“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success. “– Robert T. Kiyosaki
I, like many other people in the world, dream of living a successful life. At times, it can be the only thing I think about. I often find myself distracted by my dreams at parties, happy hours or other social gatherings. I’ll let my mind wander and imagine who I would like to be or what I would like to be doing in the future. I’ll imagine how successful I will be, the happiness I will be experiencing and the joys that my achievements will give me.
Then maybe I’ll drool or let my drink spill onto my shirt before snapping back to reality and finding myself in the same place I’ve always been in. The same situation I have been in for months; happy but longing for future success.
Having read countless books and blogs about achieving success and putting what I’ve learned to work, I begin to think that I must be doing something wrong. Am I not working out hard enough or am I waking up too late? Am I not meditating enough? Am I getting too drunk, too often (is there such a thing?) Then a painful thought arises: “Am I afraid of success?”
This thought is quickly dismissed because, like every bro, I know I’m tough and I shouldn’t be afraid of anything.
But let’s consider the traits of a person whose afraid of success:
- Someone who avoids change
- Someone who doesn’t follow through
- Someone who is easily distracted (this is where I start to cry myself a river)
- Someone who doubts their work
- Someone who thinks they’re not good enough
- Someone who has things go wrong right before they achieve their goals
It’s quite painful to realize that we fit into these categories and learn that we are someone who is afraid of success. I use the word “we” here because it is comforting to know that “we” are not alone in dealing with the fear of success.
The fear of success could arise from various avenues. One fear many of us experience is the fear of being rejected. It’s the fear we see when we set a goal and then give up on that goal without even trying.
Or maybe it’s the fear of standing out. The fear of being the center of attention. Maybe we are afraid that we’ll lose our friends by achieving success. Worse, maybe we’re afraid we’ll forget who we really are.
If we fit into any of these categories or feel that we subconsciously could be housing some of these fears, it’s important to realize that we are capable of overcoming them. We are capable of not only becoming someone who achieves success, but also someone who isn’t afraid of it.
Here are a few ways we can ensure that we overcome our fear of success:
- Practice mindfulness
Often times, we can get too hung up on where we want to be instead of enjoying where we are.
I have this problem constantly and I try to work through it by becoming mindful of my current situation. Being mindful is simply ignoring our thoughts and focusing only on what is occurring in front of us. In doing this, we can learn to focus our attention and avoid overthinking about our fears.
- Enjoy the process
A new quote that I’ve been seeing frequently is “Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day”. I find this rather ridiculous as I immediately think of her being conceived. From personal experience, this could take as little as a minute. I get the point though; our success isn’t built by just one day of working hard.
Enjoying the process is more about ignoring the future than it is about trying to enjoy the moment. In ignoring the future, we have no choice but to stay grounded in our current situation and forget what is going to come. Yes, we should have a vision of our future, but we should have a clearer vision of what we plan to do each day. Each day is more important than each year.
- Boost our confidence
The whole notion of giving up on our dreams before we get started is 100% attributed to our lack of confidence. I am a firm believer that each of us could build a castle if we knew what we were capable of and had the confidence to push our limits.
Each of us should have our own ways of boosting our confidence. Positive self-talk, remembering prior successes, or faking confidence are a number of different options. I personally meditate, focus on smiling, and exercise to increase mine. Find a good one that works and use it often. Motivation is like coffee, consume as needed.
- Love our new self
Understand that in order to achieve success, we are going to have to change who we are to some degree. Being who we are has gotten us to where we are, so being someone different is necessary to send us where we want to go.
Learn to love who we are becoming. Nothing will ever change who we are as a person and, if we love ourselves enough, we are going to transform ourselves into someone we can love even more. Do not fear what others might think of the new us or be afraid of the person in the mirror. We know who we are and nothing will change that.
- Just go
Picture the Kentucky Derby. Thousands of fans crammed into the bleachers, cheering for their favorite horse to run hard and win them some money. Listen to the annual singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” and hear the trumpet as it beckons the horses into the starting gate.
Imagine being one of the horses. Without question, we would be nervous. We’ve never run on a stage like this or with a jockey like the one we have today. We’ve never worn these colors before or had to hear the crowd roaring like this.
But, when all the horses are ready and the gates open, we do what we we’re born to do and just run. All we know how to do is spot the finish line and run as hard as we can towards it.
Such is how we need to approach our fear of success. Like the horse, we need to ignore all of the distractions. All of the new sights and sounds. All of our negative thoughts and inhibitions. Our fears. We need to ignore these and focus only on where we are headed. We need to trust that, when we arrive at our goals, we will have achieved exactly what we wanted.