Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

The idea of begin afraid of SUCCESS might seem odd. After all, isn’t that what we strive for? In theory, SUCCESS is a positive. It can mean your career is advanced, you make more money, and you get closer to realizing dreams. What’s the fear factor? It’s in the unknown I’ve talked about.

WThe hardest fear to deal with is being scared what MIGHT happen.

It’s not quite reality based –you’re afraid of “what ifs” instead of concrete situations. If someone threatens you, it’s normal to be afraid. Jumping out of a plane can cause a legitimate set of frazzled nerves. But fear of the unknown is worrying about things that your mind conjures up.

Your imagination can create a variety of scenarios that keep you stuck. And for those of us who don’t know what SUCCESS may bring, fear of SUCCESS can create blocks that prevent us from achieving it. In my DoorMat days, fear ruled me on many levels. Being insecure, I worried about how I’d handle a new or different scenario, even if it was a good one. SUCCESS was a frightening prospect.

Doormats prefer to keep things status quo, even if the status quo makes them unhappy. The idea of navigating something new and excited can seem daunting to someone with low confidence. I sabotaged opportunities without quite knowing why. It was like swatting flies. You automatically swat when a small buzzer comes toward you.

When you’re insecure, it’s hard to stop automatically swatting away good opportunities.

The first book I ever wrote was for children. I loved it! By chance, I met an editor from Scholastic books and she offered to read it. She returned the manuscript with a nice note saying that several editors liked it but would prefer some changes. They weren’t hard to make. They were very interested in publishing it if I made them. And I didn’t. No reason. Sending it to the editor as a long shot. This was serious. I never consciously choose not to do it. But it still sits in my file draw in the envelope it came in. Years later, the editor was gone. I will get it published one day!

There are some common worries that contribute to fear of SUCCESS:

* Will it change me or how others see or treat me? Some people change with SUCCESS, Sometimes there’s no choice if you’re pushed to maintain an image or people expect too much of you if you’re too open. Sometimes change is an ego thing and you should be scared of that! ? But, if you’re conscious of who you are and where your passions lie, you can stay true to you. Be the same person you are now and your real friends won’t change, even if you have to don a façade at professional events. My friends have orders to kick my butt real hard if I ever get an attitude. ? Ask the same of yours.

* Will I be disappointed when I get what I strive for? You might be successful but it may not generate the money, opportunities or high profile that you hoped for. Or, if you’re not happy already, you may not feel as happy as you expected to be from reaching this level. When you’re not happy on the inside, you look to external factors for happiness. That often creates a let-down when you get it, because career SUCCESS doesn’t create real happiness inside. Following passions lead to a more satisfying SUCCESS.

* Can I handle SUCCESS? Subconsciously, you might be used to struggling. Some people find it challenging. Needing to pay bills is a good motivation for working hard. Or, deep down you might not feel worthy of SUCCESS or of being able to live up to people’s expectations of you. Write down what SUCCESS means to you. What expectations do you see? Figure out if any of it makes you nervous, and why. Become conscious of these things to find ways around them. Then make a list of all the good things SUCCESS will bring you. If you get scared, focus on THAT list.

* Will there be pressure on me to increase my SUCCESS? There are a lot of one-hit wonders. Maintaining SUCCESS can seem daunting. You may be okay with achieving the initial SUCCESS. But pressure to surpass it may be the scary part. Take it day by day. Faith in your higher being, and in yourself helps you triumph over this kind of fear.

* Will I have to make more decisions? You may worry that life will get more complicated at the next level of what you’re doing. More opportunities mean more decisions have to be made. Should I take a higher position or seek a better job? These choices may be tough to make and detract from your freedom of creative flow, even if they’re good opportunities. SUCCESS can rein you in a little if you have to commit to things that will make your life more rigid or deprive you of free time. Focus on the rewards.

* Will doing what I do still be fun? SUCCESS can create more obligations and restrictions. The road to it may seem more pleasurable. Before my first book deal, I was afraid SUCCESS might dim my passion for writing. When you’re hungry you push more. I liked that urgency to work hard. It fueled me to write and I didn’t want to lose it. But eventually I knew I was more likely to lose the passion if I kept writing books that no one saw. Having achieved a decent level of SUCCESS, I can attest that my passion is stronger than ever. Knowing that my books will get to a receptive audience is a bigger motivation than struggling. Look for the pleasure in your choices.

Just as failures teach you about yourself and how to do things better, so does the path to SUCCESS. If you’ve felt like there was a block to your SUCCESS, think what might scare you about actually achieving what you say you want. How do you feel about those factors? Talk it out with a good friend to separate true concerns from the what ifs. Then work on your inner intentions for what you really want out of your life.

Use positive affirmations to defeat the fear. “I intend to become more successful with ease.” “I’m worthy of and ready for great success.”

Fear will always be there. It’s how you handle it that counts! Consciousness and determination get you to the other side!

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