You’re afraid of success.
I know! What?? It sounds insane! The whole reason you get up at 4 AM and drink your bulletproof coffee or kale smoothie is to strive towards success, right?
(By the way, if you think a 4 AM alarm is crucial to success, we need to talk.)
Wouldn’t you argue the only reason you do anything is to be successful? So why would you strive to be successful… if you’re afraid of success?
WHY IS SUCCESS SCARY?
Because of our ass-backwards understanding of what success means for our lives and happiness, 99% of people are scared of the very things they want.
Why? What would make us so afraid?
WHAT IS THE FEAR OF SUCCESS?
The fear of success is tied to a deeply held but seldom discussed belief: that it’s not safe to be happy.
Let me explain: you fear success because success means having it all — in your career, love life, family, health, and so on.
Why is that scary?
Because if you get everything you want, then you’ll have it all. And it’s more than likely you don’t believe you can have it all… because then the other shoe will drop. And it will be taken away.
HERE’S WHY THE SHOE WILL NEVER DROP
When you think about the other shoe dropping, how do you feel? Scared. Uncertain. Like a victim. At the mercy of outside circumstances, right?
This is how your clever mind tries to keep you safe: you believe that avoiding having it all will protect you from the shoe dropping. So you keep yourself at bay. You don’t lean in. You block yourself from getting what you want because if you make yourself vulnerable by being happy you could have it all snatched away.
The other shoe will drop is one of the most insidious, pervasive lies in Western culture, and it’s effective because we believe that happiness comes from outside of us. If our business makes money and we have the corner office and our kids are well-behaved, then we’re allowed to be happy.
But as soon as those things change… our contentment and happiness is fucked.
The truth is this: YOU are the only shoe that can ever drop. As you shift your belief system and make conscious choices, you discover that outside circumstances don’t control your inner reality.
When you know you’re the shoe and some external circumstance occurs (which they always will), you get to experience that circumstance however you want. Say you’re working towards a big launch in your business, and you have a MASSIVE tech issue right in the middle of it:
If you’re asleep to your power you’ll think, “See! I knew this launch would be too much. I knew everything was too good to be true — there’s the shoe dropping!!”
When you’re awake to your power, you’ll think, “Interesting! This is a lesson. Everything happens for my highest good.” Perhaps you’ll learn you need to upgrade your system. Or maybe you’ll discover your tech person isn’t the right fit for your team.
You no longer see the world through the threat of the shoe dropping — a victim-based, limited narrative that keeps you terrified of success because you believe I am the victim of the world’s shoes.
The reality is that when you’re aware of your fears of success and happiness, they simply don’t occur. Because YOU are the one originating them — you’re the one sabotaging yourself — and you can let them go. You are the shoe.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AND HEAL YOUR FEAR OF SUCCESS
If your fear of success goes unidentified it will unquestionably sabotage you — you’ll be dropping shoes all over yourself. You must identify where your fear comes from so you can work through it.
Identifying it is easy: Imagine having everything you want, and experiencing all your desired successes, and the sheer joy and ease and contentment you’ll feel. Now sit in that awareness for an extra 20 seconds… and as sure as the sun rises in the east, you’ll hear doubt and resistance come up. This is how you identify your fears of success. They often sound like…
Is it really possible?
I’m not sure I deserve this. What’s going to change in my life if I have all that? Who do I have to be to sustain all that?
Who will get upset with me if I make that much money?
Can I handle that level of responsibility?
How visible will I need to be?
How much judgment will I have to endure?
Which relationships will I have to let go of?
Can you feel that? Why do so many of us have these fears when we think about experiencing success?
It comes down to this devastating truth: most people do not believe they can be happy. But until you believe that it’s safe and you deserve to be happy, your disbelief will be your biggest block to success.
