Thoughtful Thursday – The Fear of Success

Sometimes we arrive at a crossroads in our lives where the need for change is so clear. This is not always for negative reasons, in fact often the path offered to us is a road to bigger and better things. So why is it scary, why do we find decisions hard to make and why sometimes to we freeze at this point until we get run over by oncoming traffic?

The fear of success is very real, and far more common than you might realize. It is much easier to maintain middle of the road than to work toward excellence. Excellence brings with it the need for a work ethic, clear goals and letting go of habits, beliefs and people that stand in the way of our success.

Success calls for us to do away with thoughts that are holding us back as well:

  • Who do you think you are?
  • You think you’re better than everyone else.
  • It’s selfish to spend so much time on yourself.
  • What about us?
  • Who is going to take care of us?
  • That’s a pipe dream.
  • You’ll never accomplish that.

Whether these thoughts are within us (messages passed along throughout childhood till the present) or the reaction of those around us it makes it very hard to move forward on the path to success. If we listen to these messages we hear that working toward our personal goals makes us selfish, egotistic, irresponsible and unrealistic. What we don’t take the time to think through is that those messages come from places or people that are invested in the status quo – a need for us not to change in order that who we are and what we do continues to provide for them or maintain their truth. Moving toward personal success requires us to take a risk that we may move away from ideas, actions and people that have been fixtures in our lives. They have helped us maintain the here and now, but if that is not our vision of success they may not be part of the future you are working toward. Part of moving forward on the road to personal success is to be grateful for all that has been and peacefully letting habits, thoughts and people go that are not supportive of your vision. The habits and thoughts will be replaced by positive actions and ideas that will enable you to achieve your goals, some of the people may choose to be supportive and move along the path with you – others will need to be respectfully remembered as those who were in your life at a certain point for a certain reason.

This process of getting over the fear of success may take a long time, in retrospect you might realize you have been allowing the fear to hold you back for quite awhile. When you are ready to move forward you need to take this steps:

  • Create your vision of what success means to you – personally, professionally, spiritually
  • Write down your goals and the pros and cons of each – cons being the thoughts, habits and people that you need to overcome to move forward
  • Create a plan for moving forward – do you need to take classes, network, find a mentor, read and research?  How will you get started?
  • Create a vision page or book – physically in a notebook or online create a space where you put pictures, quotes and ideas of what components of your success look like to you

Be patient and be kind to yourself – but don’t let your fear continue to hold you back from the potential of what will be!!



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Fabulous Friday – Being Professionally Fabulous!

Success in any part of your life not only depends on your preparation and hard work, but also on your attitude.  You have to truly want something and be able to see yourself achieving it for the best to happen.  You have to find it within yourself to set goals and make a consistent effort to bring them to fruition. This is just the beginning of the recipe for success, not just doing well but being truly, fabulously successful!

So what does this very practical advice have to do with being fabulous? The combination of the practical steps plus passion, a sense of humor and joie de vivre makes the difference between someone who is good at what they do and someone who is great at what they do.  It makes people talk about you and their experience working with you. It makes you stand out among your peers and become a role model to up and comers.

If you only equate being fabulous with the exterior – looks, fashion sense, the right toys – then you are missing the most important part of the equation.  Have you ever met someone who hits all of those marks and is just incredibly boring, self-centered, vapid or a hideous combination thereof? On the other hand there are those who are at the pinnacle of their professions in terms of knowledge and skill but who can put a room to sleep faster than it takes to get their power point presentation up and running. The hard work, preparation and sweat equity is not enough nor is just the exterior presentation – fabulousness is achieved at the point where all of these qualities meet.  At that point the true sign of fabulousness that shines through is the personal achievement and pure joy of someone who has reached their personal best. Others want to be around this person, work with them, learn from them and refer them. The positive attitude, sincere curiosity, warm concern for others and professional polish naturally draws others in.

The truly, sincerely, bone deep fabulous person is not only a leader but a teacher. Someone who is continually learning and at the same time mentoring others. Someone who always is setting new goals  to achieve new  personal heights while looking for opportunities to do good with the resources they have earned.

Being professionally fabulous elevates you to a place where  financial success is a by product of personal achievement. It may take you longer to reach some of your professional goals, and certainly the way you go about it will not be similar to those around you.  Sometimes holding on to your integrity, core beliefs and personal ethics while working hard in a competitive environment may be frustrating – but don’t give up! This is a marathon, not a sprint and staying true to your path will ultimately provide you the rewards you have worked so hard for. Being professionally fabulous is not a popularity contest – don’t be discouraged by others who are not supportive or don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes others are envious of the skills you have worked hard to achieve and the talents you may possess, sometimes others unwillingness to put in the same effort results in frustration as they see you achieve results. At the end of the day the only measure you need to consult is your own stated professional goals and personal wishes. Those who you meet along the way who are supportive, who are great professional allies, who see the same value in reaching their own personal best will become your core group.

Finally, once you have the substance down don’t forget the style! Now that you have the professional tools and personal goals you need to move forward take the time to address the package you will be delivering your skills in. Are you taking care of your health, do you have an exercise routine in place, are all of your basic grooming needs up to date? Don’t forget the value of polished shoes and clean nails! Do you have breath mints and a lint remover handy at all times? Are you dressing with purpose or throwing something on in the morning?  These are all basics that make a first impression and if you aren’t paying attention you may never get to share the skills you bring to the table with an attentive audience.

What hobbies and activities make you happy? What was the last book you read, movie you saw, museum you visited. You cannot be fabulous without being interesting, well rounded and curious. Unless you are interested in the world around you you will not be an interesting person to be with. Uninteresting people are definitely not fabulous!

How can you take your fashion sense up a notch? Are your clothes well taken care of, altered and  up to date? Do you look at other professionals you deal with and think about what kind of an impression they are making by how they are dressed?  Is their clothing adding or subtracting from their professionalism?  Look through magazines and online and note what appeals to you, what makes the statement that best matches your idea of what your personal and professional best would look like. Now use those as guidelines when cleaning out your own closet and purchasing new items. If this is not your forte, or an area that holds little interest for you, find a personal shopper, consultant or friend who can guide you through the process and save you time and effort. In the long run the return on your investment of time and money in this area will certainly be returned to you.

Some of these last items may seem elementary or perhaps even insulting – but often these are the things that others may be embarrassed to say to someone. They may at times even be the reasons that people with excellent skills are held back from being professionally fabulous. Take a minute to go through your basics, or find the most truthful person you know and ask them to give it to you straight. You may uncover something easily fixed and ultimately valuable.

Are you ready to be professionally fabulous? Do you have the attitude, determination and willingness to work hard to make it happen? Then go for it and know that nothing will be as satisfying as achieving your personal best!


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