Fear of Success

Our Road
Our Road

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” ~ George S. Patton

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.” ~ Billie Jean King

“Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.” ~ Tom Petty

My sister Celeste and I were talking the other day about pursuing our life’s dreams and some realizations we’ve had along the way. She is a certified life coach, but has had difficulty getting her career started. However, since moving to the Seattle area, it looks like her business will be taking off. That’s what started our conversation about success. As we were talking she said, “I think I’m afraid to succeed.” Boy could I relate to that because I’ve felt the same way about my writing.

As we talked we acknowledged that the same situation applies to both of us. We get used to our life circumstances and it’s hard to visualize living any other way. Does that ever happen to you? It takes a great deal of effort to create a new way of living. If you choose to create an unconventional life, you have to give up some things that are fun but not productive in your old life. And you face opposition, people will not hesitate to tell you that your dream is not worth the effort, or that you will never succeed so you may as well give up. It’s difficult to shut out the naysayers. You have to be willing to fail, perhaps many times before you succeed and that’s scary.

Celeste and I both want to live a new kind of life. We want to help people while we do what we love and make money doing it. We both long to travel, be open to new and unexpected experiences,  and we want to meet new and interesting people with a different perspective than our own. These are dreams we’ve talked about over the years, but for some reason it’s been difficult for us to break out and go for that new life. Both of us have suffered through some difficult times, especially financially. That’s one thing that is the hardest to overcome, our financial circumstances. We get so used to living with less that it becomes hard to see ourselves as being prosperous.

Celeste and I both think that visualizing what it feels like to have abundance and success while at the same time helping others is essential to making our dreams come true, which got me to thinking about the circumstances in which we were born. Our parents struggled with money until later in their marriage. I’m the oldest so life was more difficult for me than for Celeste who is the youngest. For example, I wore lots of hand-me-down clothes growing up. When mom and dad had more money, mom continued to act as if they didn’t have enough to buy my younger sisters the clothes they needed. She was stuck in her old thinking that they had to do without many of the nicer things in life. Dad on the other hand embraced their more prosperous situation and always made sure my sisters had the things they needed. Sometimes Celeste and I find ourselves stuck in our mom’s pattern of thinking instead of our dad’s. That’s one of the struggles we each face in making our dreams come true.

Most people continue on much as their parents did. There is nothing wrong with that, but there are people who long for a different kind of life. They have dreams that go in a different direction from their “tribe”, as Wayne Dyer called it. My sister Celeste and I, and our husbands are such people. Something inside drives us to seek out a new kind of life, one that doesn’t appear to be outwardly secure but is highly creative. We want to take the road less traveled and that’s the tension we feel each day as we struggle to support our families yet create something new.

Even though we’re taking the road less traveled, there are others who have forged the paths that we want to take, it’s just that not as many have chosen these paths and that makes our desire to follow them a little scary. There aren’t as many footprints to follow. Sometimes the footprints are lost all together and we have to guess how to reach our destination. Every day we have to reassess and move forward with our plans. We have to give ourselves a break if we take two steps forward and one step back. That’s all part of the game.

So, we’re both excited and a little frightened to think about how we’ll react when we succeed. Celeste and I feel that if we’re not a little frightened of the outcome, it’s not worth doing. The thing we look forward to is the fact that we’ll both be living very different lives than the ones we’re experiencing now and as far as we’re concerned, that will be wonderful.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

Changing My Mind

Tarantula Nebula
Tarantula Nebula

“Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.” – Ali ibn abi Talib

“Contemplate these words: Nothing matters, and you think it does.” – Neale Donald Walsch

For nearly five years, my husband and I have been paying off our credit card debt. Life has been quite difficult. I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not having money made us feel constrained. There was no possibility for travel, or any extras. Sometimes even things that were necessary had to wait. These five years, I’ve had to delve deeply into my attitudes about money. So often the things that hold us back are a result of beliefs we picked up as children and because we believe them without question, it’s hard to shake them off. Many of my money beliefs held me back. I didn’t believe I deserved to have money. I thought the amount of money I had defined who I was as a person and I thought that being prosperous took affluence away from others. None of that is true.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I was beginning a tapping regimen to dig up some of those destructive thought patterns I’d accepted as truth. It’s amazing how much I’m changing because of concentrated effort to get myself straight about the purpose of money and my relationship to it.

Something I learned early in this journey was that I am NOT defined by personal possessions, the amount of money I have in the bank, or even my accomplishments. Just getting clear about that was a big relief. However, that wasn’t the end of my awakening, though for a while, I thought it was.

We’re each so much more than we show the world in our everyday lives. Some of us sense that. We know on some level that the things we do in our day-to-day lives doesn’t really matter to the Soul. We’re expanding through experiencing life, and that’s what matters. Others take life at face value and believe that the events that happen to them personally and the events out in the world, are all there is. They don’t believe there is anything more. I feel sorry for them for they must live what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls “lives of quiet desperation”. Maybe they are happy. I can’t say, since I’ve always felt that there is much more to living than can be perceived with my six senses.

I’m describing humans, who really defy description, as having an either/or approach to life. That’s not really fair, but for the purposes of my point, perhaps you will forgive me.