Before you beat yourself up, know this: it’s not your fault! It’s your belief system. YOU are saying I’m ready for success, but your belief system and subconscious mind have a different story. Where does this saboteur of a belief system come from? Three core places:
1. NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE WITH SUCCESS
Perhaps when you were little, someone told you to be humble. Or not shine so bright or be so loud or show off. Maybe you did really well in school and your sibling started to resent you. Those are negative experiences with success. Or perhaps you launched a company and it was successful at first… and then it failed. Maybe you had a relationship that fell apart when your career took off. Those are also negative experiences with success.
2. LACK OF EXPERIENCE OF SUCCESS
If you’ve never had the experience of success at the level you’re aspiring to, the sheer unfamiliarity of that success will trigger your fear as a form of self protection. You have a goal — the corner office, the position of head journalist, a seven-figure business — and when you start to get close you end up sabotaging yourself because it’s so unfamiliar.
3. YOUR FAMILY OF ORIGIN’S VIEW OF SUCCESS
Every single one of us first learned what “success” means in our family of origin. And very often those lessons were negative: successful people are greedy, arrogant, un-Christian, have too much, think they’re better than us, etc etc. Now you’re here, about to break the generational wealth barometer of your family, or enjoying a loving relationship when your parents despise each other, or working for yourself instead of clocking in from nine to five… and you know you’re going to hear about it from your family.
They might judge you. They might ostracize you. They might call you hoity-toity in that joking-but-actually-serious way. And it’s scary to be judged by the people who love and raised you.
This is why cultivating your belief is SO important, especially for high-achieving women who want to answer the world’s call to leadership and impact. The world NEEDS us. Our children need us. It is incumbent upon us to lead by example.
Unlearning our fear of success is a journey, and the tools are always available whenever you need them. These three practices will help you let go of your fears and discover the all-powerful truth: that you are the shoe.
Create Safety in your Body.
Change happens at the speed of safety. To become the woman in your vision you must create safety in your system when it feels threatened — which will happen every time you attain a new level of growth and success and having.
How does lack of safety manifest in your system? Maybe you procrastinate. Perhaps you fall into perfectionist habits. When you notice those behavior patterns emerge, letting her lead is your solace.
By tapping into her, you will learn to become deeply aware of what unsafe feels like. From this place of calm, YOU can CHOOSE how to to react to the “threats” so you stop sabotaging your own success. You’ll learn how to create safety in your mind and body, get out of your head and into your heart, take your power back from fear, and more. This is where it begins, and I’m giving you the how — not just the what — because application is what leads to transformation.
Think Like HER
The successful woman in your vision has an entirely different belief system. She’s not threatened by success and she’s not afraid of being happy. She knows that SHE is the only shoe that can ever drop.
To think like HER, you flex your imagination. You let go of your current reality and put yourself into HER reality, and you let yourself soak in what SHE thinks. What SHE believes. How SHE decides. This practice works 100% of the time, and it’s a core element of the work my students do in my renowned Mind Magic™ program (click here to become a mind magician).
Practice Abundance and Receivership
A scarcity mindset is a gargantuan boulder blocking you from believing you can have it all… and therefore from allowing you to have it all. This basic belief of not enough (time, money, clients, love, support) is pervasive in Western culture.
Its antidote is to practice receiving. To teach yourself to notice that there is more than enough of everything. If you need a reminder, just look outside! Every plant makes more than enough seeds. Nature’s very design is abundance.
You have enough too. Right now and always. The problem is that you’re not allowing yourself to receive it. To discover how to unlock receivership — and the five excuses high-achieving women use to block it — read my article.
SISTER, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL
Incorporate these practices and watch yourself become the woman in your vision. She and everything you want are waiting for you! I know you’re working hard, and I want you to see and feel the fruits of your labor. But you won’t get there if you let your fear of success and happiness control you. If you keep pretending you’re a victim rather than the all-powerful being we need.
Need a short and humorous reminder of the truth? Write this on a sticky note and put it somewhere prominent: You are the shoe.
It’s the truest truth you’ll ever discover.