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Why Are You So Afraid of Getting the Result?

Let me ask you something… why are you so afraid of getting the result? You know you want it. You know you think about it all day long and dream about it all night. You know you’re meant to have it and that it wouldn’t even be a desire you hold inside if it wasn’t also possible for you to achieve it.

And yet, there you sit, still not fully stepping up and doing the work.

Sure, from the outside it looks like you’re doing the work, because you are doing something. You’re writing most days. You’re seeing some progress. You’re even feeling pretty good about the direction you’re heading.

But there’s still something nagging you. A voice that says you’re doing a good job of fooling the world into thinking you’re successful. Because by most people’s standards, you are. You’ve achieved things most people just dream of achieving, but you’ve made it happen.

Except you feel like a failure on the inside.

You don’t even really feel like you’ve achieved much of anything. You’ve just barely scratched the surface of where you want to go. And so while the outside world sees you as a success, you’re not quite seeing that for yourself.

Because you know you’re still not all in. You know you’re still not fully stepping into the identity of the writer and creator you want to be.

Something is still holding you back.

And you know what that something is. You just don’t want to say it out loud. ‘Cause saying it out loud makes it real.

You have a deep-seeded fear. It comes up every time you get close to achieving something and especially when you do actually achieve something. No matter what you do, it’s always there.

But it’s time to finally admit it and acknowledge the giant in the room. Time to come clean. Time to face the fear and say it out loud…

I’m afraid of succeeding.

I’m afraid of what it will mean. I’m afraid of how it will change my life. I’m afraid of what I’ll lose because of it. I’m afraid of what I’ll have to give up. I’m afraid of what others will think about me, and even more so what others will think that I think about myself.

I’m afraid of judgment. Afraid my family won’t be able to relate to me and I’ll be pushed further away from them than I already am. I’m afraid my husband will stop loving me. I’m afraid people will think that I’m stuck up and conceited.

I’m afraid that having it all will cause people to no longer like me. I’m afraid achieving all of my dreams and life goals will make people think that I think I’m better than they are.

I’m afraid the ease at which I know I can make things happen will cause people to think I didn’t really earn it or that I didn’t work hard for it. I’m afraid I can’t sustain the success and lifestyle that I want. Afraid it won’t last. Afraid I really am just dilusional and that everyone around me who’s said negative things is totally right…

As these fears continue to bubble up, success looks more and more like something you don’t want to tango with. It looks easier to just continue achieving mediocre things that most people think are awesome, because then you can look successful without ever really having to be.

‘Cause technically achieving something makes you a success. And right now you’ve achieved the level of success you can handle and that you’re comfortable with.

Why keep pushing it, right? You’ve done well so far. Might as well keep this facade of external success up while still feeling unsuccessful on the inside, because while the outside world sees different, you know you’re only playing at 50% (or less) capacity than you really could be.

It’s like when you’re playing softball in gym class and you seem to be participating and doing the work because you’re out in the field and you’re catching balls and throwing players out at the bases.

But your heart is still in the stands, waiting for you to pick it up and do with it what you’re really meant to.

Except…success.

It’s still there. It never goes away. Anytime you make progress, you see success sitting there on the horizon. Waiting for you.

And so you self-sabotage. You skip your writing session. You eat massive amounts of junk food and numb out with Netflix. You create life chaos or make yourself busy so you can reasonably excuse yourself from being that writer and creator you want to be, because who’s gonna point fingers at someone who’s working as hard in life as you are?

So you achieve something minor and then secede from success for a bit. Self-sabotaging and repeating the same behavior patterns as usual. The ones that keep you stuck.

The ones that stop you from ever having to fully go all in and fully step into who you need to be to achieve your dream life.

It’s easier that way, it really is. Then you’ll never have to worry about what would happen if you achieved success. What you would lose or who you would become or what people would say.

You can ignore all of that if you just never bother going all in, if you just keep dancing around the stuff you know you need to be doing every day, but never actually doing it. If you just do some of what needs to get done every day, but don’t do all of it.

Then you can avoid success all together. Then you’ll never have to answer all those doubts in your head or see if all those things you fear actually happen or not.

Then you’ll be able to sit cozy in the comfortable, mediocre existance that you’ve settled for and never have to worry about the what ifs.

What if you did go all in? What if you did all the work you needed to do? What if you made your writing and creating a priority? What if you stepped fully into the identity of the writer and author you want to be? What if you stopped putting it off until tomorrow? What if you achieved your dream life? What if you had everything you’ve ever wanted and more?

What if you hadn’t let the fear of success hold you back?

Then what?

What would your life look like if you were fully showing up every day and living like you mean it?

Then what?

Then you’d actually have to do the work and be fully present and show up and live with intention. Then you’d achieve the success you’ve been so afraid of and you’d find out that fear is just a mindset and that when you allow fear to hold you back, you’re making False Expectations Appear Real when they’re not.

But what if you decided right now, today, that you would no longer allow fear of success and fear of having it all hold you back?

Then what?

