It is remarkable how far I am prepared to go
In order to avoid doing the one thing that might
Provide satisfaction, and it is remarkable to consider
What I will do instead of it, purely for the pleasure
Of being dissatisfied. When it is merely a matter
Of sitting down for a few hours and dreaming
That something of value might eventually arise
From this routine of self-enforced boredom.”
~John Tottenham, The Inertia Variations
The purpose of fear is to protect us from danger, and yet it can paralyze. We cope with fear by trying to escape or run. Are we afraid of the unknown because we cannot quantify something we’ve not experienced yet? Is it that we are concerned that people will think we’re inept or foolish?
Or is it success some of us fear? Although that sounds silly, perhaps it is the concern that we lose “who we are”. What if others look up to us, but we don’t have answers to their questions? Maybe we’re concerned that we won’t be able to duplicate one success and therefore be a failure.
Poet and creative coach Mark McGuinness at 99U.com, identifies 3 possible reasons for subconscious fear of success (and luckily also discusses how to deal with it):
1. Fear of not coping with success
2. Fear of selling out
3. Fear of becoming someone else.
If you’re concerned you won’t cope well with success, make a plan. What would you do if you had $x? Write it down–make a list (pay your bills / donate to charity / take an amazing vacation / create a scholarship).
Stay true to yourself and your values, and you won’t become a sell-out! Blog in your own voice, not in what you think others think you should be.
Kevin Hogan, motivational speaker, discusses 5 reasons why people have fear of success:
1. It will change me.
2. I don’t deserve it.
3. It’s impossible!
4. I can’t do it!
5. The goal is not worth my effort.
If you stay true to yourself, you make a plan for success, it may change you for the better. Imagine the good you can do will your success. Why would you not deserve success? Although we should never take it for granted, most successful business people have worked countless hours and often been consumed for sleepless nights to create their vision.
Many of us have experienced fear on many levels. Here are some of mine:
Fear: wasting time with no results. Guess what, self? There’s no guarantees about anything that will happen during this life. You waste time on social media. Why not spend it on something that you’ll learn from and perhaps profit from?
What others think. Self esteem-not being good enough. Examining self and weirdness. Digging inside and coming up with strange stuff – how others perceive that. Fear of judgement. Finding out who I really am. What I’ve discovered is that I’m OK with me. If you’re not, well, that’s too bad, because I’m pretty amazing.
Fear of success / failure — realization that it takes dedication that you’re not willing to give and must forfeit some things–time, etc. Status quo is the same old stuff. Are you willing to learn, to work hard, to make things better? Do it.
(Fear of sharks— stay out of the ocean when it goes above your knees. Thanks, Jaws.)
We make mistakes, and we can learn from them. Imagine the worst thing that can happen to you if you try something. What’s the likelihood that it will actually happen? If you’ve done your research and are prepared, rejection and failure are not likely to occur on a catastrophic basis. If you made a mistake, admit it and move on.
You can change for the better when you overcome your fear. Things are only impossible if you “know” they are.
According to Henry Ford (of Ford Motors fame) “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
How can you overcome YOUR fears?