I always knew I wanted to start my own business. The idea of having a 9-5 and working for someone else for the rest of my life – earning a salary that was probably barely enough to make ends meet just didn’t sit right with me. I grew up watching my parents struggle. And even though they managed to provide a decent lifestyle for my siblings and I the amount of money they earned never seemed to be enough; they always seemed to live paycheck to paycheck. I was determined to never be like them. But that was easier said than done.
Coming from a family with a deeply rooted belief that “you have to work hard to make a living” I often asked myself who was I to be different. After all, struggle and poverty had been within the family for generations. And I was going to be the one to change that? They had all worked traditional jobs and I was going to be the one to chase a dream? I’d be lying if I said the idea didn’t scare me. But I wasn’t so much terrified by the idea of failure. I was more terrified by the idea of success.
People always saw power and potential in me. And there was a part of me that knew I would be amazing at whatever I decided to do. But for some reason, I constantly found a way to hold myself back. I found a way to play small, shrink, and dim my light in order to fit in with everyone around me even though I knew I was capable of so much more.
Many of us were conditioned to play it safe throughout life – to go to school, get a degree, find a job with good benefits, and work that job for the rest of our life. But deep inside we desire so much more. Many of us have goals and dreams we want to accomplish but sometimes, those goals and dreams differ from our upbringing and belief systems, causing us to experience an internal conflict.
We question ourselves, doubt ourselves, or hold ourselves back – whether it is procrastinating important projects and deadlines, not speaking up during important meetings, or just being super hard on ourselves.
Oftentimes it feels safer and easier to shrink, play small, and dim our light because doing so means that we can remain in our comfort zone. Doing so means that we do not have risk failure or getting hurt. And while we may feel content for some time, eventually we find ourselves wanting more.
Part of human life is growing and evolving. Nature is a perfect example of this. And just as the seasons change throughout the year, as humans we also go through seasons of change and periods of transition. We experience conflict, frustration, and/or depression when we are not in alignment with our values, our goals, and our purpose.
Many of us have experienced feeling incomplete or unfulfilled when we know that when we have a goal or calling we want to fulfill, but have not taken the steps to pursue it. It is often fear (false evidence appearing real) that causes us to delay, procrastinate, or not move forward at all.
Many of us have experienced fear of failure. We know there is something we feel called to do but question if we have the necessary skills, qualifications, and resources to accomplish our goal. We worry that if we take the steps to pursue what we want and don’t succeed the impact would be catastrophic. Not only would we experience the shame and embarrassment of knowing that we weren’t good enough but we are also left to pick up the pieces. We easily envision ourselves failing before we even take the first step and the thought alone is enough to prevent us from taking action.
Many of us have also experienced fear of the unknown. We know what we want and can even see the end result but we are missing a few key pieces. Or, we feel that we need to have each step figured out and only then will we be able to take action. But life rarely works that way. Oftentimes we are given the first step and only after we take that step, do we get the next step.
We so often attribute fear of failure or failure of the unknown as the block or obstacle that is preventing us from achieving our goals that we don’t consider another possibility – fear of success. After all, success is what we want. How could we possibly fear it?
The scary part about success is that it requires us to make changes in all areas of our life. And when we change that also has an impact on the people around us. And sometimes the people who challenge us most are the ones closest to us. As we are coming into our purpose and working to fulfill our goals and dreams many of us try to bring our friends and family members along with us. We fail to realize that not everyone is meant to go to the next level with us and part of growing and evolving sometimes means letting go of people, places, and things that no longer serve us.
Success also requires us to take accountability for our lives in order to the results we get. We can no longer blame our parents, our friends, or our past as the reason we don’t achieve our goals. If we make a choice that does not result in the outcome we want we are forced to figure out where we went wrong and take the necessary steps to move forward.
Finally, success requires us to admit that we have everything we need to achieve our goals and acknowledge how powerful we truly are. For many of us, this can be earth shattering. Imagine going through life feeling that you were not smart enough, talented enough, or good enough. This belief might have caused you to accept jobs where you earned less than your worth. It might have caused you to attract partners who treated poorly. When you realize that you are powerful beyond measure you no longer have an excuse to settle, struggle, and/or accept less than you deserve. You realize that you can be, do, and have everything you desire in life and as amazing as this sounds, it would scare many people to know how powerful they truly are. With great power comes great responsibility. And once we realize and accept that oftentimes we are the ones standing in our own way, there is no going back to playing small, shrinking, and dimming our light.
Marianne Williamson once said “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Knowing how you have lived your life up until this point and the results you have gotten thus far, what do you have to lose if you made a different choice? If you feel you stand more to gain, I would love to support you on your personal and spiritual journey during a Soul Coaching Session. Click here for more information.
Life changes when we begin to take responsibility for our happiness and success,
Confessions of a Therapist
Disclaimer: all blog posts are fictional and are not reflective of any of my clients. All information disclosed during sessions is confidential and protected by law.