I have what's called a "fear of success".
Sounds ridiculous, but it's a genuine fear that halts people from achieving their most desired dreams and goals.
It stems from other fears, such as fear of the unknown, fear of change and fear of ridicule.
Questions flood the mind, "What if this goal is not really what I wanted afterall?", "What if when I accomplish my goal, it's not what others expected of me?", "What if this goal changes the way my family and friends perceive me? What if it changes my family altogether?", "What if after I attain my goal, it's no fun anymore?", "What if..."
And thus, the dream is put on the shelf until a resolution for these questions can be made.
But a resolution is never obtained and the dream does nothing but gather dust.
I worry about these very "what if..." scenarios. I have not followed a few of my dreams for fear it would cause changes that would leave everlasting scars on me or my family.
I had the chance to go sing and dance in Branson, MO for the rest of my life. Think of it, to be on stage doing what I love! Where do I sign?!
But reality set in rather quickly. That would mean my family would be ripped from their comfort zone. My kids would have to find new friends and get used to a new school. My husband would have to start his business over from the ground up. Years of working to get where we are now would be gone for the sake of following my selfish dream. A risk, to say the least.
On a lighter note, I have accomplished one of my goals of becoming an EMT and saving lives. However, after I passed my local course, it took me nearly 2 months to finally sign up for the National Registry test so I could actually get a bona fide job saving lives.
Because I was afraid of failing the test.
Because I was afraid of passing the test.
I was afraid that if I failed, I'd never be able to face my EMT, Paramedic and Firefighter friends again.
I was afraid that if I passed I'd get a job and one day under the pressure of a medical emergency, forget all my training and accidentally kill someone.
But on the flip side of that coin, I also have deep scars caused from the regrets of not following some of my dreams.
Take the Branson opportunity, for instance. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it. I mill over two-faced "what if..." questions such as, "What if the kids would have wanted to attend a new school and actually thrived in their new environment?", "What if I had been so successful that Jonathan wouldn't have had to work to start us over?", "What if it's what I was supposed to do - my calling in life, and I missed it?"
Now, as if this whole situation isn't oddly complicated enough, there's another twist.
I also have a fear of failure.
This fear gets its roots from one simple thing...embarrassment.
If I had gone to Branson and failed in my attempts to please a crowd with my so-called talent, what would I tell my family and friends? How could I face them again without turning all the shades of pink and red in the color wheel?
I was going to try out this past weekend for a solo in the choral production of Handel's "Messiah" that I am participating in on the 28th.
But on the morning of the audition I stayed home.
Because, first and foremost, my husband had been sick and if he was contagious and I auditioned for the solo, made it, and then got sick myself, I would have had to back out last minute and leave someone else to frantically fill my shoes.
But more importantly, because I was afraid I would be told, "Sorry, but it's just not what we're looking for." If I've heard that once, I've heard it a hundred times. Those are the words that have immortalized my own personal failures.
So, it's a sad, vicious cycle; like a mouse on an exercise wheel that can't get off for fear of getting his leg caught in the space between the wheel and the bar and ending up with a mangled appendage.
It's like having an illness, getting the anecdote but then, realizing the anecdote causes cancer.
If it were an equation it would look something like this:
Success (good) = Change (not always good)
So, I don't even try. Which is kind of like failing:
Failure (not always bad) = Embarrassment (bad)
It seems the kickstand to the cycle would be to overcome my fear of embarrassment and ridicule.
Would that dissolve my fear of failure?
Cancer-free anecdote found.
Now, if only I could find the glass of bottled confidence to wash it down with.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I have what's called a "fear of success".
Posted by Carissa Mason at 1:59 PM