How to Overcome the Fear of Success — United Black Books
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How to Overcome the Fear of Success

“We often hesitate to follow our intuition out of fear. Most usually, we are afraid of the changes in our own life that our actions will bring.” – Caroline Myss

Which one are you more afraid of: failure or success?

When it comes to following your dreams, do you worry more about not being able to cope with negative feelings when you mess up or not being able to handle the level of increased responsibility that success often brings? Most of us think we fall in the first camp of not wanting to fail. But many of us are actually more fearful of what might happen if we actually achieved that big goal we say we want.

It can be scary to think about all the different ways your life could change as a result of losing all the weight, making more money, attracting a great man, finding a better job, moving to an exciting new city, etc. Your friends might think you’ve “changed” (you have). Your family might doubt your drastic choices (they will). Your co-workers might be jealous of you (yup, that too).

But freedom comes when you are able to accept the truth that your own self-actualization is worth more than the discomfort you have to go through to get there. Here are two strategies to help you overcome the fear of success and step into the greatness that you were made for.

Take Responsibility for What You Love

Many people say they don’t know what their purpose is, but that statement is also rooted in fear. If you pay attention to your intuition, you will see that you are being reminded of your purpose nearly every day. What I know for sure is that we are all here for a reason and we have to take responsibility for that.

If you know you are here to make a difference, DO IT.

If you know you were meant to write books and educate the world, DO IT.

If you know you were born to make art and design jewelry and create healing spaces in your community, DO ALL OF THAT.

Do not let fear keep you from waking up with joy every morning, knowing that your life and work matters. Stand in the strength of your vision and go where it leads you.

You’re not doing anyone any favors by keeping your gifts to yourself. (click here to tweet this quote!)

When you take responsibility for what you love and begin to show up with your unique talents, magic happens. People will start to support you and help you on the journey to achieve your goals.

If you’re not currently doing the work that you’ve been called to do, spend some time figuring out how you can change that. Because really, life is too short not to.

Remember That It’s Not Really About You

Over the past few months, I’ve been having vivid dreams of what’s to come for Happy Black Woman. I’ve had women come up to me at my speaking engagements and live events to tell me they can see the vision also. And that’s when my own fear of success comes up. My lizard brain starts asking stupid questions:

  • Who am I to think I can help people? (I ask this even after I’ve helped thousands of people over the years in their lives, careers and businesses.)
  • Who am I to be on stage? (I ask this even after speaking professionally for almost 6 years now.)
  • Who am I to be teaching other people, especially those who are older than me? (I ask this even after being an adjunct professor at a university for 3 years.)

But it’s during those moments of doubt that I remember it’s not really about me.

This weekend, I received a sweet thank-you card in the mail from a reader with a nice note of appreciation for my work. Inside the card, she wrote something along the lines of, “God is using you for good.”

The next day, I was contacted (via Facebook!) for a radio interview on 89.3FM WRFG in Atlanta for a late-night show about how to create the live you want. After my segment, the host told me a listener had called in bawling because my words touched her.

When you walk in your purpose, you inspire others to do the same. (click to tweet this quote!)

Those constant reminders allow me to see that the universe wants me to succeed. I write this in awe that I am being used for a purpose that is bigger than me. It’s both terrifying and exciting because I want to do so much more with Happy Black Woman over the next year. I know that as the brand grows, there will be more articles, more books, more events, more radio, more clients, more customers, more programs and all that comes with promoting my business and the value of this community. Of course, there will be people who don’t get what I’m doing, who don’t like the name, who don’t like me for whatever reason. But I’m ready for all of it. Because it’s not really about me. It’s about the transformation that other people get from the work I do.

For me, success is being able to do what I love. And when I look at it that way, I realize that I’m more excited than I am afraid of the path I am taking to get there.

Leave a comment below: Are you afraid of success? Why or why not?


Rosetta Thurman is the Founder of Happy Black Woman, a supportive community that empowers women to create their ideal lives through personal development and entrepreneurship. Join thousands of women who have completed the only online course that gives you all the tools you need to get unstuck, set clear goals and rediscover who you truly are. Learn more about my 31 Days to Reset Your Life program here.

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