What Causes Success
Do you know fear – it’s our archenemy?
When I was younger, I used to wonder why some people had a lot of success in their life – people look up to them, people admire them, people want to be them… Whereas, there were other people who lived lives of quiet desperation – no one even cared if these people lived or died (harsh, I know).
I read hundreds of books on self-help, personal growth, and development, in order to solve this mystery. Over time, I realized that fear was the one thing that held people back from being an astounding success (and consistency, but we have spoken about that previously).
Successful people are full of fear, doubt, anxiety, frustration, anger, jealousy.. just like the unsuccessful people.
We are all the same on the inside.
Emotional Demons Invade Us All
But… successful people keep on trudging despite all of these emotional demons. They keep on going forward and onward. They keep on working hard. They keep on being consistent. Even when they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Unsuccessful people let these emotional demons stop them short. They try for a few days, but then fear creeps up on them, and stops them cold.
I was the same for the longest time. I tried something for a few days, weeks, or months. And then an obstacle arrived in the form of fear, or doubt, or whatever. The obstacle paralyzed me and I gave up, soon after.
My Story With Fear
I realized that every single time I had been stopped short from pursuing a goal, there were these ten fears that were pulling me back. These fears don’t seem so huge when I write about them on this screen. But when I was dealing with them in my head they seemed as big as any Godzilla monster. These emotions took over my psyche. I couldn’t breathe or think or move without them affecting everything.
The first step to overcoming ANY fear is identifying it. As soon as you label something, you negate its power over you. Until, we label our fears, they are these huge monsters sitting inside of our heads, gnawing into our skulls, zapping over power. They become bigger and bigger. Until, we feel we cannot overpower them.
But as soon as you label them as this or that, suddenly, we realize they are just teeny-tiny things inside our head, and we are able to push past them to move on.
I want to help empower you to negate your fears by labelling them.
Ten Fears That Affect Us All
These are the ten fears I have found to be most common when you are starting a new venture, like a new online business.
I went through almost all of these fears when I first decided to start my own business. I was filled with so much fear that somedays I would have to breathe into a paper bag to alleviate the panic. I would walk round and round in circles around my apartment giving myself a pep talk and trying to make myself feel better. I would call my sister, and my friends to ask them for solace.
Sit down today and write down which fear is invading your brain, preventing you from taking the first step towards your new life. Which fear is biggest in your mind? As soon as you label it, you will notice its effect over you waning, dimming, fading.
Fear of Poverty
This is such a big fear in all of us. It has been perpetuated into our skulls from the beginning of our lives by society, parents, and other well-meaning, ignorant individuals. We are told that if we do not follow the conventional route of life – school, work, save, retire – we will be poor.
Not only will we be poor, but we will not be able to afford the necessary items in life, like food, shelter, clothing. We will have to rely on the welfare system to take care of us. Or worse, rely on our parents who are already dealing with their own shit.
Other people who have money will look down their noses at us. They will point and laugh at us. They will go to fancy restaurants, on fancy trips, and meet fancy people. All without us.
We will be sitting in a cramped, and cold apartment in the shady part of town, all alone. Friendless. Jobless. The dredge of society.
So we stay on course. We don’t take risks with our time. We don’t go off the beaten path. We are good citizens, good consumers, and good children of society.
Fear of Bankruptcy
This is such an odd one, because it pervaded my mind. Even though, I knew that is a highly unlikely possibility that I would get sued for millions, and be taken for everything I have, I still worried about this.
Most of us have this fear that we will lose EVERYTHING if we don’t do well in our business.
The government will come pounding on our doors.
Smash it down with the Sheriff’s help.
Come inside our homes.
Take all of our furniture and fixtures and possessions.
Leave us on the street with nothing but the clothes on our back.
I have so many dreams (nightmares more like) where I’m in the situation outlined above. Especially now that I have started my own business.
I feel the shame of being bankrupt in these dreams. My parents crying with humiliation. My friends looking at me with disgust. Degraded. Humiliated. Ashamed. Down in the very pit of my nightmare.
Do we forget that we are smart human beings who are going to do everything possible to avoid this? Do we forget that bankruptcies are quite uncommon and quite a last resort? Do we forget that that are systems in place to protect us from ourselves?
Fear of the Unknown
We are all afraid of the unknown. We don’t know what will happen if we quit our jobs to start travelling the world or start our own business. It might be a huge success. Or it might be a failure. Or it might cause us to meet the love of our lives. Or it might cause our marriage to fail.
Whatever. Life is an unknown in any case, even if you take the risk or not. Life is a mystery without the risk. So why not take the risk?
I have no idea where I will be in a few months. I have no idea what my business will be like in a few months.
But I am satisfied knowing that I am giving it my all. I am pushing as hard as I can. I am doing the best I can in this moment.
That’s all that matters.
Fear of Falling Into the Abyss
This was one that I had constant nightmares about. I would take a huge leap into a beautiful valley, and then I would fall and fall and fall.
Taking a risk is like that huge jump into an abyss – with no harness, no safety nets, nothing.
We think we will take this risk and then we are going to fall into a hole so deep that we will never be able to dig ourselves out of it. Either financially or emotionally or physically.
The truth is, this unknown, deep abyss is where all the magic happens. All the good lives are lived in this abyss – in this unknown grey space.
We need to get into this space in order to do anything spectacular with our lives.
Fear of Selling Ourselves
One thing I have a tendency to do is put myself and my skills down. I know what I’m talking about! I really do. But when it comes down to selling myself to others, I put myself down (this is a block that I’m constantly working on).
I also know my shit with marketing, websites, sales funnels, Facebook Ads, meditation, mindset, and so on. I mean, I’m an expert! But I always see myself as just another face in the crowd. I know I can truly change people’s lives with my words, videos, podcasts, and courses.
I have learned slowly to sell myself. That’s important when you own your own business. But in the beginning, I was deathly afraid of it. I was afraid to be too pushy. I was afraid that I talk too much about myself. I was afraid that I didn’t know what I was talking about.
Even when people praised my products, or my website, or my blog posts, or my videos, I brushed them off.
This fear will kill your dreams. Cut it off in the bud.
Fear of Being Caught as a Fraud
Imposter syndrome is a big fatality in a lot of entrepreneurs. We have all of this amazing knowledge inside of us. Because we are passionate about our chosen fields, we research, read, and master. But then once it comes down to it, we think – ‘Oh, everyone knows this stuff.’
That is absolute caca. You will be surprised at how little people know, and how much you can actually teach them. I definitely was.
I would speak about something that I thought was common knowledge, and people would message me saying – they never knew that, thanks for sharing, etc.
You are not a fraud. You know more than you know. Share it, sell it, monetize it.
Fear of Criticism/Rejection
Oh man, the school system has really perpetuated this b.s. fear in all of us. We are all scared shitless of being criticized or rejected. We worry about making mistakes. We worry about screwing up. We worry about people pointing and laughing at us when we do make mistakes or screw up.
Learn to accept criticism and rejection as good things.
It means, you are in the big leagues. People actually care enough to come back at you with a hacksaw. Take it as a good sign.
Also, the more rejection you field, the more success you will have. You cannot have one without the other – balance always pervades. The universe is perfect that way.
Fear of Being Ostracized – losing friends and family
When I decided to quit my job to start this business, I lost all of my work friends. I mean, these people were my closest friends for a year and a half, and all of a sudden, they were all gone as if I was dead to them.
This is a common phenomenon. It means, these people weren’t true friends, but friends based on circumstance.
Something amazing came off it though. I became really close to my family because I had all of this focused energy and time for them and they showed me so much support when I decided to take this huge step.
I also realized who my true friends were and I grew closer to them.
I also started participating in many Entrepreneurial meets and groups, meeting amazing individuals who are now some of my closest compatriots.
So, please don’t worry. You will lose some friends for sure, but you will gain some amazing friends as well.
Fear of Failure (having to crawl back to a 9-5)
This was a scary one for me. When I quit, I told everyone that I was starting my own business. I told everyone at my work, all of my friends, my family, my social media networks. Everyone knew what I was doing.
So if I failed – I would go splat on the ground with hundreds of eyes watching and mocking.
If I had to crawl back to a normal 9-5, I would be doing it losing face in front of hundreds of people. That in itself was such a torturous thought that I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
I was afraid to fail.
Then, I read – There are failures, only temporary defeats. Boom!!
No matter what obstacles come my way – they are only temporary defeats. I am going to succeed one day or another. There is no going back.
Fear of Success
I am a frugalista. I am a minimalist. I love getting all of my clothes at clothing swaps. I love my tiny condo downtown. I love my 40-year vintage Raleigh bicycle that I bought for $100 on Craigslist. I love my life the way it is. I have designed it this way.
I feared that if I became a huge success, I would have to give up my life. I would have to change. I would have to buy designer clothes and an expensive car. I wouldn’t be able to ride around on my Vintage Raleigh anymore. I would have to quit clothing swaps. I would have to move to a bigger apartment.
The thing about designing your life is that it’s all YOUR choice. So even when I am a huge success, I can still do what I want with my time and life.
That’s the whole point of this.
Now It’s Your Turn
Your turn. Write down the fears you have, why you have them, and what is the worst case scenario. Label your fear.
So you can negate them, and keep on going towards your goals.
Be the awesome person I know you are.