why would we be afraid of success?  Literally it doesn’t really make much sense.  So when we label ourselves with it we can feel something is wrong with us because we’re doing something that is harmful to our selves and why would we do that. 

Well, it’s not fear of success… it is fear of trusting ourselves and standing out.  Fear of trusting that we know what we’re doing and how to do it and saying that.  Fear of standing up or standing out in the world basically saying, “yeah, I know what I’m doing.  I know what’s right or best.”  Fear of being seen and know… and vulnerable.  Yes, vulnerable.  And, that’s not wrong.  It’s very natural and healthy… and it can really get in our way if we let that fear stop us. 

I’ve found in my clients that have a big and very personal mission that this “fear of success” comes up.  Of course it does.  When you want to go out into the world and show your self, in such a bold, personal and vulnerable way, it’s scary. 

When we were kids, we believed we could do anything and be anyone.  We believed that we were artists and singers and… you name it.  Remember?  Then one at a time, or sometimes all at once, people told us we weren’t good at things and we started to question ourselves…  I mean, imagine if you painted like Picasso or Monet, or stood up and said things should be different like Gandhi.  How many teachers would have said, “Wow, that’s great”.  No, they said we weren’t doing it right (get back into the herd)… and some of us believed them… and there is the issue. 

It wasn’t just the that skill we questioned, we also starting distrusting our belief in ourselves… our trust that we knew something, our trust that we knew what was right. 

Rollo May in The Courage To Create wrote “If you do not express your original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”

So, what do we do about it?  First, what you just read.  Think about all of that.  Think about it when self doubt comes in, when your instincts pop their heads up.  It helps to be conscious in those moments and make a choice versus reacting to the fear. 

What helps is having a mission.  The times when I or my clients really step out of our fear is when we see a need.  That’s one of the reason it’s so good to have a niche and target and a clear focus of how you’re being of service.  (Not having to perfectly know and recite it but having a basic understanding of what you’re here to do, what problem you’re solving and for who). 

The first workshop I designed, I created and gave, even though I was scared because I’d been at an event where people were talking about being very unhappy with their current work or not having any.  I heard their need, strong need, to have fulfilling work that gave them life.  I also heard that they didn’t know what to do about it or how to go about getting it.  Well, that’s what I did through my coaching, help people find their right livelihood.  The problem was, people at the event were family members and not appropriate to coach.  So, how could I serve them?  I could turn what I knew into a workshop or book.  

That workshop I still do and it’s one of my favorites.  I didn’t know then that I’d love giving workshops so much or be so good at it (Oops, did I say that I’m good at it out loud in front of you? ;).  I’ve found that I’m at my most successful when I find that place where I really see a need and also see that I have something to meet that need (not in a needy “I have to” but in a sort of “I love you” and want to help you way… Yes, I know this is business and I’m not “suppose to” say that but I don’t do average business… I’m Going For Extraordinary©.) 

My fear of being seen (“fear of success”) became smaller as I clearly saw that what I had was needed.  That helped me trust myself and what I had… and feel less vulnerable. 

“Fear of success” comes up big when we want to do something different, to do business a bigger, better, or new way, or to lead.  When we can remember and clearly see that what we’re doing is really needed, it helps. 

Who are you here to serve?  What is it you’re hear to do?  Get into the mix.  Start asking them questions.  Find out what they really need… whether a product or service or to lead in a certain way. 

Remember, when those moments of self doubt come in:

  1. Be conscious and choose… it’s only fear of being vulnerable.
  2. Find a place to know that your services are needed. 

You are magnificent…it’s time you trust your self, do what you know is right… and Go For Extraordinary!(tm) in all you do!

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