The Fear of Being Successful

productivity Apr 09, 2022

Do you remember the end of last  year when you were  desperate for a break. Then you went away to relax, reset, reflect, and were ready to come back to work in January with fresh eyes and motivation for the new year. You had meetings, you planned the year, the goals, the purpose, everyone was relaxed and committed with enthusiasm. Then, by the end of February, early March, somehow we all fell back into our old habits and started working frantically again with no plan, just doing for the sake of doing. Have you wondered how that happened? 


This is not unique to you or your team. We see this in most organisations. People tend to revert to working harder, not smarter, our old paradigms take over, and we start to operate  from a place of fear. We are creatures of habit and 96 to 98 percent of our behaviour is on autopilot.  Our brains are designed that way to help us conserve energy,  so staying in our comfort zone and away from change is what we revert back to. We do this in every single part of our lives, resist change and go back to the same operating rhythm that does not necessarily serve us. 


Fear often blocks our path to success, because we view failure in a negative way and allow our egos to define failure for us. We are so afraid of failure that we have become pros at avoiding it. We avoid doing things even if it means sacrificing our goals and dreams, just so we don’t fail. 


In many cases we fail because we stop before we even start.


“You haven't failed until you stop trying.” ― Jon Gordon


For example, you may be considering applying for a leadership or senior role yet when you read the description you stop yourself from putting your hat in the ring because you don’t tick all the requirements. You worry  something may challenge you along the way and fear sets in so you go back to what you know and don’t apply for the role. You could have seen this as an opportunity for growth and success, but held yourself back to avoid imagined failure .


Many of us currently define failure and success in a way that hinders our progress. If you are to ever get past this way of thinking, you have to redefine what failure and success mean to you by letting go of the ego. Start to see it as the First Act In Learning. On your journey to your goal, you have to do things that you are not great at to begin with.  It’s called learning.  The more you do something the better you get at it and making those mistakes along the way is the only way to learn and perfect your work.

‘You only need to know two things for success - You need to know where you are now and where you want to get to - everything in between is the journey called life’ - Reem Borrows.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal” - Earl Nightingale. As long as you are taking steps towards your goal, you are experiencing success. Success is having absolute clarity and laser-like focus on what it is that you want to create. You want to envision the end goal, and see yourself there already. Then ask yourself, how would you think, feel and act when you are at your goal? 


You may only see success as the end result, but it is in fact every little triumph along the way. Success can be found in the daily grind. If we are only focused on the end result then we also might miss the lessons and the little joys along the way, and this is why gratitude and appreciation are crucial for success.


If we study those people who have inspired us throughout the ages to the present day,  the one thing they demonstrate clearly is their ability to put their ego aside, open their hearts and ask themselves insightful and conscious questions. They consciously chose to adopt a growth mindset, live in the spirit of things and then planned their tasks breaking everything down to the lowest common denominator.


‘It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.’
- Theodore Roosevelt


To redefine our definition of both success and failure we need to be asking ourselves some important questions morning, noon and night to help keep ourselves aligned to our goals.

Can you clearly define your goal? - You want absolute clarity on your goal to be laser-like focused on it. When you are focused you will be able to ask yourself daily, ‘what am I doing today that is bringing me closer to my goal?’, ‘Are my thoughts, feelings and actions aligned to my goals and where I want to be?’. 

What is so bad about receiving criticism? What is so bad about not knowing what to do? - Instead of focusing on what went wrong, where you made a mistake or where you don't yet have the skills to succeed, ask yourself what it is that you can learn from this. Wanting to be great at something before we even begin, is not how it works. You have to practice and F.A.I.L (first act in learning) to be successful.  It’s that simple. 


‘Failure is a learning experience, and the guy who has never failed has never done anything - Wilson Greatbatch’

What do you think is the role of fear in being successful? - It cuts like a knife and penetrates very deep for many of us. It can severely impact our ability to achieve personal or professional goals, experience happiness or develop a successful career. How we deal with it, or let it control us, will impact our ability to achieve and sustain success in life. 


Successful people experience the same doubts, fears, and worries as everyone else and the only difference is that they are conscious of their own thoughts and feelings and move past them to operate from a place of knowing and understanding.


Do I want to come from a position of strength or a position of weakness? - Adversity can define you like nothing else.  The question is how do you want it to define you?. You can choose to operate from a place of weakness, let it dictate your life and become a victim of your circumstances or you can choose to consciously embrace the situation, take control of it and learn from it. 


We generally accept our thoughts as if they are all true and so become them. If we were to observe them and understand where they are coming from We are then able to change them and focus them on what we want and what is going to serve us.  In any given moment, each one of us can choose to change our beliefs, our thoughts and our emotions.


What is your Achilles heel? What do you need the Operation Rhythm for? - Asking yourself what are your triggers and your weaknesses which could also be your downfall, is important for growth. Once you become aware of what they are then you'll be able to understand how to gently manage your ego and use fear as a driving force to achieve your goals, rather than as a suppressor. You will understand why you need to create an operating rhythm as part of your planned steps to reach your goal.


Your operating rhythm is created with the idea of sticking to a plan and operating from a laser-like focused mentality, focused on your goal and the results you want to see with consistency. And there lies the magic word. Consistency. Many of us think we don't need an operating rhythm, we don't need to plan or organise to get to where we want to be, but usually the more you resist the operating rhythm, the more you actually need it.


As mentioned previously, the more you want the more you will have to  break everything down to its lowest common denominator and start to block plans for your days. 


Analyse and separate the non productive activities from the productive activities and make time for each, incorporating rewards and mini achievements along the way to keep you motivated.

    • Visualize how you will be thinking, feeling  and acting when you have achieved your goal -  Imprint on the screen of your mind the person you will be when you reach your goal. Visualise it to become it today. Connect emotionally to your goal so that you can start acting according to how you will feel. Act as if it has already happened and adopt the persona of how you would be thinking, feeling, and acting at the time. If you can see it on the screen of your mind, you can be that person right now.


  • What is your paradigm? - Once you are consciously aware of your patterns and your Achilles heel you will be able to reprogram your thinking and create new patterns of thought.


  • Look at your daily activities to see what old habits you have fallen back into, are they serving you and your goal? Write down what you can take out of the equation without it affecting the end result, and take out the activities that aren't contributing to what you want. Those unproductive activities you cut back on, like social media or TV, can be used as rewards for achieving small tasks, for example. (this needs to be added to the productive and nonproductive activity section as it is too repetitive.)


Your energy flows where your attention goes, so if we focus on the negative things and what's not working we are only manifesting those thoughts, feelings, and outcomes. Focus on fear and you will get more of what you don't want. 


If you focus on how to do better, and ask yourself what you can do differently to grow or succeed, then those are the answers that will come to you. What you focus on expands and grows, so if you open your heart to unconditional love and faith you'll get more of that.


Every single day you have an opportunity to get things back on track. I provide coaching for individuals and groups who want to connect with their goals and dreams in a more conscious way. If you feel ready to practically apply the techniques, not just talking about them, you will find success in my programs. You'll be able to create an operating rhythm that works for you and act on it. When the student is ready the teacher will appear.


Here’s to your continued success with balance, focus, and flow.


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