“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
This quote really speaks to me. Who isn’t afraid of failure? Who can’t say that at one point in time the fear of failure has held them back from really reaching for their dreams? The truth is that the more things go your way in life, the more powerful that fear grows. It often takes a taste of failure to melt away some of that fear, realizing in some ways that you need this to move forward.
The fears I am really talking about are related to self-actualization. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, self-actualization “represents growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs; those for meaning in life, in particular.” This concept is clearly in contrast to basic fears such as flying in an airplane, needles, insects, etc. Basic fears are easier to acknowledge and recognize than deeper fears related to self-actualization.
How do you move past fear to attain a goal?
Accept tears. We are often concerned with the outcome of facing a fear – sadness, embarrassment, anger, frustration. Yes, we may want to cry, and in fact, tears can be beneficial. The act of crying may lower your stress and improve your feelings.
It took me a long time to actualize part of my dream by starting this website/blog. Admittedly, I was afraid to put myself out there to be judged for the world to see. If I hadn’t overcome my fear, I would have missed out on exploring my passion and connecting with other like-minded people all around the world.
Once you overcome some of your fears and accept some tears, how do you to continue to stay motivated?
Two very successful motivational business people are Marie Forleo and Brendon Burchard. Both of them serve as role models for perseverance and success, not just financial success, but personal success. I enjoy listening to their videos because you quickly realize that these very outwardly successful people have had to overcome both fear/disappointment and still remained motivated to achieve their goals. One key ingredient to stay on course toward the life you desire is gratitude. Be grateful for recognizing your passions, acknowledging the person you want to be and the opportunity for self-actualization.
Once you have overcome some of your fears, accepted some tears and have reached your goal, is it normal to still be afraid?
What is interesting is that the fear of success can be just as powerful as the fear of failure, but it is often buried in our subconscious. One of the most significant reasons is that if you achieve overt success, then the fall can be greater. In a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating, she talks honestly about how her creativity survived it’s own success. She admits to 6 years of failure of getting published before her hugely successful book Eat, Pray, Love, but was then left with the fear of writing a follow-up book that would ever measure up. Her next book was not well received and she was okay with that. Writing is her ‘home’, her passion, so once she acknowledged her subconscious fears and even experienced her fear, she realized everything was on course as long as she was ‘home’.
What fears are holding you back from self-actualization? How can you move past them? Once there, can you allow yourself to bask in your success?