We are the masters of our own destiny, yet actively choosing our own paths
can sometimes be intimidating. People have the ability to create positive
changes in their lives, yet distorted fear-based perceptions can often lead
to stagnation. Fear of failure and fear of success are two common aspects
of the fear of change, both reflecting similar negative beliefs of low self-worth
and self-doubt. When strong self-worth is present, however, change can be
welcomed as an opportunity for growth, forward movement, and personal fulfilment.
Almost synonymous with the fear of change is the fear of failure. Many people
feel worried and anxious when they even think of undertaking new challenges
because they doubt their abilities, their intelligence, their self-worth,
or their capacity to overcome obstacles that may arise. They fear not measuring
up, making a mistake, and being judged and humiliated. The possibility of
failure threatens to dislodge their already low sense of worth and therefore
does not merit the risk. Conversely, when self-worth is strong, fear may still
exist, but it no longer has the power to destabilize forward movement. "Failure"
is perceived as a temporary setback or as a potential learning experience.
Strong self-esteem enables individuals to focus on taking the steps necessary
to ensure success, expressing itself in an unfolding of the self, the ability
to strive, learn, and embrace new challenges and experiences.
Fear of success is the flip-side of fear of failure. Many people are ultimately
afraid of unleashing their full potential, not because they fear they will
fail, but because they fear their power and their ability to succeed. They
fear forging ahead and blazing their own trails, turning their dreams into
reality. The idea of embracing happiness and truly succeeding may evoke many
limiting beliefs stemming from low self-worth. For instance, many people doubt
whether they deserve happiness or whether sustained happiness is even possible.
Or, they worry that success may somehow "taint" them. Others dwell on the
potentially negative reaction of their friends and family members, concerned
about losing love and acceptance due to envy, jealousy, and resentment. Their
need for external validation may cause them to choose to compromise themselves
and their dreams rather than risk the possibility of jeopardizing the "acceptance"
they cling to. Such beliefs tap into deep-seated self-doubt, and often result
Restricting one's abilities and withholding one's brilliance truly serves
no one. As Marianne Williamson stated, "We ask ourselves - who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There
is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure
around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is 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."
When we come from a place of non-negotiable self worth and trust, fear of
failure and fear of success give way to faith in ourselves, the Universe,
and the process of life. We are able to tap into inner resources, take risks,
push past limitations, and forge ahead. The unknown is perceived as a challenging,
exciting adventure. Change becomes something not to fear but an instinct worth
embracing with confidence and self-trust.