Three fears. Unique, but common. Because we like to think we’re alone with them, but when we dig deeper, we realise that “everyone” has them. At least some of them, whether we recognise it or not. Because sometimes we don’t want to admit them to others, but sometimes we keep them to ourselves. Because as long as we haven’t expressed them, they don’t exist… We like to dress them up in logical explanations and reasoning credible enough to – if only for a moment – even convince ourselves, but deep down we know that these three, or one of these three, are holding us back. It’s because of these fears that our project never materialises, that our launch is delayed, or that that step towards self-employment wasn’t taken this year either.
The first is the fear of failure. Of embarking on an adventure that doesn’t go as planned. Of launching something that doesn’t sell. Of saying the wrong thing on stage. We don’t want to lose face, because what will people think if we try and fail? And who do we think we are even because we have a desire to do something? And how could we think we would succeed?
Funny enough, the only people who think anything are those who don’t even try. Who hide their own Imposter by shaming and criticizing others for their efforts.
The second is the fear of success. For what it would mean if our venture became a success? For the consequences of suddenly not being there for everyone and focusing on our own success? In a previous context in my professional life, I was afraid to succeed for over 6 years. Because if I did, I would no longer be available for my other projects.
The third is the fear of starting. Because as long as you “can start at any time” you are safe, because you can start… tomorrow. If you do. But you probably know that you might not. And as long as you haven’t started yet, you don’t have to worry about the actual time, workload, obstacles along the way – or the dreaded result and “judgement” from the market. You’re still in your happy pre-process bubble where you prepare one more step, take one more course, read one more book…. Yes.
It is possible to overcome these fears on your own, but it is easier to have someone by your side. Who either holds your hand, or pushes you off the cliff when you can’t jump yourself. Or who jumps with you. Who makes you understand that there are very few people whose opinion really matters and that these people will never see you as a failure. Who explains to you that the fear of success is really a guilty conscience that you take out in advance and that what lies between you and your success story is perhaps a couple of conversations that need to be made sooner or later anyway. Or makes you realize that if you never start, you will never succeed – and gives you the tools you need to take the first important steps.
I help my clients take themselves professionally – and their concepts – to the next level. Dealing with these fears is a big part of the job. I have never suffered from Imposter, nor am I afraid to start. I think that’s a good thing, because then we can’t sit around being afraid together and come up with even more convincing and intellectual excuses to delay or prevent the launch. I use my own experience of the fear of success to guide my customers to think about themselves for once.
If you have something you want to bring to market, don’t let one of these fears stop you. Worst case scenario: you look back on your professional life and say: “damn, I should have…”