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Are you ready for a major confidence boost?? Stay tuned! Doors to the Writer’s Confidence Boost workshop open tomorrow (and the price will knock your socks off!). If you’re not already on my email list, get on there right now so you’re the first to know when the doors officially open: www.jenniferblanchard.net/newsletter (you’ll also get a free copy of my eBook, The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: How To Think Your Way to #1).

Do You Fear Not Being Good Enough?

By Jennifer Blanchard

Does the thought of not being good enough make you want to puke? Does it cause you to freak  out and worry constantly?

Well then, fellow writer, you are experiencing a very common fear of procrastinators: the fear of not being good enough.

The fear of not being good enough is the final fear in the list of things procrastinators fear (along with fear of success, fear of failure and fear of rejection).

So what exactly is a fear of not being good enough?

“This fear is one of comparison, competition,” according to the blog post, Basic Fear #2: Not Being Good Enough. “We tend to judge ourselves against another standard.This standard is often a comparison between what we ‘know’ about ourselves and what we ‘believe’ about the other.In other words, we end up comparing all the negative stuff we think true about ourselves to the positive image others portray to us (and we portray to them).We end up seeing ‘the yuck’ of our own lives, but fail to see it in the other.”

Here are some common signs that the fear of not being good enough is present:

  • You always compare yourself to others
  • You think everyone is better at XYZ than you are
  • You are judgmental of everyone around you because of your own insecurities
  • You lack self esteem
  • You doubt your writing abilities
  • You always try to be perfect–in every situation and circumstance
  • You berate yourself for not being perfect
  • You’re a perfectionist

If you recognize yourself in the list above, you may have a fear of not being good enough.

Although the fear of not being good enough manifests in hundreds of ways–avoiding writing, never submitting your writing, etc–deep down, the fear of not being good enough comes from one thing: lack of confidence.

When you lack confidence, you always feel like no matter what you do, it will never compare to what other people can do; you always feel like you won’t be successful because you don’t have the ability to be.

But when you believe in yourself–and believe in your writing–the world is your oyster (as they say). You can do anything. You can be anything. You can achieve anything. There is nothing outside your reach.

Action Steps

  • Believe in yourself—If you’re ever going to become confident and make your fear of not being good enough disappear, you have to believe in yourself. You are your own worst enemy, which also means you can become your own best friend. It’s all a matter of how you think.
  • Know that you are good enough—Confidence starts with knowing what you’re good at and using it to your advantage. Make a list of all the things you’re good at, whether that be writing, playing video games or grilling a mean steak. When you reflect on the things that you are already good at, it helps get you in a more positive state-of-mind, which can then help boost your confidence enough to try something new (like writing).
  • Use your fear as fuel—The only way to get better at something is to do it repeatedly. So instead of allowing your fear of not being good enough to hold you back, use it as fuel to grow and become a stronger writer. The more you know about something, the more confident you become. So by using your fear as fuel to learn more about writing or to attempt writing more often will make you more confident overall.
  • Ask for help—There’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re not 100 percent confident in your writing ability, ask someone to help you out by reading and critiquing one of your stories or join a creative writing class and sharpen your writing skills.
  • Accept that you don’t need to know everything to write—This is definitely a thought that most writers toy with at least once in their careers: Do I know enough to write this book/article/whitepaper/etc? I think Bill O’Hanlon, author of Write is a Verb, hit the nail on the head when he mentioned in the recent interview I did with him that he wouldn’t have written a single book if he had to know everything about the subject before writing. Writing is a journey. You’ll never know everything immediately, and the best way to learn is by doing.
  • Give up trying to be perfect—You are not perfect. I am not perfect. James Joyce was not perfect. Stephen King is not perfect. Your favorite authors are not perfect. Are you starting to see a pattern? Perfection is an idea, but not a reality. It is impossible to be perfect. Imperfection is what makes us human. So rather than trying to be perfect all the time, revel in being able to just be who you are. When you take on that mind-set and let your need to be perfect go out the window, something amazing happens. You fall in love with who you are and what makes you unique and different—flaws and all. (It’s also important to note that perfection is boring. No one wants to read about a perfect character with a perfect life and perfect job and perfect family…ugh! It’s so boring! The same goes for real life.)
  • Stop beating yourself up—You are a good writer. You are learning as you go. You are becoming better every single day. So stop beating yourself up! And remember, “Nothing great is created suddenly,” (a quote from Epictetus).

Do You Fear Failure?

By Jennifer Blanchard

Last week’s post discussed fear of success. Fear of success’ evil twin sister is fear of failure.

So what exactly is a fear of failure?

A fear of failure is often the most paralyzing of the four main things procrastinators fear. It causes people to avoid the things they want to do because they are afraid they will fail.

A procrastinator’s fear of failure can sometimes be so strong that they may even subconsciously undermine themselves so they don’t have to attempt something (or continue attempting it).

Oddly enough, by not attempting something (or attempting, but giving up quickly), you are essentially bringing about that which you’ve been fearing: failure.

So what causes procrastinators to fear failing?

“Often, this phobia is linked with early life causes, like demeaning parents or siblings, or traumatic events where a major embarrassment was the result of some minor failure,” according to the article, Fear of Failure, on way2hope.org.

