The Fear of Success
While I was writing the title of this post, I realized I write a lot about fear. I guess that's because fear is such an underlying navigator of so many choices we make. What I’ve been toying with the last couple of weeks is the fear of success.
I never really got this one. It’s something that therapists and sponsors would point out and I’d agree, mostly because it’s just the other side of the coin to the fear of failure, which I had without a shadow of a doubt. This notion has started to resonate with me on a deeper level lately. Which I mean, is sort of how everything seems to go in recovery. I get something, but at some point, it moves from my head to my heart for a deeper understanding.
When your striving and hoping and aligning and hustling, the fear of failure is glaring, or is for me at least. When I don’t know how something is going to look or the when the “what if’s” come in (what if it doesn’t work, what if nobody likes it, what if it’s a giant flop, what if I’m not good enough, etc./on repeat) I know I am fearing failure. I’m terrified things won’t work out the way I want them to. The fear of failure stops a lot of people from starting in the first place, or sabotaging partway through. I’ve written a lot about my self-sabotaging tendencies, and this is a huge part of it. If it’s going to fail anyways, I might as well destroy it before it gets there and then I’m the one who pulled out first, which obviously means I won’t get hurt or it won’t feel as painful, right? If, I don’t even try (and probably pretend I don’t want it or it’s lame or some crap like that) then I can control the dialogue.
So, I moved through all of those blocks (and continue to move through them) and now have reached some level of success, in the way that I define it. Work is going well, I have a full range and schedule of clients, I bought my first home and life is looking pretty good. Shit, now what? Now I have to maintain this. And holy shit, that’s scary. What I’m realizing is even scarier than looking and searching for what I want is the fear of losing it once I get it. Alas, the fear of success – the what do you do when you actually get “there”. It’s a moving target, as we know. New goals have surfaced, and new desires have become clear, and now I have to hold onto what I have. So, what do I want to do – hold on even tighter. I want to control even harder and ensure that things continue to go the way that they are. Or, I’m so afraid of losing what I have that I want to jump ship before it has a chance to fail on its own.
There is magic that happens when goals are achieved and when hard work pays off. There is so much fire burning within us that lights us to our purpose and drives us to stay aligned with our passions. Most days are so good and filled with such joy and excitement. Days like today, I was filled with lots of fear.
I will always come back to the notion of getting curious around what the anxiety is trying to tell me. It’s always trying to tell me something. A lot of the time, it’s trying to protect me because it’s afraid things will fall apart. It’s based in ego, trauma response and survival. Because, in reality, my life has totally imploded several times. Sometimes at my own doing, sometimes not. I really am good at blowing my own life up, though.
The fear is trying to protect me. So, for today, I said thank you to my anxiety – thank you for trying to protect me, but I’ve got this.
For now: Deep Breaths, trusting the journey, and moving closer to my authentic self as I move through these blocks. It’s all part of the magic, as long as I don’t give up.