My Fear of Success

I just had a powerful conversation with another coach (Aaron Brown) in my neighborhood. We met at a networking function a few months ago and he called me to check-in on how my practice is going and whether or not it’s thriving and I had to admit that I feel as if I and my practice are barely surviving.

I am very ‘new’ at being self-employed having started my own full-time coaching practice this past January. I am leveraging 20 years of business/corporate experience, yet at the same time, awakened in every moment to the awareness that “we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.”

In my short 40-minute conversation, I anchored for myself that what might be holding me back is not the familiar ache of fearing failure, but the sobering realization that what I am actually afraid of is my own success. Being human (and a coach), I know I am not alone in this awareness and would love some insight and perspective from others who have moved or are moving through this territory.

I am supporting myself with envisioning my ideal coaching practice: total number of clients per week, anchoring into what this would feel like for me, identifying the number of hours each week set aside for practice development and marketing as well as writing and speaking engagements (which support me in building my business). Oh yes, and… I GET 4 weeks of paid vacation per year also! That is also part of my vision.

So what else is underneath my fear of being truly successful at doing what I love? I’m not sure… yet I believe it’s linked to that dreaded word deserving. In recent weeks, I have been dismantling old beliefs like “work has to be hard” and “effort = return.” In addition to that dreaded word of deserving (which thanks to my first life coach I realize is a word of judgment and the universe, or whatever supports you to believe in, has none), I am back to a familiar disempowering line of questioning that goes like this: What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m not really coaching people but rather listening and providing feedback? What if simply loving the process of coaching is not enough to make me a good coach? What if I don’t have it in me to be self-employed? Ugh.

So what I know from my training is to get into action. Pick something, one thing, no matter how small and do it! Also, tell someone else to support you in accountability. And finally, ask for support… which I am doing now. Any words of wisdom on battling your own dragon shrouded in “living my vision of success?” What are your beliefs? What are your thoughts? What are your feelings? And how do you shift from “not enough” to “enough” and not be terrified with the thought of what it means to be the amazing individuals we are that are called to coaching, to live from this level of consciousness and to serve and support ourselves and our clients in recognizing our own inner value and worth?


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