Statements such as “I will get to it”, “Tomorrow I will”, or my favorite “someday I am going to” are potential examples of fear of success. I don’t believe in excuses, but I do believe a significant reason why those and similar statements are made is because many of us fear success. When we try something, if we fail then conceivably that is “it”. The process is over. However, success raises the stakes. Success creates expectations, responsibility, accountability, and ownership.
I grew up in the project on Webster Avenue in the south Bronx of New York City and frequently heard the reasons for the poor conditions were because of “the man” and that no one expects much to come from the projects. I found that to be ridiculous and recognized that the environment does not limit success, finances does not limit success, nor does others telling you that you cannot do it limit your success. The only limit to your individual success is YOU. YOU are the driven force and owner of your success.
Now, there are certain key steps one must take to conquer their fears of success. In John Maxwell’s 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, he notes principle number 3, the law of process.
That is truly my favorite law. I believe there exist a process for everything and success is no different. I am not outlining scientific facts as the steps to conquer fear but what I take ownership of as my reality. The first thing I did was adopt an attitude that I will succeed. I believe if you change your perspective you will change your outcome. I recognized early that I lived in the projects (and very proud of it I will add), but the environment from where I lived did not define me it only fueled me. The second step of the process is to identify your motivators. Recognizing that in order to move toward the goals I set I was going to have to leave my environment, leave my friends, and yes leave my family. I had to take a risk. Leaving the comforts of home was truly a challenge, but it was a risk necessary to catapult me towards achieving my success. The third step in the process is to demonstrate commitment. I left the concrete jungle of the south Bronx and went upstate New York to attend college with one goal, to graduate in four years. I did not say I was going to graduate, but instead focused on graduating in 4 years.
During my stay, I quickly came to recognize that some classes were going to be a breeze, and others presented more of a challenge. Courses that presented temporary setbacks were just that temporary. The fourth step was to embrace a positive attitude and recognizing achievement in every field of endeavor is a process and sometimes setbacks are part of the process. However, the setback needs to be viewed as a learning experience, not a defining moment of I can’t but instead one of we can. Which lead me to the fifth step in the process, developing a team mentality. Developing the team is referred to as “the law of the inner circle” John Maxwell or “getting the right people on the bus” Jim Collins. No matter the terminology you elect to identify no man is an island and you will need the favors and blessings of God and the assistance of your team to truly achieve your success.
The final step in the process of achieving success is learning that you are not the most important person, but instead, the person that you reach a helping hand out to is. Your legacy is not defined by what you did or did not do but instead whom you touched. The lives you touch will carry on far after you are gone. The lessons you teach will educate others far after you are gone. The road you paved will transport others far after you are gone. Maya Angelou noted “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you””... and “if you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased”. Don’t allow anything to reduce your greatest, follow the process, tell your story and most of all conquer your fear of success.