Anyway, for those of us who are seekers, we’re often rewarded with the perfect tool, or lesson, or friend, or teacher, when we need them most. And I was blessed just at this turning point in my life with the tapping technique and a focused meditation that have helped me dig down to those detrimental buried beliefs that I picked up along the way. As I tap, send Reiki to myself, and meditate, I see the error in concepts and beliefs that I’ve held as true for so long. I pick up each one, examine it to see if it fits who and where I am now. If it fits, I keep it. If not, I let it go. What is required is a change in perspective. That sounds easy enough, but if you’ve tried to change anything about your life, you know it takes a concentrated effort before the new habit, or attitude takes hold.

When I chose this undertaking to change my attitudes about money, I had a big obstacle to overcome. For years I’ve felt a huge block between me and money. It was almost like a physical wall inside my head. Whenever I dared dream of becoming prosperous in whatever endeavor I happened to be working on, that wall would loom large. It seemed insurmountable. I felt, for some reason, like I wasn’t meant to be successful, and have money flow to me easily. What’s more I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to never worry about money. This is the one thing I’ve been working on these five years. I’m happy to say, that with the help of the tools I’ve been given and determination to change my perception, the wall is coming down.

Even though I’ve made that big breakthrough, I’ve got more tangled emotions around money that need to be changed and healed. Just today in my meditation it came to me that I’ve held onto the belief that if I’m successful, or prosperous, that someone else is deprived. Intellectually, I know that’s hogwash. But, the thing about belief systems is they get handed down generation after generation and the idea that there isn’t enough of anything to go around is a pernicious belief that just isn’t true. What’s so bad about this particular belief system, is that we blame those who HAVE, for the poverty of those who DON’T HAVE. So, all these years, I’ve blamed people who are so much more prosperous than I am, when where I really needed to look was at myself and my beliefs about success and money. The bottom line about that is: I didn’t think I deserved it. The focus for my next stage in my healing process, is to allow myself to know that there is abundance enough for all of us. I won’t have to feel guilty about the success that I create. I can be an example for others of how to find their own success.

I’m grateful for the shifts in perception I’ve had so far. I’ll keep you posted when more insights come my way.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Resenting the Success of Others

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

December Sunrise
December Sunrise

One day this week, Mastin Kipp’s blog Daily Love made me do a bit of thinking about my own creative process. The title was “Is it okay to share your success too?”

I read Daily Love every day, because in each blog Mastin is vulnerable. He writes about how he’s messed up, and what he’s learned from his experiences. Lately he’s been blogging about some recent successes. Interestingly, he’s been getting negative feedback about these posts, which made me think about my own process, and ask some important questions.

Why do we do that? Why do we get upset when someone with whom we’ve had a relationship, finds success? I have a theory about that. I’ll use myself as an example, because that’s the only perspective I’ve got, but see if this is true for you too.

For most of my life, I wallowed in self-hatred. I don’t know why I did that, because I had great parents who loved me. Though over the years, I’ve come to see that I picked up some of those feelings from my mom. She had a really hard childhood, and has struggled to like herself too. Whatever the reason, I set out to let go of the self-loathing and learn to love myself. It took me many, many years. When I had achieved a measure of self-esteem, I could allow myself to let go of the small life I had been living, and strive to become who I’d always wanted to be, a story teller through the written word.

For a while I rejoiced that I was doing what I loved most in the world. But, after a while, I was getting impatient. I wanted success to come knocking on my door. Other writer acquaintances in my area were becoming successful, and I was envious. Though I never gave them negative feedback, I understand why we sometimes snipe at people who’ve achieved success. I wanted what they had. I wanted to have people read my blog, and my stories. However, I wanted it to come easily. I didn’t want to do the work necessary to create that success. I mean, I’d have to go outside my comfort zone, and learn how to put myself out in the world. Yikes! That was scary.

What’s more, I had all these new feelings. I was living in a kind of transitory place. The self-hatred was gone, but I had no idea what being a success in my chosen work felt like. While I was in this netherworld, I was irritated when another local writer would talk about the number of books they’d written, their fan base, or that their latest book had been optioned for a movie. How did they do it? How did they get to be successful?

It’s fortunate that I think about questions like that. I can be an obsessive thinker, but that was a good thing in this case. I decided to do a bit of study about how to be my own boss. Sifting through all of the information out there took some time. Eventually I chose Marie Forleo and her weekly business videos, Marie TV. Something about her “you can do it approach” appealed to me.

Be advised, that you have to find your own tips and teachers. What works for me, might not work for you.

I’ve written in past blogs about the necessity to just do the work. Along the way something triggered that idea for me. Every morning I made writing my top priority, and slowly my feelings about other writers began to change. The reason they were successful, was because little by little they worked to perfect their writing. Their commitment was to pay attention to what they were doing, and not compare themselves to anyone else. That’s the key. Each creative person is unique, so is their artwork. We become envious of someone else’s success when we haven’t found our own voice, or we are afraid to step into the world in which we want to live.

No one achieves success over night. It takes work to find your own unique expression, and to make connections that will spread the word about you, and what you do. You have to be willing to be vulnerable, and open to whatever may come. And, you have to have a great imagination about the new life you’re going to be living. There are lots of great teachers out there to help you along the way.

If you want to sample Mastin Kipp’s work, here’s a link to his website where you can sign up to receive his daily blog: Daily Love. In my opinion, he’s got great insights about the struggles, and joys we face every day. Here’s the link to Marie Foleo’s site as well. She’s got great tips for entrepreneurs, which is what you are if you’re an artist. Last week on Marie TV, she interviewed Arianna Huffington about her new book Thrive, which is what we all want to do.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014