HOW DO I WORK THROUGH MY FEARS OF SUCCESS AND FAILURE?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I have been paralysed by my fears from taking action in my professional life for the past few months. This lack of action has affected my mental as well as financial well being. It all comes down to a fear of success, as crazy as that might sound. And also, a little fear of failure and rejection.

Ultimately I am scared that if I take action and make things happen in my business, it will propel me towards success that I won’t be able to handle and that it will bring me added responsibilities. I’m scared that new responsibility will tie me down and make me less of a free spirit and be a noose around my neck. Also I will have to take responsibility towards others who buy my product: I am a perfectionist so it kinda scares me, the potential fault finding and finger pointing of others.

My fear of rejection by clients is the flip side of the coin. I don’t deal with rejection well or bounce back up quickly. I retreat even more.

How can I break out of this self-sabotaging behaviour? And how can I drastically change perspective and shed my fears?

—Success Hungry Yet Success Scared (S. Africa)

DEAR S.H.Y.S.S.:

Many people have fear of success as well as fear of failure but don’t understand that those fears are holding them back. Your awareness of these fears will help you work through them more quickly since you can do so consciously.

Perhaps you can take the first step of breaking down your bigger goals into small concrete tasks in order of priority and tackle them one by one. Focusing on concrete tasks will ultimately be more productive for you than focusing on abstract worst-case scenarios or fears of being successful and then tanking or fears of being rejected (or your products rejected) by clients.

As you complete each small task, ensuring that they are part of your larger goals, validate each step you took and validate yourself for taking that step. Do this consistently and build small changes and, over time, this will result in a drastically changed perspective that you will have created by practicing changing your way of thinking over time.

You might want to work with a counselor also to help you work through those fears and the root causes.

I wish you any success that you want. I have no doubt you are capable of success as you work through these energies. I applaud your efforts.

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