The Breast Blog: Fear of Success

I mentor a young woman named Stephanie. She has been very busy filling out forms and preparing business plans for some start-up funds she is hoping to secure so that she can build her new business and eat at the same time. Not always easy to accomplish.

As she waits for the results of her application, her bank account is dwindling and her panic is starting to surface. I asked her what her plan B was and discovered that in fact, she had put all her eggs into one 'start up' basket. Even though we had talked at length about establishing other income streams in the off chance the start-up does not come through, and, had even identified one source that required little effort on her part, she had not followed through.


It appeared that good old paralysis had set in.

I've learned, many times over, that being painfully stuck, staring at your feet, micro-managing your pennies, usually boils down to a strongly held, and unexamined belief about success and what success means to you.

So I asked Stephanie what she believed success looked like. Turns out, for Stephanie, being successful meant living completely out of control and out of balance. It meant no time for her son, friends or family. It meant being on the go constantly. It meant a life so sped up that everything she valued fell by the wayside. And it meant making lots of money.

No wonder she wasn't keen on moving toward her goal. Even though most North American's live lives in the fast lanes, it's no secret that a vast percentage are not happy, even if they are affluent.

So, I asked her who was in charge of her success. More revelations followed. Seems her future customers were poised to take over Stephanie's life. Because.....

Stephanie was uncomfortable saying the word NO. Or even No Thank You.

Leaving only YES or the vague cousin, MAYBE as an option.

This meant that everyone else was left in charge of Stephanie. Without the ability or willingness to communicate using the word NO, Stephanie was putting herself in a vulnerable position. Stephanie was not in charge of Stephanie and the passive aggressive choices she left herself were few. She could either hide/freeze and do nothing, thereby passively avoiding any action or she could get angry and blame people for putting on the pressure. Neither would serve her well in any capacity.

Defining what success means to you may prove revealing.

And realizing that No is not a three letter word will help immensely. In fact, the skillful use of the word No demonstrates how truely tuned in you are to your reality.

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