‘WTF is wrong with me?!’ A few years ago, I spent the whole entire month of August in the funk of all funks.
It’s actually a non-story, really, so sorry for being anticlimatic. I was just walking to work one ordinary morning, letting my thoughts go through my head, then, ‘BAM!’ A brief moment of insight into my psyche:
Isn’t success and achievement what we all strive so painstakingly for? Isn’t that what we want? I answered those questions with yes. So then why do I create roadblocks, self-sabotage my own progress, or just get weird and squirmy about doing things I know are important to me and that I definitely want to accomplish?
Because I’m afraid of success.
What I realized then remains true about me to this day- I’m actually more afraid of success than of failure. Initially I found this completely strange about myself, but on further reflection as I worked my way out of my funk, it began to make sense. If I try something and fail, no big deal, I can always try again. As a self-identifying avid life-long learner, I’m pretty cool with that. Trying over and over is my comfort zone.
Why is success so scary?
I can’t say that I’ve overcome this fear of success, nor do I know that I ever will. I have, however, managed to recognize it in myself and call it by its name. Just having that awareness helps me to notice when it’s creeping in on me, showing itself in my procratination, or my digging my heels in, or my manufacturing of far-fetched excuses for not doing things I really love and want to do.
What coping mechanisms do you use?
And so I talk gently and patiently with myself, dropping the ‘WTF’ out of my inner dialogue, as I walk myself through the process of taking one small step, and noticing that everything is ok, that I haven’t been struck by lightening, nor have I buckled under the pressure of this newly adopted level of responsibility. I lean a little more, and take the next little step, trying to feel that I’ve got firm footing.
And eventually I get there.
For my dear Kickstart a Causers:
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Thanks again and have a lovely day!
Lisa Stiefel is an English language professional currently based in Germany. She teaches ESL to adult learners in companies, at postgraduate level, and online. In addition she writes, translates, edits, and proofreads. She is a film junkie of the worst sort and loves good vegetarian cooking. Visit her at www.english-with-lisa.com.