1. Forget about the idea of the fear of failure. I say it’s the fear of success.
In terms of the entrepreneur, many have been conditioned to think that the road to success involves risks such as “don’t get your hopes up” which hint at the fact that you might not succeed. It gets us ready for not reaching success. Hence, we have no acceptance model for success only a second best option of not quite making it. Top this off too with a healthy dose of lack of self esteem from being subject to verbal abuse in life – and the loser inside you takes a bow. In this case, you don’t feel that you even deserve success. Finally, the fear of success can come with you equating success with something ‘dirty’ to you or uncomfortable, like competition in some cases, or perhaps success implies envy and who wants to be envious? Is this you?
2. Being successful means bettering your role model or following a negative role model.
As a child I watched a successful man in business, who was a liar and a thief. Yet he was successful and made a lot of money and gained kudos. As I grew older, success became synonymous with this negative role model and because my values were not to lie and steal, I was unable to actuate into a successful position. Furthermore, when I found myself a successful role model who had my values, I was unable to supersede them as to better the master, felt out of place after being their student, their protégé. Success became as elusive as the Holy Grail
3. The wrong things take priority
You’ve got your business set up and running but success isn’t forthcoming. Perhaps you are spending too much time on the product and not enough time on marketing the product. Perhaps you’re ignoring your books/ finances and then you mistake your figures and end up in debt or at a standstill for what you are able to do. Perhaps your time management is poor and you need to review how you are spending your time. Perhaps you’re not attending to your business enough and are focused on family to the detriment of yourself and your own needs. Whilst a balance is needed in life, priorities must be set in order to succeed.
4. Money has a negative context from childhood
I had an unusual childhood in South Africa during apartheid, and although money was linked to having a good life, it was in a county of great poverty and inequity. As I grew up, in a life of privilege, I was conscious of the differences between rich and poor and felt guilty about being from a family who had resources and with them, freedoms. Money was a sign of privilege to the detriment of others. As I grew older, my focus was on equity and fairness but I had muddied the waters thinking that money was success in light of an inequitable lifestyle. When in fact, it is simply a by-product of material success. Success comes in all shapes and in all areas of life.
5. Feelings of low self esteem
Now I know I mentioned this one earlier but it’s such a strong reason for failure that it needs closer attention. As I often explain to my clients, the subconscious mind is a powerful tool that can work for us or against us. It only takes one comment at a time of great suggestibility, usually in childhood or when in a dependent relationship to burn into the subconscious mind and take hold. Being called stupid or an idiot or phrases like – you’ll amount to nothing, or you’ll never do it (You’d be surprised at what is said) are much more powerful than a well done. It takes a thousand ‘well dones’ to combat a negative. Negative comments become the basis of self-fulfilling prophecies. You don’t amount to much, you can’t do it, you’re an idiot and idiots don’t succeed.
6. Lack of rehearsal
Success needs to be modelled and practiced. In order to be successful you need to walk in the shoes of success. You need to know the habits of successful people and rehearse them. Rehearse your skills so that you can beat the competition. Rehearse your behaviour so that you can appear successful, act successful and ultimately be successful. What does a successful person look like? How do they stand? How do they behave and think? If you rehearse, you will be able to do.
7. Surrounding self with non-successful people
You know the types. The naysayers, the negative friends who have not been successful in their own lives and so put the dampeners on others who aspire to succeed. They will not enhance your life. Now I’m not saying dump all your friends who don’t match your model of ‘success’. Instead, find like-minded people who believe in success, encourage success and are successful themselves. I include those who are successful according to their own standards: Buddhist monk is successful in a simple life of renunciation, a nurse is successful nursing. An entrepreneur needs to have those who have set targets and reached goals in their life.
So how to believe in success? How to rehearse success? How to feel success?
Here are two techniques that I learned from both a psychologist and an NLP master trainer that will help you step into success as they have helped me.
- Recall an event where you were successful or excited when you were younger, and notice what you are feeling and sensing in your memory. Feel the things you need to feel, imagine hearing the things you need to hear to be back at that place, as if it is real now. Stay associated with the feeling and memory for 3-5 minutes. Squeeze your thumb and finger together while you are thinking of that success.
- Now remember an event where you were successful and excited recently in your life, and notice what you are feeling and sensing. Stay with this sensation for 3-5 minutes. Squeeze your thumb and finger together while you are thinking of that success.
- Practice this feeling every day until it becomes second nature to feel successful when you squeeze your thumb and finger. This is called an anchor for success.
STEPPING INTO CONFIDENCE
- Imagine, visualise, picture or pretend that a successful person is standing with their back to you, in front of you.
- Take a deep breath and step into the body of the successful person. Close your eyes. Now move your body to match the successful person. How do they hold their head? How are their hips, their back, and their hands? Get yourself into the position you think they stand.
- Now imagine how they feel when they look in the mirror? How do they feel confident? Imagine being inside them and feeling their confidence. Place your hand on where you feel the most confident. It could be your stomach, your chest, your head etc.
- Now step back into your own body keeping your hand on the same place. Notice how some of the confidence has come back with you, in your body. It’s a great feeling and one you can practice every day until you are able to conjure up the feeling of confidence on your own. Being confident in your own abilities is the foundation of success. The rest is up to you.