Fear of failure can build up over a lifetime, getting progressively more paralyzing as the years go on–unless you do something about it.

Do You Fear Failure?
Although fear of failure may come from not having the skills or knowledge to do something, most of the time the fear is in your mind.

Here are some common signs that you fear failure:

  • You avoid doing something if you know you won’t be able to do it well immediately.
  • You don’t set goals; if you don’t set goals, you can’t fail.
  • You procrastinate on the things you really want to do because you don’t believe you can do it.
  • You live well below your potential (and know it).
  • You never step outside your comfort zone.
  • Your life is mediocre; it could be better, but why fix something that’s not broken?
  • You only attempt things you know you’ll be good at.
  • You sabotage yourself by procrastinating.
  • Any time you want to attempt something new, you first play the scenario out in your mind. If you see your attempt ending in failure, criticism or ridicule, you don’t attempt it.
  • You give up on things easily.
  • You worry about being judged for not being able to do something well/perfect.

For more information on the causes of fear of failure, read:

The idea of failing can be scary, there’s no doubt. But isn’t the idea of never reaching your writing dreams scarier?

Action Steps:

  • Accept Your Fear–This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Failure in life is inevitable. It’s not possible for you to be amazing at something immediately. It’s not possible for you to achieve everything you want to achieve immediately. It takes time. It takes work.Once you can finally accept that failure is just a part of life, you’ll be able to turn your failure into amazing writing opportunities.
  • Act–Since fear of failure immobilizes you, in order to overcome it, you need to take action. Go after your dreams; finally sit down and write that short story; finally submit your poem to a literary magazine; do something!Action gives you the ability to change the circumstances that hold you back.
  • Keep At It–Ask any successful person and they’ll tell you they didn’t succeed after their first attempt. Hell, they might not have succeeded after their hundredth attempt! The point is, if you give up, failure is inevitable. But if you keep on trying, you’ll eventually get there.Whenever you feel yourself letting your fear of failure get the best of you, just ask yourself, “What would I attempt if I knew I couldn’t fail?”
  • Treat Every Failure as a Learning Opportunity–Being successful in writing is all about learning what doesn’t work for you. Once you know what doesn’t work (from having failed a couple times), you can improve on the circumstance and eventually find what does work.
  • Keep Believing–This is one of the most important things you can do for your writing career: Believe in yourself! Know that you can do this. Know that you will do this. Know that there’s no one better for the job than you.And no matter what, don’t let rejection kill your confidence.

Do You Fear Success?

By Jennifer Blanchard

The Things Procrastinators Fear post from last week discussed the 4 main things procrastinating writers fear:

  • success
  • failure
  • rejection
  • not being good enough

So why do people fear success?

“Many people fear success because it tests their limits and makes them vulnerable to new situations,” says Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, in the article How Fear of Success Works. “Even worse, success can easily expose weaknesses and force people to deal with their flaws.”

Another major problem is the fact that success equals change.

“It [success] can be intimidating and hard to handle,” she says. “With success comes challenges and responsibilities–and that can be threatening.”

Other times, people fear success because they don’t want the recognition or honor. (This falls along the lines of people who don’t like receiving compliments. They are fearful of acknowledging they have good in them or that they look nice or that they did a great job because they often don’t feel that way about themselves.)

This is the same with writers. Writers often fear success because the think they might not be able to sustain the success or that they don’t want the recognition or spotlight that comes with being a successful writer.

Here are signs you fear success:

  • You procrastinate–You want to write, but you’re too busy. Or too tired. Or have too much work to do. Or need to make dinner. Or will write in five minutes when your favorite TV show is over. No matter how much you want to write, you just can’t seem to sit down and do it.
  • You have a negative outlook on your writing–Always talking badly about yourself regarding your writing (this sounds something like, “Why should I write? No one will ever publish it,” or “Writing is a waste of my time because there’s too much competition”). You don’t believe in yourself or your writing dreams. You don’t think you can do it.
  • You talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk–You’re always talking about your writing dreams and how you want to be a writer for a living. You tell people about all the stories you want to write, all the ideas for novels you have written in your notebook. But then you never write. You do everything BUT write.

If you see these signs in yourself, you may have a fear of success. For more information or to see other examples of what fear of success looks like, read:

Success can be overwhelming. It can cause things to change. But it can also be fun and joyful and your dreams coming true.

Remember what FEAR stands for–False Expectations Appearing Real. Writers fear success because it’s unknown. There’s no way to plan for it; no way to predict it; no way to know how things will end up.

That’s the beauty in it though.

When you learn to release the grasp that fear has on you and actually sit down and get some writing done, you’ll start to realize that being successful doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be pretty awesome.

Action Steps:

  • Believe in yourself and your writing. No matter what. Try coming up with a mantra or affirmation about your writing that you can say to yourself whenever you need a confidence boost. For example, an affirmation could be, “I am a great writer,” or “I am a successful writer.”
  • Know that you can continue to learn anything you need to know to keep being a successful writer. Education isn’t going anywhere. There will always be colleges, online courses, writing teachers, information websites and blogs dedicated to helping you stay current in the world of writing.