The fear of failure is not what prevents us from maximizing our potential in life. If we fail at something, we get to stay in our comfort zone. We may be disappointed, but we know how to deal with it. On the other hand, when we think of the incredible impact we can have when we discover and develop our unique strengths and channel all our efforts into a worthy mission that really matters to us, those thoughts create a lot of anxiety. It doesn't matter how successful we've been in the past, leaving our 'safe harbor' and sailing into an unknown sea always creates stress.
The inspiring poem from Marianne Williamson does a great job of capturing this concept. Even if you've read it before, it's worth taking a few minutes to reflect on the message.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Is there any area of your life where you might have a fear of success? Do you have a strong desire to achieve something that would have a positive impact on your workplace, family or community but you're not really working on the project yet?
If your answer is 'yes,' I encourage you to feel the fear and just get started. Anxiety is always defeated by positive action.