What Is Your Biggest Fear?

fearOften, when I talk to authors, the subject of fear comes up. Fear of rejection. Fear of the ability to complete their book. Fear of no one buying their book.

However, today I would like to address a fear that is rarely discussed and yet is something I think we all face.

Fear of Success

Now that may sound silly, in fact, you may say “Lisa – what are you talking about, I’d love to be successful.”

Perhaps, but for many there is a small voice that says, “Yes, I want to be successful but I’m afraid of how my life will change.”

If you are successful, you might have to hire an assistant to handle paperwork, emails and bookkeeping. You might get asked to give a speech. You might find your name and book being reviewed by others which could result in a negative comment. You might get asked to appear on Ellen and what would you wear?

Consequently, with the voice of fear in your head, you find yourself hesitating to market or promote your book, you resist the need to create buzz around your book and you pretty much just sit at home and hope that, through some sort of osmosis, people buy your book.

Helen Roe, business strategist and columnist for Huffington Post offers several suggestions for ways to overcome your fear of success. Here are just two:

Feel it and Believe it

Visualize and believe in your desired outcome, your success in all it’s glory. Really see and feel how this will impact your life, your family and your friends. Are you comfortable here? The more familiar you are in these surrounding the stronger your self-belief will become.

Flip the Negative Talk

When self-sabotage strikes, it’s important that you have a practice or technique to help you flip it around. Try asking yourself what a mentor or successful person who is where you want to be, would do in your situation. Or simply ask yourself ‘Is this thought or action taking me closer to where I want to go?’

Successful happy businesswoman and businessteam at office

Use a visualization technique to actually see what your life looks like WHEN you become a celebrated author. What part of the picture is scary to you? Pull out the pieces that give you anxiety and try the negative talk flip, like Helen suggests. What would your favorite author do in a similar situation? Like the advice from the book The Secret – rather than saying “I need to sell one hundred books to feel successful.” Flip that around and say “This is me after selling one hundred THOUSAND books.”

Kevin Currie, founder of the 6 Healthy Habits, has written a lengthy article on facing and overcoming the fear of success. It is worth a read as he examines a variety of ways we can see and use our fears.

Fear works away in your unconscious mind, trying to trick you into pulling your punches and blowing your chances for success. It works doubly hard, because both success and failure represent a threat. Your unconscious mind doesn’t want you trying to change anything.

We’ve seen that fear of success is based on fear of change, fear of the unknown.

Fear of failure, paradoxically, is similar. The unknowns here are things that can go wrong while you strive for your goal.

The answer is to leave fear behind and engage fully, not timidly, with life.

Bring your fears to conscious awareness, face them and conquer them. Free yourself to embrace life fully, and explore pathways to becoming all you truly are.

I LOVE that: “engage fully, not timidly, with life.”

So the first step is to face your fears and truly examine them for what they are; most likely irrational thoughts that are keeping you from moving forward.

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Believe in what you have written.
  • Believe in the ability of what you have written to connect with readers.
  • See your success.
  • Embrace it as well deserved!

Bottom Line: Don’t let fears keep you from achieving the success you truly deserve.