musings on life, love and laughter from my spoken heart to yours

Afraid of success? Really?



Nelson Mandela is a very smart man – however I just found out that the above quote is NOT his. It is actually from Marianne Williamson’s book  A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (I have not read this book). In the quote above it states it is our personal power, our capacity for success, our own light that we are afraid of. I agree.

I remember when I first looked at going back to school (many moons ago). What I remember most about it was this overwhelming fear of success. I also remember being slammed for voicing that fear. Being told that was the most ridiculous thing ever. “How can you be afraid of succeeding?” at the time I could not rationalize the fear. I did not understand it. I thought “maybe I am ridiculous?” “maybe I just can’t face the idea of failing and so I am making this up?”

Years later I came to understand the fear. I truly was afraid of success. But why? Because with success comes a certain level of responsibility. Because there are now expectations based upon my proven ability – I would now have to live up to that standard, a standard I myself would have created. Because certain people were going to judge me based on that success rather than on who I am. And the biggest one for me at the time was that I was in a relationship based on need and dependency and if I found success I feared I would outgrow the relationship, and where did that leave me? It brought up a whole lot of what if’s and now what’s.

Success signified change. Simple as that. I also knew that failure was not an option. So if I went ahead with my plan then I was stuck with it, even if I hated it, because failure, dropping out, changing my mind was not in the cards, this was my one shot. So instead I sat on my hands for seven years. How sad is that. I was not ready to face the change that I knew was part of the deal. I was not ready to face the reality of where my life was at the time. I was refusing to accept responsibility for who I was, and for who I knew I could be. Who I knew I was capable of being. Because with it came facing my demons.

So am I some great and amazing successful person today. NO. But I do succeed at what I put my mind to. And I often catch myself growing stagnant in a comfort zone, while a part of my heart and soul are longing to reach beyond it. But personal growth takes personal effort. Real growth takes a lot of effort. You cannot effectively change where you are, who you are, what you do without massive amounts of effort. And effort entails commitment. And commitment requires dedication. Which in turn demands discipline… I am seeing a lot of words that I try to hide from in that list. By nature I am lazy. But I want, need, to be more. More than I am… more than where I am… just MORE. And I KNOW I am capable. And that if I apply myself and put my best foot forward I. WILL. SUCCEED.

I also know that if I succeed I pull others forward with me. Not because I am so great, but because it the way things seem to work. It may not be physically, or deliberately, but they will follow. They will see and rise up also. One small change, one step forward, creates a ripple. And that ripple touches those around you, sometimes in ways you could never imagine.

How amazing would this world be if we all used our potential for helping those around us? If we all strove to succeed at being better, kinder, brighter versions of ourselves? If we all created ripples that encouraged those around us to shine?

We were born to make manifest the glory of God. And when we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same… Marianne Williamson


Author: myspokenheart

Blogger, life lover, silly-hearted daydreamer...

16 thoughts on “Afraid of success? Really?

  1. Drop a pebble in the water,
    And its ripples reach out far;
    And the sunbeams dancing on them
    May reflect them to a star.

    Give a smile to someone passing,
    Thereby making his morning glad;
    It may greet you in the evening
    When your own heart may be sad.

    Do a deed of simple kindness;
    Though its end you may not see,
    It may reach, like widening ripples,
    Down a long eternity.

    Joseph Norris


  2. Several years ago I spontaneously started saying to myself, over and over, for months, “what if this is enough?” I was sick of being dissatisfied (with whatever). The question was directed at the current moment, my life as a whole, at whatever was arising to create dissatisfaction. There have been many changes as a result. The most obvious was that after about three months of questioning myself with “what if this is enough?” I spontaneously quit smoking, without a thought about it, or any withdrawal symptoms.
    It’s a paradox – by relaxing and accepting what is we make room for all kinds of change to arise.
    Wonderful post. And despite what I’ve said, I too love Marianne Williamson’s words. As I said, it’s a paradox.


    • “what if this is enough” that beats the one that motivated me… I found I was saying “I’m so done” all the time and then one day I realized either I do something about it/fix it, or accept and carry on… well I started my adventure and it is a slow process, has up times and down times, but I am glad I took the steps, and am moving forward… glad to have “met” you 🙂


      • “I’m so done” _ that’s a very good one. There’s a few things going on I could use that one for. Yes, do something, or accept and carry on. That’s about the nub of it isn’t it. Glad to have met you too 🙂


  3. At times you may slow on blogging A …. but when you do put a blog post out….its WHAM! Your writing is so well thought out, organized, and I always get a lift when reading your posts.

    There is hope and feeling in this post … and I know I should concentrate on that …. but at the moment I keep thinking to myself….”God I wish I could write the way she writes.”



  4. I’m with Mrs W on this one. I know my worst enemy has always been myself.
    I also know that whenever I’ve done the brave or frightening thing it has come good.
    Go Ms Heart, go!


  5. Reblogged this on faceatthewindow and commented:
    I loved this so much I had to re-blog…spoken just seems to express so beautifully and simply the profound lessons we all need to hear…


  6. Spoken this is wonderful. Beautifully written, honest and true. I have spent a lot of my life running away from myself and from the commitment required to effect the changes I needed and almost as much making those changes happen- especially in the last decade or so. Thanks for stating so clearly a journey I understand so well. You are a special lady 🙂 Can I re-blog?


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