You’ve always been dreaming about success. Now, it’s time for that big question: did you achieve it? How did you imagine this very moment ten years ago? You had goals and desires, where are you now?
If you feel like you haven’t tried enough, you have a problem that’s common for many people. It’s called the comfort zone. That’s a nice way to say that you’re actually afraid of success.
At my first job, we were supposed to give a presentation on a very important project. I was working on it for months. I knew I had something exceptional, but the presentation itself freaked me out. Do you know what I did? I didn’t show up.
I decided to delegate the presentation to my colleague. The mere fact of being the center of attention freaked me out, so I avoided that scene even though it led me to failure.
Why do we do that? Why is success so overwhelming to us?
- We’re always afraid of the things unknown. Since we can’t really tell where success will take us, it’s easier for us to stay in the comfort zone.
- People might be jealous of our success. We care about what other people think of us, so we’re afraid that our journey to stardom will ruin the relations we maintain.
- Where there’s potential for success, there’s potential for failure, too. Sometimes we’re so afraid of failure that we don’t bother succeeding at all. That’s what happened when I didn’t show up to give that presentation at college.
- Success demands hard work. It puts us in direct competition with ourselves. That’s another thing we tend to be afraid of: hard work.
- Some people are afraid of success because they think they don’t deserve it. They believe they don’t have strength to carry the burden of success.
Is there a way to overcome this fear? There is. In fact, there’s no other way. Life was meant for going forward. Staying in your current zone is not an option.
“Succeed in not fearing the lion and the lion will fear you.” – Eliphas Levi
Here are the 5 stepping stones to overcome the fear of success:
1. Recognize the importance of success
Everything starts with recognition. What does success mean to you? The answer is very subjective. For some people, success means making more money. For others, it means making enough money to get a house on the beach and a Mercedes Benz. For some people, success is related to professional or personal growth goals.
What does success mean to you? Define it. Be very precise with it. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and imagine: where do you want to be 10 years from today? What would the ideal situation be? What failures would you regret?
Start from the now and set smaller goals that will lead you to that big goal of success. Believe in yourself. It’s possible! It’s important.
2. Recognize the fear
Fear is a sneaky thing, especially when it comes to this kind of fear that prevents us from doing our best. What fears are related to the goal you envisioned in the previous step? What exactly prevents you from achieving it? Why are you afraid?
Is it the risk? The overwhelming competition? The sacrifices you have to make? Fear of failure and disappointment? Fear of hard work? When you recognize the mental obstacles, you’ll know what to work on.
3. Be aware of the outcome
What will happen once you achieve the ultimate goal of success? How will your life look at that point? Visualize! It will take a bit of focus for you to get a clear vision, but you’ll soon be aware of all possible outcomes.
Write down what you see. There may be negative outcomes, such as a lot of work and less free time for vacations. However, you’ll also see the most positive outcome: accomplishment. When you weigh both sides, you’ll see what wins. You’ll realize that success is worth the risk. It’s worth fighting for.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent van Gogh
4. Create a long term plan
If you keep your vision for success in the limits of your imagination, it will still be scary for you. It will be overwhelming, since you’ll lack the realistic plan that can lead you to it.
When you translate that vision into a long-term plan of clear steps to success, it will seem possible. This is the right approach to have: take that big goal and break it down into smaller, achievable steps. Then, translate those steps into daily actions and start doing something towards that goal every single day.
When you’re that committed, the goal will become part of your life. As it turns into a habit, it will become your new comfort zone. All fears will slowly go away.
5. Don’t obsess over the results
When you’re obsessing over the end result, you become anxious. That anxiety leads to suspicion: “will I ever make it?” That suspicion will lead to more fear. You need a different focus; the journey itself. Be aware of the small, but important progress you’re making every day. Congratulate yourself for it. Do your work and stay focused. The results will come!
What stepping stone is causing you the most problems? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com