by Brian Bagnall
Many of us dream and fantasize about what the future will hold for us. We think about success. Some of us may dream of having a family with children, while others may dream about retirement and visiting beautiful places across the globe. Even as children, we explore possibilities of careers and the amount of money we will bring in to have that huge house with a formal dining room and a kitchen our friends will surely be talking about forever. While we dream about the possibilities, more often than not, the dream slowly starts to fade as obstacles overshadow our enlightening visions of the future.
The obstacles of which I speak are fears we place in the road on our way to success, blocking us from reaching our destined goals. One might dream of owning their own business, to create their own hours, but don’t know how to reach that goal. We might be great at cooking, so we think about our own restaurant, but dwell on the fact that opening a restaurant takes money. We then think about the business aspect; something we know little about. Where will the food and equipment come from and will people want to come to our restaurant? The questions we ask ourselves as we are dreaming are indicators of our fear of success.
All our lives, we have been conditioned to deal and cope with failure. We have all faced some type of failure at some point as well as successes too, but less frequent. Therefore, we are less prepared to deal with success and we fear it. The real problem is we place success so high on a pedestal and fantasize about that moment so often, that we also have a fear of failure. Either way, we are drowning ourselves in fear. The idea of being afraid of success comes from the way a person views a successful person. How do they act? Do I want to be like them? How will I treat others in my life? How will my life change?
Many of us fear change and losing ourselves along the way, so we fear success. Then, many of us are also afraid of failing, so we tend to not take risks, and justify our lack of action with, “Well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be” kind of attitude. The truth in the matter is successful people triumph over their fears of success and failures. We need to do the same and meet our fears head on in order to overcome them. In a way, fear removes us farther from our goals by incapacitating us from taking action.
When things go wrong on our journey to success and achieving our goals, which they will, instead of looking at the blocks as failures, we can focus on the results and feedback we achieved throughout our journey and learn from them in order to prepare ourselves for the next blockade. When you are dreaming about running a restaurant or another business, don’t think about what could go wrong, but instead focus on what you know and what you can do to move yourself closer to achieve your goal. We tend to focus on how something will take place rather than dealing with what we can and not being overwhelmed because we are afraid of not reaching our goals or failure.
Imagine for a moment, you are a building. In you building, you have five floors, so there is an elevator. The building is you and the elevator is your goal or dream. The elevator needs to reach 20 floors before you consider yourself successful or before you reach your goal. Obviously, the elevator can’t travel more than five floors because you have set a limit on how many floors the elevator will travel; therefore you will never reach your goals and dreams. We tend to limit ourselves to what we are capable of achieving.
We are afraid to move outside of our comfort zones and take a risk because we have a possibility of failing. Here’s the thing: if you always do the same thing and never try anything different or even try at all, you will never reach your dreams. Instead, if we stretch our minds and our visions and try, our building will gain floors for the elevator to pass through becoming closer and closer to our goals. The closer we become, the faster the building will erect and the sooner, the elevator will reach its destination.
There are four major keys when dealing with fear of success and failure. First, dream often and dream big: visualizing positive specific items of your goals such as how it will feel when you can say I work for myself, I am retiring at age 50, I am traveling the world in one year, etc. Second, action must be placed with your dreams and goals. Ask yourself, “If you knew you would succeed and not fail, what would you do to get to your dream? This will help you to find your action. Third, persist without exception. It doesn’t matter how many times something doesn’t work out, learn from the results and feedback you gain from trying and keep moving forward. The last major key is to stay positive and utilize positive affirmations. These keys will indeed help you remain focus, keep your mind grounded on the end result, and failure will become a thing of the past.
Brian is a serial entrepreneur who never “fit” into society and went on a never-ending quest to find happiness. He discovered that the conventional formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Brian has recently taken his discoveries about happiness and used them as the basis for a book, “The Happiness Bible.”