Is Success The Thing That Scares Us? Or Is It Failure We Really Fear?

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. — Winston Churchill

If you fear failure, the above quote from Winston Churchill can be seen as comforting, failing at something can be a huge blow to our egos.

But what if you aren’t scared to fail? What if succeeding is the thing that scares you most?

Failure is something that some of us are quite prepared for. Before we’ve even set out to do something, that voice in your head is already saying “it probably won’t work out”.

We often prepare ourselves for the worst outcome to protect our fragile egos. If we fail, things will stay as they are and whether we are happy with our current situation or not, it is a lot easier to stay in a familiar situation.

Of course, we don’t want to fail, we’ll feel rubbish about it, sometimes it means we can’t do the things we had hoped for at the time, but ultimately, nothing has changed, and we can usually fall back into our old routines and continue with life as we know it.

Success, on the other hand, isn’t something some of us are prepared for at all. Some of us don’t always fully believe that we will succeed, it’s sometimes easier to think the worst, that way we won’t be disappointed.

Success could potentially bring changes, to our lives and the lives of those around us. Sounds good right?

Not always.

I’ve realised, that for me, success is just as frightening, if not more so, than failure. After a few days of procrastinating, I’m not half as scared of failing as a writer as I am at succeeding.

When I think of failing, of course, I will be disappointed but I know I also will eventually pick myself back up, dust myself off and go back to the safety of working in the financial services industry, I mean I may even have to do that at some point to pay my bills for a bit, but that’s not what I want at all.

However, when I think of myself succeeding, being offered a writing job, or having articles published in magazines, my mind goes into a complete panic and the fear is very real. This week I even took the drastic measure of cleaning out the kitchen cupboards to avoid doing tasks that would help me progress.

After over 20 years of working in financial services and knowing my stuff. I am comfortable in the job, in the industry, I have grown up in it and it has made me into who I am, but I just don’t enjoy it and I spent most of the time wishing I was elsewhere.

When it comes to writing, it’s my passion, I love it. I get excited to wake up and write, I choose to do it, in my own time, even the thought of writing for other people, magazine articles, blog posts or newsletters. Anything to do with the written word excites me. It feels like my reason, my purpose.

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate” — George Burns

The scariest thing about succeeding is that life as I know it could change, by taking myself out of my comfort zone and I am throwing myself into the unknown, which requires hard work, effort and self-confidence. Those last three don’t scare me, but change, change scares the hell out of me.

Some of the questions I have asked myself are along the lines of;

  • Will I become a different person? Will I like that person? Will everyone around me like that person?
  • What if I do well at first and then fail? Will that be worse?
  • Am I even good enough? Can I really do this?
  • What if I let people down? What if I let myself down?

After watching a TED Talk video about Fear Setting from Tim Ferris at the weekend, I decided to challenge those questions;

  • What if I become a happier person? What if I like that person? What if everyone around me likes that person?
  • What if I do really well?
  • I am good enough. I can do this.
  • What if I make people proud? What if I make myself proud?

I just need to stop listening to that inner voice, the one that just wants to keep me safe in my comfort zone and I need to start facing that fear of succeeding, of change.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” — Jack Canfield

2022-08-24 08:41:00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *