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Fear of success

Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 80

Do you have places in your life where your brain just keeps talking you out of taking action?

It feels like something that we might tell ourselves in secret, but I don't think that we would often name it outright as having a fear of success. But actually, that's what I think it is.

I really noticed about myself how many times my instinct was to try and keep myself small and try and keep myself in tricky positions. Quite often, because I had situations in the past where I didn't always vocalise quite how tough things were. When I wasn't speaking up and I wasn't letting people know that I needed support, or people weren't around to give me support, and some of the things that I said weren't always believed; What I was able to do was to create situations that looked towards the outside to be quite difficult and like, I was constantly struggling. And to me it felt like a way that I could create evidence. "You see, the thing that I told you? That must be true, because look at me now, look how hard things are for me now. Look at me struggling."

And even though that feels like a very long way from where I am now, I also can still spot that tendency that if I have the chance to be big, loud, seen, visual, put my head above the parapet, there's always that slight fear of danger here, there's always that fear of rejection. There's always that voice in my head that says, "Don't draw attention to yourself too much, because then things might go wrong. And actually, it's a lot safer not to try and live your dreams. It's a lot safer not to tell people there could be possible ways of them being happier. There's a lot more safety if you just rest and keep low."

And even though I understand why this voice is trying to protect me, I don't actually think it's in my best interest.

What I often notice about people who come to the coaching sessions is that when they have something that they really want to do, but they have this repeated story of, "I'm just not getting around to it", I'm just not doing that one thing that's going to change everything. Quite often, if we scratch the surface pretty quickly, it becomes apparent that actually, they've become their own bully. They're telling themselves that they're not good enough for it. They're telling themselves that this isn't the right thing for them and this can come out in really sneaky ways, like, "I don't know". "I don't know what the next step is". "I don't know what to do here."

And for all of this, whether it is the people who are coming to the coaching sessions, whether you've got something in your life that you're like, you know, I can really see things will be a lot easier if I just did that thing, but I'm not doing it. I invite you to just get curious with yourself, to stop, to listen, to see if you were to just allow that fear a little bit of space, rather than kind of yelling at it that it shouldn't be there, you should just get on through and sort of brute force your way into taking action that your body is trying to rebel against, that you're trying to recoil from; If you were to try and just spend a little moment with that fear and be like, "Hey, I see that you're trying to protect me here, but could we also try something different, just for a bit? And if we don't like it, we can stop. I promise that I'm going to be listening to you and I'd love for you to come alongside me, but rather than just roadblocking me, could we work as a team?"

It might seem like a really weird thing to talk to your emotions like that, especially the uncomfortable ones, but I find it really useful just to sort of check in with myself and go, what am I really trying to protect myself from here? Because I know that trying to pretend that it doesn't exist doesn't work for me.

One of the key things that I try and remind myself whenever I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, I remind my body, I tell myself quite often, it's just quite simply, if we don't like it, we can go home. And that feels like a message, which it took me years to come to, was what I needed. If things we don't like, things that there is a safe place to go to that feels like home. And sometimes you need to be that safe place for yourself.

So this week I invite you to notice where you can reassure yourself that if you're not enjoying things, you can go home. I'll speak to you next week.


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