Running Towards What We Fear

A friend recently shared the article “30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself.”  Steering away from the negative tone of a “don’t” directive, this list provides guidance that could become anyone’s 2012 next steps. 

Number nine, “start enjoying the things you already have” immediately jumped out because I’d been chanting all weekend about people embracing Elizabeth Taylor’s spirit.  No, don’t go running off to steal a friend’s husband.  I meant this about her full-on passions and appreciation for life moments.

When it wasn’t popular (and even feared), she championed HIV/AIDS awareness and donated millions to fund research.  She loved hard and married multiple times in following where her heart took her.  She wore with pride the 33.19 carat magnificent Krupp diamond and other jewels in her collection versus locking them away in museum-like cages. 

I then hunkered down on number 12, which states to “start believing that you’re ready for the next step.”  That’s a yowzer there for me.  Cue the above video.  Fear of being “ready” makes me hesitate on my goals. 

(Cough)  Some confessions:

  • Though my writing group is cheering me on and swearing it is a good story idea, I’m stumbling over each early word for my novel.  A poet and short story gal, what if I’m not ready to write something so long? 
  • I’ve stopped myself at mid-success to my weight loss goal and put some pounds back on.  Am I ready for the new attention and how people will relate to me when back to my “fighting weight”? 
  • I even almost passed up applying for the Kenyon Writers Workshop and to be a writer for Reality News Online because I wondered if I was–yep–ready.  As it turns out, I was ready and a success at both.   

December is a reflective month for me and I’m sure many others, and where we employ number three on the list, “start being honest with yourself about everything.”  In 2012, whenever the urge of fear tremors in my gut, it is then that I will know to run forward.

Do you have fears that are holding you back?

What are some that you’d like to overcome in 2012? 

Is there anything beyond the list of 30 that you do to take care of yourself?

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22 Responses to Running Towards What We Fear

  1. As crazy as it sounds, I’m afraid of being a “one hit wonder.” I know that, for some people, one great success would be enough to satisfy them, and in many ways, it would for me too. But what scares me is that because I couldn’t repeat it, people would feel sorry for me and think it was a fluke.

    • That’s not crazy, Marcy. The fear of succeeding is what used to stop me from submitting work. The “logic” was “what if this story gets published and kudos then I can’t repeat it and never get published again.” So it was a vicious circle of stopping myself from even having a shot at success because of the fear of it. Thanks for sharing. I’m hoping you can run towards success in 2012.

  2. Barb, as soon as I read this post I told myself you need to read Amber West’s post from a few days ago. Here it is She addresses a lot of the great points you raise and concludes we all should give ourselves permission to stink. As writers we all carry around a fear factor in varying degrees. I think Amber’s last line is a great mantra for all of us. “Don’t let you get in the way of being you.”

  3. Elena Aitken says:

    Oh, Barbara! What a FANTASTIC post!
    First, the video…where do you find these!?
    And what a powerful thought…we all have something holding us back. Fear of success? Fear of failure?
    Fear…for sure.
    I do have fears, that is a definite. I was terrified to pub my first novel. I still am, everyday.
    The question needs to be not, what do we fear doing? But what do we fear missing out on?

    Thank you for this post. Thank you.

    • Thanks for that, Elena! Yes, as I move forward, I want “what do I fear missing out on” to be my motivator. It is like sitting in an empty room, staring at the closed door and wondering what is on the other side that can’t be done until the door is opened. Hopefully, the curiosity will push us past the fear of openining it.

  4. I’ve been struggling with fear of success for awhile now. In fact, I used it as an excuse for allowing events get in the way of my writing. I think I have a good grip on it now. With a year of marital separation and now a final divorce behind me, I’m ready for that success. Every time I have backsliding thoughts, I replace them with thoughts of success until I am once again comfortable with my future.

    Great post, Barbara! Here’s to a great 2012!!!

  5. kathils says:

    I am ~ was ~ a fear of success gal. I’m getting over that and striving for it. But I think part of that comes from being an introvert and loving my solitude. When I was younger, I didn’t want to give that up so I never really applied myself. Because, after all, what if I succeeded?!!? Gadzooks! If I actually became good at something I’d be thrust into the public eye. It was terrifying to me. So I found all sorts of other convenient excuses to never move forward. Thank goodness I’m over that!! LOL Wish I would have gotten over it years ago but there’s no going back, only forward.

    • (waving) Hello fellow fear of success member. I can so relate to the “what if I succeed” feeling. Like, what now? Gadzooks is right. Glad that you have moved beyond that. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I think everyone struggles with fears, facing them, overcoming them, not letting them control our lives. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of them they are so deep seaded and part of our subconcious. I think it’s tremendously healthy to evaluate, to be honest, to review and examine our goals and how our fears might be self-destructive because once you see it, I think it’s easier to face and overcome. I love the post Barbara – so timely!!!
    Happy holidays and here’s to a FAB 2012!!

    • You are right on the awareness part, Natalie. When I’m not sure why I keep repeating a pattern or don’t complete a goal, I like to have “but why” conversations with myself to drill down on what is really happening. If I ask enough “but whys,” that little fear bugger hiding in the corner will be revealed. Honesty with self is a powerful weapon.

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  8. The video brought tears to my eyes. How bad I feel when I fear, how good it feels when we rise above it. Yes, I have fears lately. I have the chance to work with some remarkable people on developing the book I’ve written into a series. I’ve taken the leap and said yes, but I’ve been fearful that I’ve set the bar too high, that perhaps they won’t want to work with me once they find out who I really am, that the book isn’t as good as they think and once they find out…. you can guess how it all goes. But I’ve taken the first step and I plan to work my butt off to prove to myself that the bar is just high enough but what if I fail? Not sure what the answer is but I guess I’ll find out! LOL. Really truly, I am laughing right now. Thanks so much for this post Barbara. This is a KEEPER and one you need to post every year, in my humble opinion. I’m off to read your friend’s 30 things… perhaps my answer is there. Congrats on all you’ve accomplished this year in spite of your fears. I hope you celebrate!!!!

    • Now I have tears, Kate! Thank you for your comments and supportive words. Part of my little “fear friend’s” pattern is to, of course, shine a light on the fears instead of successes. Part of my work this year has been learning to see and accept all forms of success – partial wins, half complete goals, just getting one item done. Those are all wins. I know your book will be good and that you will rock 2012!

  9. Wow, what an interesting video. Thanks for sharing! Even though I tell myself I want to live a great and successful life, I’m also afraid of it. Mediocre is comfortable and safe.

    • Thanks for sharing, Angela! Working past the fear is a process and for me ongoing. I hope as we push on that the little fear guy’s delusions will become less strong. Or at least he’ll get bored watching all of our successes. 🙂

  10. Oh, girl, that video gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes! Here I thought I was the only one and come to find out, there’s a whole host of us fearing stuff like success. What a thought.

    I’m going to keep this thought with me as I look down 2012 and write out my goals for the coming year. Fear will be a part of them, I’m sure, but now I’m rethinking how fear will shape my life. I’ll use that power for good, not evil.

    Happy Christmas, my friend and here’s to a powerful and successful 2012 for all of us!

    Damn, I love this group.

    • (waving again) Welcome, oh fellow fear of success member, Tameri. While not the best club, it is great not to be alone in it. As I look into 2012, I’m going to hold tight to Elena’s comment on what do I fear missing out on. Happy goal planning. I know you will rock each and every one of them. 🙂

  11. Love this post. I am turning away from fear and into the unknown, and putting myself, and my writing OUT THERE in 2012.

    Stopped by from ROW80 link list–it was very nice to discover your blog! I’m looking forward to 80 days of great writing!!

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