At the end of each year, fear becomes a hot topic. The “new year” brings anxiety about the future and gets us thinking about what we want in life for 2021.
We all know what this year was…
Some of us go as far as to create a list of New Year Resolutions, certain goals we wish to accomplish beginning in January. Although it’s nice to look forward to, we can get stuck in December, using the whole month to develop a fear of failing at our resolutions before they even start!
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you and dive into our inspirational quote that suggests your deepest fear is your inner light…
Fear typically is a natural response to threats. It triggers an area in our brain called the amygdala. Think of the amygdala as the core of your emotions. When we begin to feel fear our body reacts by speeding up our heart, the hair stands up on our arms and our brain goes into fight or flight mode.
In a psychology class, I remember the professor talking about the evolution of fight or flight and giving the example of a saber-toothed tiger have a face-off with a primitive caveman as an everyday occurrence. Today this looks more like making the wrong choice between a cold brew or latte. Or more personal and very real right now…the fear of losing a job or having to remote school your children again (Please, Nooooo!).
Fear, for the most part, is a creation in our minds. Something that hasn’t actually happened. In the case of this quote, we are talking not about your fear of failing, which is easy to understand. We are talking about your fear of success. This is a very real thing, I see it all the time.
Let me tell you how it comes up…
Fear of Success is Real:
Particularly when I coach and this become part of the picture, I get two types:
- Fear of Failing: This may look like failing at starting a business after putting money into it or failing at parenting because you work while raising children, or making a mistake at work that jeopardizes the promotion you want. This is the fear we all understand. The stress of “not enough.”
- Fear of Succeeding: This is usually the consequence of things going well. These fears look like a business success and then having to pay a lot in taxes (before you even make the first dollar) or that your promotion will keep you from your family, or that you’ll overcome your anxiety and have nothing left to worry about (true story for a client!). This is the stress of “abundance.” As the Notorious B.I.G said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
When we fear our own success, we sabotage ourselves from attaining the goal we actually want.
I honestly believe that we are all meant for more. That we all have something great to contribute to the world and that fear can keep us from growing into who were are meant to become.
I see this self-sabotage all the time. It comes in excuses. It pops up in avoidance. It grows from insecurities and purposeful lowering of self-esteem.
We cannot let ourselves self-sabotage! We must learn to overcome our fear of success so we can do the things that we were meant to do.
I am going to give you some ideas on how to overcome this as you prepare your goals for 2021.
How to Overcome Yourself:
Read that again. It’s a funny concept and very real! Sometimes you are the only person in your way that keeps you from moving forward. It’s not that easy just saying, “Get out of your own way!” The fear of your own power, your potential is a hard war from the inside.
Just look at all the people that sign up for a gym membership in January. When I was a personal trainer in grad school, my schedule was packed at the beginning of the year. However, some people never showed or they showed a couple of times and started making progress-enough progress to be afraid of change and never came back! It was crazy, but this is what I am talking about.
To move past your fear of success, you need to not only face it, you need to embrace it…
Here are 3 ways to overcome your fear of success:
- Name it Out Loud: Say your fear in your head or better yet, say it out loud. What feelings come up for you? Where do they come from? That’s worth exploring so you can move past the parts that are holding you back. You can also do this by talking with a friend, coach, mentor, or therapist and getting their input.
- Visualize the Work and the Outcome: It’s easy to get trapped into thinking of what you fear by succeeding. Like maybe you’re imagining your Etsy side hustle being so busy you cannot keep up with the demand. Instead of focusing on the fear, focus on your success and the steps to succeed. In this example, maybe that’s hiring help along the way to push out the Etsy sales and then using that money to go on a much-needed family vacation.
- Affirmation: “You got this!” is kind of my thing when it comes to Life Design. Some say the phrase is overused. I say it’s empowering. Remind yourself that you were meant to overcome fear. You are worthy and capable and will learn from mistakes along the way. Remember, avoidance is failing…taking a step forward is stepping into your power to move past your fear and find accomplishment on the other side.
Avoiding your fear of success is failing.
Step into your Light:
You are ready for 2021.
You got this!