I, like the rest of the world, have been battling internal dualities my entire life. On one hand, there’s this immobilizing fear and on the other this peaceful acceptance of my future success. How does that work? It doesn’t. It’s completely dysfunctional and destructive. My fear has always suppressed my desire to achieve. I’ve burned bridges, buildings, and whole communities because of that fear. It’s kept me up at night. It’s swung over my head in relationships. It was wearing me down. But in a recent conversation with my friend, I finally put the pieces together. Stay with me here.
I’m comfortable with private failure. You know the bottom. You can stand on that. Public success? It’s like being suspended in air. The higher you go, the worse the impact if you fall. I know that my success will only come when I’m 100% authentic to who I am. My fear of success then, is actually the fear of being known and if that’s the case, my fear is a pretty empowering thing.
I know. Are you ready for the kicker? My fear of success is a fear of myself. Why? Because deep down, I know I already have what I need to succeed. I’m responsible for whether or not I grab the brass ring.
Now that might not have been as earth shattering for you as it was for me. We hear shit like this all the time.
“You have the power!”
“You’ve got the secret!”
“Law of Attraction!”
“You’ve got the golden snatch!”
I…may have made that last one up but you know exactly what I’m saying here. We’re inundated with these uplifting messages everyday but everyday we’re crushed with the near insurmountable weight of the world. I’ve carried that for some time. I’ve lusted over the freedom to change and cowered at the fear of that possibility. There was always a reason not to and I’m sure you could show me your laundry list of why it can’t for you either. So what’s the disconnect if it’s so accessible?!
You, baby girl. YOU.
The bullshit and burdens we carry, WE carry. You can dump it on the side of the road or develop stronger shoulders. It’s up to you but as an adult you realize your life is exactly that… yours. I’ll expand on this a little more in the next post but growing up I did everything for the appeasement of others. My boundaries, my perceptions, everything was based off of the expectations of others. I had no sense of self so obviously I didn’t know how to live for myself. Y’all don’t want me to preach! But I will because I suspect that some of you are struggling with a similar problem. I had no sense of self so obviously I didn’t know how to live for myself. “Me” was unchartered territory and just like a human I was deathly afraid of what I did not know.
So in that moment when I made the connection for myself, a light didn’t just go off, my entire world shifted. It was like a supernatural experience. If my fear was darkness, my faith was constant illumination. I finally understood what my father meant by,” Faith above fear.” I didn’t feel like a victim in fear’s grasp. I felt infinitely powerful. I felt that underlying peace circumvent that fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of not making it the first or thousandth time, fear of showing people my naked soul. Most of it converted into this unshakeable confidence that I have NEVER had y’all. Ever. I felt alive. I looked to my future comforted by the notion that it’s going to be fucking phenomenal. I haven’t felt that way…ever. I thought at first it was just a fleeting feeling associated with the upcoming new year but it’s still with me, almost as if my intuition morphed into stone. It’s resolute and now so am I.
This of course was a long process but that’s because I’m hard headed as HELL. If you’re really ready, here’s the simplest way to streamline it.
1) Confront Your Shit:Know how I said it took me years? Yeah, 99.9% of that time was stuck on this step. Open up that closet of horrors. Look every failure, consequence, demon, skeleton, ghost, haunt, whatever’s lurking in there in the eye. Call it out by name. Realize that you shouldn’t be afraid of it but it should be afraid of you. Anxiety does not control you, your depression will not defeat you, your past will not destroy you, your failures will not define you. The greatest defense against fear is total self-awareness. (Go’head and tweet it babe, you know you want to!)
My friend Doyin wrote a fantastic piece on this here.
2) Create a plan: Now what? What do you want to be, where do you want to go, what do you want your legacy to be? Don’t be discouraged if you’re at point A and your destination is point Z. It will take time but the journey is just as important as the destination, sometimes more-so. Most people don’t even get to their path so recognize the beauty that you’re on yours.
3) Commit to yourself: Plans are like maps, they’ll help guide you but the course can and will change. The driver in this case, does not. Don’t pull an Olivia Pope but actually trust your gut. Listen to your instincts, block out the noise, and trust yourself. You’re smarter than you think. You’re so much more than what you give yourself.
4) Claim It: Do you want to make an album? Start your own fashion line? Launch your own consulting firm? Become a parent? Write it down, call it out, it doesn’t matter how you do it but birth it into existence. If that’s your vision, if that’s what you want, say so. You don’t have to tell everybody but you must tell somebody. Why? To keep you accountable when that fear starts to creep back up. People of course will have their opinions and advice, you choose whether or not to receive it or not. All that really matters is that this is yours. Want an example of how easy it is? I’m writing and publishing a book in 2015. Boom. That’s what I’m claiming as my own.
I’m hoping you’re as pumped as I am at this point. What are you claiming for 2015? What’s something
fear you’ve kept from yourself because you were afraid? I’m no judge so feel free to share!
As always, feel better, do better, and be better!