This week, we’re talking about a different type of fear: the fear of success! Last week we talked about the fear of failure and what one of my friends said to me that made all the difference. Well, fear of success can hold you back almost as much as fear of failure.
But wait, you might say. Why would I be afraid of success? That’s what I want!
True. You do want to succeed.
At least, your brain does.
But what’s underneath that?
A fear of success.
To give an example, once I started to ignore my fear of failure, I still found myself stalling.
I spent tons of money on courses that, in theory, should have helped me get that much closer to my goals (I was learning skills I needed to achieve those dreams!).
But nothing changed.
I made some progress, I helped some women, changed some lives.
But I wasn’t having anywhere near the impact I wanted to be having.
And I just couldn’t figure out what was going on!
I mean, finally I knew where I wanted to go. I had the steps (I thought). So why couldn’t I make the progress?
Well, I had a fear of success. Basically, I worried about what success would mean in my life.
So what does that actually mean?
Often when we have resistance to something, it’s because of a lesson we learned when we were little.
If I succeeded in my goal, then I would be talking to people all day long. I would be speaking on stages, I would be known by people all around me.
And to make an impact, that’s a good thing!
But as a little girl, I found it much easier to not be seen. It was easier to sit in the corner and watch everything going on around me than to actually get involved and noticed.
I won’t go a lot into my childhood here, but suffice it to say that I hated attention of any kind to be focused on me, and that overflowed well into adulthood.
Furthermore, I had been told my entire life that I could only make money or be successful if I did things a certain way. For example, “The only way to be successful is to go to work from 8-5, 5 days a week, for 40 years.”
Have you ever heard that one?
Yep, me too.
So I really truly didn’t think I COULD succeed at what I wanted, because if I did, then that parent would be wrong. My fear of success was partly a fear of proving my parents wrong.
And there is always going to be that little kid part of us that doesn’t like to think that our parents could possibly be wrong. There’s a feeling of safety in thinking our parents know exactly what they’re doing, right? Especially when we’re kids.
So we develop these stories in our heads. Stories of what success would actually mean in our lives. And that turns into a fear of success.
Maybe this isn’t a conscious thought process, it sure was not for me!
But it happens just the same.
It was only once I started to realize what was going on that I was able to move around it.
Trust me, that’s not easy.
But it is doable.
If you’re floundering, whether that shows up as a lack of commitment to any of your goals, or whether you’ve spent tons of money and it’s just not getting you anywhere, it’s time to look internally.
What stories are running through your head? What stories need to be seen, and then changed?
Once those stories are recognized, progress becomes just that much easier.
And even if you just want to feel happier in the veterinary field? That counts too. Another of my stories was that I was a failure because I kept changing jobs.
It’s not failure. It’s a need for comfort and satisfaction (which, admittedly, don’t always come just from a job change and that’s something I work on with my clients, but that’s a topic for a different day).
So, tell me.
If you succeed at whatever it is you’re working at, what is the worst that could happen?
Know someone who could use this article? Feel free to forward it! Thank you for helping me create a world of happier vets!
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