During a conversation with one of my clients recently, she actually verbalized a fear that many of us have - but few are willing to actually admit to...
A fear of being "visible"... a fear of being a public persona.
This is basically a fear of success. A fear of visibility keeps us safe... and small. When we keep playing smaller than we're capable of, we prevent ourselves from living out our mission in life.
Being visible requires vulnerability. Period. Let's figure out why you might fear visibility - and how you can overcome your fears.
The Many Reasons Why We Fear Success
"... Our very deepest fear is that when we really reclaim our power and succeed, we have to face the knowledge that we have always been powerful to change all along and that we could have changed a year or five or 10 years ago." -- Ti Caine
We humans are complex creatures, so it makes sense that the reasons why we actually fear success are just as complicated. Hypnotherapist and life coach Ti Caine explained in a Psychology Today article that the fear of success is a "very unique issue that arises when you are genuinely creating change and moving forward in your life."
Maybe you fear putting something out there because too many people might see it and/or criticize your work. Or you think that you're not really worthy of success. Or that you'll eventually fall flat on your face.
And you know that the more visible you are, the more people there are to see your failures. The what-ifs creep in...What if I fail big time? All those people will be watching - everyone will know. What if I succeed? Then everyone will have even bigger expectations.
Oh, and of course, there's always the fear that once you do find success, you're just doomed to fail and lose it all - and then everyone would know what a "fool" you are. We also stress over thoughts of being bothered by others wanting money or other things because they perceive us as successful.
In essence, we fear the unknown. And for many of us, the big "unknown" isn't success itself - but how to handle success.
Say Hello to the Unknown
Before you can deal with your fear of success, it helps to do some self-discovery first. Try asking yourself a few key questions, like:
• What do I fear losing the most if I am a success?
• By not embracing success, what do I get to avoid?
• What am I getting out of holding back from being more visible?
• What is my version of the worst-case scenario?
• What are the benefits of putting myself out there?
How to Deal With Your Fear of Success
Many of us are absolutely clueless when it comes to knowing how to deal with our fears of success. And as I explained above, that's what makes it so scary. The truth is, you can still be "safe" - even when you feel vulnerable.
Here are three guiding principles to help you overcome your fear of visibility:
1. Understand - and accept your fears. I've already gone over some of the major reasons you might fear being visible, being successful. You might have your own secret reasons. Identify them. Refer to some of the questions I mentioned above to help you get real about your fears. Once you do, accept them. Stop focusing on the doubt and fear - and move forward.
2. You determine your worth. Your net worth will never exceed your self-worth. Being liked by other people doesn't determine your worth. There will always be naysayers, people who want to bring you down... people who just don't like you. Take all that power you've been throwing away and put it to work in your own life.
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Yep, there it is. I said it. Life is uncomfortable. Change doesn't always feel good. It isn't meant to. But if you're not open to change, what happens? Stagnation. When you stagnate, you're not going anywhere fast.
If you want to play the "what if" game to your advantage - fast forward five, 10, 20 years and envision yourself looking back at your life now. What if you let fear get in the way of being more visible, of finding success? How would you feel? I think you already know the answer to that. Doing this exercise may just give you the shift in perspective you need to overcome your fears.
Share your insight - how do you overcome the fear factor in your life?