Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beating a Fear of Success

Mytikas Summit by Bignoter
I remember a student I once had in a high school Biology class.  He was a smart kid, but deliberately failed Biology so his Dad would not expect him to continue to perform well.  A blog post I saw a few weeks ago reminded me of this young man.  I commented on the post and moved on, but I keep reflecting on the idea of fearing success.

Perhaps it is more common than I had thought.  In the writing world a published author is expected to continue to produce excellence.  Is that something we should fear?  Very successful authors become very public people.  Is that something we want?  Many people picture authors living in rosy homes with no real-life stresses.  Are we comfortable with that?

While these are interesting ideas, I can't imagine them providing enough motivation to sabotage my plans!  Since I've spent the last few weeks musing on the idea I thought I'd share a few coping tricks for beating off any occasional fears of succeeding.

  • Be afraid.  Really, it's okay.  We're all afraid sometimes.  Just keep writing (or querying or editing)!
  • Ask yourself, "Exactly what is so scary?"  It's easier to convince that inner voice that it is safe when you know what is scaring it.
  • Adjust your expectations.  "Happily ever after" is still a lot of work.  Embrace it!
  • Remember who YOU are!  (I know, enough Mufasa!)  But it is important to believe in yourself.  You have a spark of creative genius that can give life to anything you choose.  So, do it!

In the end, I think not pursuing a dream is worse than not passing Biology.  Biology is a goal someone else imposes on teenagers; our dreams are our own.  We can make them happen!  What do you think?  Are you ever afraid of success?  What are your coping strategies?


D. U. Okonkwo said...

I feel that fear, expectancy and procrastination can be tied into writing or indeed anything creative. Our work is something that we ourselves are solely responsible for. It's us, it's a part of us and that's reflected in our work.

I think if we feel fear we have to try and push it aside and move forward anyway. the only expectation adn pressue shoudl be the one we place on ourselves because ultimately it's us who it will mostly effect.

I would say in everything do your best. those who judge aren't worth worrying about.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love this post, Carla. LOVE it! Great advice. :-)

Carla said...

D.U., I agree that moving forward is important. Doing your best s the challenge!

Thanks, Shannon!


Bethany Mattingly said...

I also ask myself what is it that I'm so scared of and then I plan so I don't have to worry about it....I'm scared of people going through my trash and selling my old orange peels....hello new compost area :)

Carla said...

haha, orange peels! I do like planning to avoid worry!


Kenda said...

I'm not really afraid of succeeding--I'm too busy trying to make my work the best it can be. Then if it flies, I'll have to deal with the rest of it all later :-)

Great thoughts to ponder....

Anonymous said...

Hi Carla! Thanks for hopping on to my site and leaving me that lovely message. You truly are an inspirer. Your posts here are lovely and so positive.

Carla said...

Kenda, I hear you! Time is precious.

Thanks, Michelle! I enjoyed visiting your blog as well!


Arlee Bird said...

I think that for most of us the fear of success is tied in with the fear of failure. To not be successful means you have failed in a sense, even if it's not a blatant failure and only a moderate success. Getting our hopes built up and being optimistic is based on our personal hopes and expectations and we may not want to face the possibility that we may have to answer for not meeting these.
And definitely the fears of meeting future expectations are a factor. If we are successful at something we do then the pressure is on to always succeed and maybe it's easier not to succeed in the first place.
Interesting topic to think about.

Tossing It Out

Carla said...

Lee, you bring up so many great points. In the end, and throughout the whole process, I think there's a lot to be said for building hopes and expectations. Yes, you're risking a lot, but I think those risks spur more growth. Thanks for coming by!


Mayra Calvani said...

Thought-provoking post, Carla. Thanks for sharing it!

By the way, I'm your newest follower. I hope you'll follow back. :-)

Carla said...

Hi, Mayra, I'm definitely a follower--I love your blog! Thanks for coming by!


Barb Black said...

"I know, enough Mufasa!" hahahhahahaaa... beautiful.

My personal favorite:
"OW! That hurt!"
"Yes, but it's in the past."


Carla said...

"What are you going to do now?"
"First, I'm going to take away your stick!"

lol. I'm so glad you appreciated that!


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