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Fear of Success

I recently decided to focus my life coaching business towards people living with bipolar disorder, who are in recovery or working towards it. This was the reason I wanted to be a life coach in the first place. Even when I was younger, I felt like my pain was there to serve a purpose. For me to learn from it, then turn around and help others who are going through the same thing.


After getting certified as a life coach, my fear was preventing me from committing and going all in on my niche. Not only would I be doing something unfamiliar as starting my own business; I’d also have to work through my reluctance of sharing my own story with mental illness. One day, I heard someone say on a podcast, “If you know what you want, why are you waiting?” I can’t remember who said it, but the question kept gnawing at me.


I got a lot of coaching and did some soul searching to have a better understanding of what was holding me back. I was stuck in the place of wanting to move forward but afraid to take the first step. Quitting was very tempting and procrastination was my friend.


Prior to my introspection, I was foolish and a bit arrogant to think I had this disorder all figured out. I thought I was completely “over” my bipolar disorder. I felt such a strong belief in what I thought was my new identity: someone who lived with this disorder a long time ago but has recovered and no longer suffering from it.


I thought I overcame ALL of the challenges and struggles of being bipolar. I thought I could talk about it without feeling any shame or insecurities. The reality of how vulnerable I still am when it comes to my mental health was quite surprising to discover.

I discovered that I was terrified to share my story; to actually find the people I wanted to help. Partially because of fear of rejection, but ironically because of fear of success. What if I couldn’t handle it if things got to be too much? What if I have another manic episode?


I realized that I was holding on so tightly to the idea that I have been in recovery for over 9 years now. I didn’t want to risk losing that and have to go back to the mental hospital. I didn’t want to have to start all over again.


I made myself question what would be so bad about going back to the mental hospital. I played out what it would look like if this happened. Do I dare risk having to go through that again in order to have the chance of reaching just one person and helping them live a life they never thought was possible? The answer was a resounding–yes.


I thought if I had to go back to the mental hospital, I would have lost all the progress I ever made. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is not like a board game where you have to go back to start. I have so many tools to help me now. And my mind management is better than it has been in my entire life.


When I recognized I was no longer afraid of my disorder, I was finally free from the hold it had on me and the limitations I was putting on myself. I am not sure where this journey will take me, but I am excited about the possibilities that lay before me. I don’t know whether I will succeed or not, but at least I am giving myself a chance.


I’m not saying I am no longer scared. That is practically my life these days as I am doing things I have never done before. While I am afraid, I am also excited to do these things that will evolve me; that will move me forward. I can’t control what happens in my life, but I can control how I react to it. I have trust in myself and I’m confident that I can handle whatever comes my way.


Do you see this potentially showing up anywhere in your life? We often hear people talk about a fear of failure. A fear of success is just as real but can be misinterpreted as procrastination or perfectionism. Without recognizing it, this fear can get in your way of achieving what you want. Is there something in your life that you really want but afraid to go after? If there is, ask yourself “what am I really afraid of here?” Identifying your specific fear in any situation is useful so you can manage it and overcome it. If there is something you really want, what are you waiting for?


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