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Fear of Success: Where Did It come From???

By Carolyn Shannon


From the moment we came out of the womb if not earlier we learned how to become fearful.


Even the most fearless of us were soon convinced not to trust our own instincts over those of our parents, teachers, or bosses.


Then as we started to succeed…our first real smilefirst wordfirst step we strived to do it again and again because of the big reaction we would get. Then, sometimes gradually, sometimes not, we realized that with success comes responsibility, high expectations and many let downs.


As we were expected to do these same things on demand for all of our parents’ friends and family it began to grow old and we would either feel let down because the initial praise soon became, “Enough already!” or we become bored with it ourselves and resort to pretending we had forgotten how so we’d be left alone.


We became over achievers or “praise whores” in some areas in life in an effort to once again experience that initial high and under achievers or perceived “losers” in other areas in an effort to avoid the responsibilities of success both at a cost to our authentic selves.


Those of us who experienced failure early in life either learned successful coping skills that helped us or leaned towards things that hurt us such as escaping through the many addictive “ologies”.


Some of us who would never admit defeat or allow ourselves to fail throughout our lives, simply moved onto the next job or relationship when things got too difficult, then crashed and burned after our first real failure or loss because in avoiding we hadn’t learned effective skills on how to pick ourselves up again. Many of us still lived in denial even then only making things worse.


After years of this roller coaster ride some just gave up and removed or isolated themselves from people and situations where they could simply avoid it all.


Others took the time to reflect on their lives from a different, more objective view and learned we don’t have to be all things to all people, only to ourselves.


The latter came to an understanding that the truest and most important success we can ever achieve is simply setting healthy boundaries in all areas of our lives. And…much like happiness… success can be fleeting or it can become a part of your everyday life depending on how we choose to view it.

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Copyright 2009 Carolyn Shannon


Carolyn Shannon of teaches fun venting techniques including Art from the Heart Adventures. Carolyn lives and works in Niagara Falls ON Canada.


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