It’s Tuesday, my delicious hot coffee has been made with love and I have been staring at this blank white page for a few minutes now, willing myself to write. For inspiration to strike, for the topic that is burning most in my heart to will itself through me.
And as I sat here waiting for those magical moments to occur, I had the overwhelming urge to just start tapping at the keys to see what comes out instead– and as I do so, I am immediately struck with a thousand words that want to flow through me, but in particular, this idea around Fear, and what is truly holding us back.
I finished my book last night that I was reading the last week or so – the War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, and as I read the last word on the last page, I quietly shut the book and took a big breathe out.
And it came from the notion of ‘real fear’. We all have fear – of course, fear is needed, good even, as it’s what keeps us safe (sometimes too safe). But so often, in fact too often, we allow those ‘other’ fears, like fear of failure or fear of being hurt, or fear of loosing people to stop us.
But here is the real kicker, those fears, although totally valid and as real to us as the air we breathe, they’re not the ultimate fear that we have hanging over us day after day after day, and what really keeps us from writing the book, changing careers, asking for the guy on the date – is the ‘Master Fear’ – the fear that is so a part of us most people don’t even believe it to not just be the Master fear but a fear at all. And that is;
The Fear that we WILL in fact succeed.
That we stop ourselves, time after time after time and day after day after day – not because we are scared we will fail, even though that fear might minutely be there, but we stop ourselves because the unconscious thought of drastically succeeding and becoming who we were born to be, or finishing the book or finding the love of our life – is actually scarier than the notion of failing.
You might immediately cast that idea aside – and already be at work in your mind thinking that is absolutely nuts, but I have to tell you, laying there in bed last night, taking my big breathe out – I couldn’t have aligned with that idea more.
I couldn’t tell you the amount of projects I haven’t started, or speaking events I have said no to, or even posts I haven’t written – not from fear of failing, I KNOW no matter what nothing is REALLYYYY a failure, even if I launched a project and it didn’t go how I wanted, I’d be proud I at least started it, or if I bombed out at a speaking event, at least I showed my human vulnerable side, or if no one read a post, at least I had the courage to write it – failure to me is still a positive thing as I just think ‘failures’ are learning curves.
The reason, deep inside, if I truly had to be honest and vulnerable I haven’t started many a project or spoken at certain events or writing particular blog posts – as I do know that’s the next level for me, and succeeding is scarier to me than failure. Failure I can deal with. Succeeding requires all new levels of up skilling and living boldly.
I believe it’s also why deep down, I stopped writing.
You see, I said it just the other day – I LOVE to write. For 2 ½ – 3 years when I first birthed lifesshinyprettythings (the original anna and morgan dot com blog) I was committed to my daily practice of writing no matter what. It was quite honestly the thing that got me up early, and kept me up late.
Then life and business ‘got in the way’ (read: exploded in the most beautiful and abundant and life changing of ways), and writing took a back seat.
But deep down, I think it was a fear of where could this take me. Should I REALLY be allowed to have this much joy from allowing words to flow through me daily.
The answer is of that, of course I should. Joy and living in to a purpose is our divine birth right.
This whole notion of holding yourself back due to a fear of succeeding vs a fear of failing still might feel crazy to you, and don’t ever get me wrong either, fear of failure is still VERY MUCH a real and constant fear for us all, I understand that, but I just dare you to try it on for size next time you’re holding yourself back from something.
Check in. Show up to yourself and for yourself and ask yourself the harder question.
Are you scared because you’ll fail (because honestly, what is failure anyway but a beautiful lesson in life) or are you actually scared because you could boldly succeed. You know, fall in love, be admired, earn the respect, land the deal, speak up.
Because you just might find, like I had a quiet realisation for myself the other day – that I can take the next little step forward when I recognise the difference between the fears (here I am now still sitting writing vulnerably for you all for example) – because success, done with the right intention and in love and humility, maybe isn’t such a scary thing after all.
Marianne Williamson said it best when she said her famous quote, a famous quote might I add that has always been one of my favourites, and only has more meaning now I am birthed a new day recognising fear of success vs failure more than ever ….
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
And as the amazing Steven Pressfield finished his book with that struck me right in the heart…
“Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got”.
I know it might seem so far away, or implausible or maybe even impossible, but that doesn’t make it any less real or powerful.
So I ask you, just as Marianne has quietly tried all of these years with her quote, and Mr Pressfield in his phenomenal book – to stop playing small, it’s time you gave the world what you’ve got.
Little by little.
Day by day.
It doesn’t matter how fast these small brave acts of courage take initially, of you living more in to who you were born to be, it just matters that you act.
And today, and every day, I wish you the courage to do just that.
Here is to you, to knowing that there is nothing to be afraid of with success and that you have purpose and meaning on this earth that you get to so beautifully live in to.