As a business owner, it is engrained into our fibers that success is the only measure to... well, success. We're risk takers, hard workers, and we truly believe in a greater cause other than our own. I mean, why would we have started our own businesses in the first place?
We look at our business like this: FAILURE IS SIMPLY NOT AN OPTION. We find ourselves actually looking fear in the face, and smacking it down with full force. We fail at a task, we learn from mistakes, and then we dive right back in. Why? Because success is the only option.
But what if I told you that we are subconsciously scared of success?
It sounds foolish, right? When I heard this notion in a podcast that I was listening to today, I laughed my head off! A fear... of success?
As the day went on, I could not get this notion out of my brain. It was interesting to think about how this could be, and if I was truly fearful of success myself.
What I found out was actually astonishing! I couldn't believe what I was reading. I, Justin Solomon, had a fear of success. It hit me like a brick. I've always thought of myself to be 'successful', but perspective really set in.
Now, I want to bring this to light for you. I want you to face this fear head-on. Because I know that you have a fear of success, too.
"Justin... there is no way. I love feeling successful. I couldn't have this fear!"
Buckle up, and join me on this quick adventure...
Alright. Here is the challenge for you today. I want you to answer each of these questions honestly in your head.
• Do you complete the projects you start?
• When you are trying to focus on a major task, does distraction set in and you find yourself working on other things?
• You ever feel like you're "selling out"?
• Have you talked and talked and talked about that awesome idea that would revolutionize mankind, but never take action on it?
• Do you have several projects going on at once, with no particular focus on any of them?
• Do you down yourself, and constantly think that your work isn't good enough?
• Ever feel like when you are getting close to your goal, things take a turn for the worst?
Ahhhh! Now I have your attention. You're feeling that brick I was talking about earlier, aren't you?
So here's the deal. Our society is completely based on the fact that "You must be successful, or everyone will shame you" mentality. Let's face it, success is a scary thing! We just don't think of it as a fear-like emotion.
So let me put it to you in this way... Replace every time I've said fear with the word change. Seriously! Go back and read up to this point.
Change is inevitable. You should accept change. Change is good. Change we can believe in.
These are phrases that you consistently hear. Over and over again, especially when it comes to business.
Let's peel back those layers together on this. Remember, we're in this together.
Imagine that you create this killer marketing strategy. You have your unique selling proposition, your brand is foolproof, and you kick it off without a flaw.
Suddenly, revenue begins to rush in! You honestly didn't expect this much buy-in. You now have to expand your business, move locations, hire more people, open a second location... And it goes continues.
But wait a second... that second part never happened. Because you stopped yourself from pulling the trigger on a well-planned strategy. You got scared of all the change that you knew could happen. You thought that it would get out of control.
So you stuck with what you know best...
Look in the Mirror
Ladies and gentlemen, the only thing that is standing in your way is you. YOU! We create these elaborate plans, task lists, deadlines, and projects. We think these are going to be the controls that keeps us on track to the wonderful world of "success".
However, nothing gets in our way more than ourselves. Self-sabatoge. Excuses for why we didn't hit our deadlines, punish ourselves mentally for not "working harder" to complete more tasks, and firing up Facebook to get away from the task at hand are just a few examples of how we completely screw ourselves.
We're scared. Scared of the change that we face. Scared of the unknown after the task is complete. Scared of success.
We cannot blame this on anyone else. Not our friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else you can think of. Excuses are just that... and if you let them run your life, then you will surely be fearful of the success that you deserve.
So now you're wondering, how do I fix this issue? How do I get over my subconscious fear of success?
Rule #1: Stop making excuses.
Excuses just aren't going to help. They're time wasters. They're like assuming. It makes you look ridiculous.
As entrepreneurs, we are go-getters, risk-takers, and passion driven. Let's conquer our fear of success like we do when we fail! No excuses, no problem. There is nothing too big in the world that you cannot accomplish, so punch fear in the face!
Rule #2: Get over what others think about you.
I get it, reputation and perception is valuable. But here is the thing... if you constantly worry about what others will think about you and what you're doing, you will never be successful.
Take this blog for example. If I were scared of the opinions that came in where people did not agree with me, I would never do this. I would hide, and all the knowledge and education I could be giving to you would be lost.
But I look at it in a different light! I look at using the diversity of comments as a way to challenge myself and the status quo. Amazing ideas have come from those who have challenged the standard.
Rule #3: Stay Positive
Although this is number 3, I may have to say it is the most important. Positivity is contagious. It spreads like wildfire. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see a smile, hear enthusiasm, and receive reassurance and praise even after a failed attempt at a goal.
Not only this, but you will get others on board with your mission as well. People will see you as inspiring. They will see you as a leader. And more importantly, they will be your raving fans for life.
One way I stay positive is writing in The Five Minute Journal. It is a simple way to start your day out with gratitude and affirmation, and ending with the sense of accomplishment and inspiration. It even helps me sleep at night knowing that I have truly given my all.
Rule #4: Accept Change
Change is inevitable. Everyone knows this fact. Change is the result of a consequence, both good or bad. So we must accept it as reality, and understand that we must adapt when it happens.
Let's take the digital transformation of photography as an example.
The film days were a simpler time. The methodical process of complete composure, choosing shots wisely, getting in the darkroom, and seeing that photograph develop into a unique piece of artwork that captures time as a still moment.
Then, the digital age came along. Spray and pray became the new norm. Less focus on technique, more focus on taking more photos to offset the odds a photographer would have of creating a bad shoot.
But there's an amazing trend with digital! Quicker processing, consistent quality, and immediate satisfaction. It was a huge revolution. The bigger key to this? As a photographer, you could still compose, develop, and appreciate.
Why am I telling you this? Because many photographers chose not to adapt with the change of the landscape. Needless to say, those individuals are not photographers any longer...
Rule #5: Always be true to yourself
One of the fears that come along with success is the fear of transforming into someone else. We've seen this time and time again, where someone gets a taste of "success" and completely transforms into that person you despise.
But you are so much more complex than simply changing your personality!
Think of this as an addition to what you currently are. Success should add a layer of experience, desire to do more, and ability to serve others in a more wholistic light.
You don't have to change who you are when you are successful. You simply have to use those new tools to help others through your passion and business.
The biggest piece of advise that I can share with you in this post today is to remind yourself of what creates that fear of being successful. Acknowledge it. Accept it. And banish it from your system.
When you begin to feel that fear deep inside you or that distraction of wanting to do something else, take 5 minutes to grab glass of water.
Then push forward.