Indie Author Weekly

084: Getting over the fear of success

November 03, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 85
Indie Author Weekly
084: Getting over the fear of success
Chapters
Indie Author Weekly
084: Getting over the fear of success
Nov 03, 2020 Episode 85
Sagan Morrow

Do you have a fear of success? What about a fear of failure? Is fear in general holding you back from writing your book? We address all of that and more in this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast! 

Today, we're responding to a listener comment about the fear of success... "When it comes to getting my writing out there, I’m more scared of success than failure."  

If that's you, too, please know that you are not alone! Fear of success is super common—but there are strategies to overcome it. We also address another listener comment in today's episode: "If I wrote as honestly as I fantasize being able to do, I would be afraid of success, too. I’ve thought about writing under a penname. My concern is about being 100% about my thoughts and experiences, and what people would think. I only want to write with brutal honesty or not at all."  

In this combination encouraging pep talk and practical strategies podcast episode, we'll get past your fear of failure, once and for all, so you can finally realize your dreams of becoming an author. TUNE IN to this episode to get that now...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Do you have a fear of success? What about a fear of failure? Is fear in general holding you back from writing your book? We address all of that and more in this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast! 

Today, we're responding to a listener comment about the fear of success... "When it comes to getting my writing out there, I’m more scared of success than failure."  

If that's you, too, please know that you are not alone! Fear of success is super common—but there are strategies to overcome it. We also address another listener comment in today's episode: "If I wrote as honestly as I fantasize being able to do, I would be afraid of success, too. I’ve thought about writing under a penname. My concern is about being 100% about my thoughts and experiences, and what people would think. I only want to write with brutal honesty or not at all."  

In this combination encouraging pep talk and practical strategies podcast episode, we'll get past your fear of failure, once and for all, so you can finally realize your dreams of becoming an author. TUNE IN to this episode to get that now...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing books, such as my Polyamorous Passions romantic comedy series. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Get podcast and book updates delivered directly to your inbox at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. In this episode, I want to share a listener comment and give you some advice for dealing with it. 

Leann says, “When it comes to getting my writing out there, I’m more scared of success than failure.”

This is such a common fear, so thank you for bringing this up, Leann! 

This comment about the fear of success actually reminded me of something that a client in my signature program, Productivity Powerhouse, told me about. This particular client didn’t even realize that she’d been self-sabotaging herself and that she even had a fear of success until she joined Productivity Powerhouse—that program helps you dive really deep to uncover all kinds of things about your personal and professional life, so it helped her figure this out.

Anyway, she realized that she’d been holding herself back as a business owner due to her fear of success. And when she started prioritizing goals and scheduling tasks (which is an important part of what Productivity Powerhouse teaches you to do), it occurred to her that no single, individual task was going to suddenly make or break everything. Right? All of those little tasks add up and they’re important to making progress, but doing one small task isn’t going to magically skyrocket you to success. 

When you look at it that way, it takes the pressure off, and helps relieve some of the fear of success—or fear of failure, too. Figuring this out was pivotal for that Productivity Powerhouse client of mine to stop letting the fear of success hold her back.

The way she described it to me was this: “I’m not going to fail with one more blog post, and I’m not going to succeed with one more blog post… so what’s one more blog post?” 

Yes! I love that. For her, a large part of her business involved blogging, and she’d been procrastinating with actually publishing blog posts due to her fear of success. So this shift in mentality, this reframe, made a difference for her so she could get past that issue.

You can 100% apply this same concept to writing a book. When you break down the giant project of *writing a book* into smaller, more manageable tasks and action steps, it’s not quite so scary. If you write another paragraph, another page, another chapter, that’s not going to make or break you. When you look at it that way, there’s not much to be afraid of, right? Framing it in this way can, at the very least, help you to finish writing your book. 

Speaking of which, if you need help with fitting your book into your schedule, then refer back to Episode 83 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast for a step-by-step guide. And if you want more help with how to finish writing your book, tune into Episode 81 of this podcast for 3 tips to make it happen.

But what about after you finish your book? Maybe at that point, you still struggle with a fear of success. 

In that case, I encourage you to dig deeper. Get at the root of exactly what you’re scared about with regard to succeeding. What specifically about the idea of success are you so afraid of? 

For example, are you afraid of what people will think, are you afraid that being successful will “change” you, are you afraid of how it will affect your relationships, are you afraid of change in general, and so on.

The idea here is that we’re getting at the core of what assumptions you are making about success. What preconceived notions do you have about what success means? What do you associate with success?  

From there, you might need to keep going down the rabbit hole—if you’re afraid of change, then what is it about the idea of change that scares you so much, for example. Why exactly is that thing such a problem for you? Is it a legitimate assumption or connection that you’ve made between the ideas, for example?

The next step is to dig into *why* you’re afraid of that particular aspect, and then you’ll be able to explore how to take real action on it. Once we know the root issue, we can tackle it and finally get past the fear of success so that it stops holding you back from being the badass writer that you are.

I explain this entire process more in-depth inside Productivity Powerhouse, so you should definitely join that program if you want a step-by-step process for applying this to your own experience. Get on board at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse (I’ll pop the link in the show notes).

Now, when I addressed this topic of getting past the fear of success on Instagram Stories, another friend and business owner messaged me privately and said, “If I wrote as honestly as I fantasize being able to do, I would be afraid of success, too. I’ve thought about writing under a penname. My concern is about being 100% about my thoughts and experiences, and what people would think. I only want to write with brutal honesty or not at all.”

This is a really great point, so if you, listening to this episode right now, also have this fear, then let’s address it. 

But first, quick sidebar—I talked about some thoughts around whether or not to use a penname waaaay back in Episode 7 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast, so please feel free to tune into that episode if you want more on that. Using a penname can certainly be a good compromise if this is a fear of yours.

Okay. Yes, it’s scary as hell to write with our honest voice. At the same time, I also tend to think that THAT is often what we—and our readers—need the most. If something feels so intensely scary and vulnerable, then maybe that’s a sign that it’s exactly what we DO need to share. 

Basically, if you’re afraid to write something because it feels too raw and honest and vulnerable, then that is the exact thing you should be writing. That’s a fantastic indicator that you need to speak your truth. 

And you know what? I get it. I wrote and published my first romance novel, which is also the first book in my Polyamorous Passions series, before I came out publicly as polyamorous. That was intensely scary. I had no idea how people would respond to it, and I’d already come out to a couple loved ones who had negative reactions about me being polyamorous, so I knew there was a potential that my doing this would totally blow up in my face.

But I felt a very deep-seated need to write about polyamory. It was terrifying, and I could feel in my gut that it was the right thing for me to do. And you know what happened? Some readers started approaching me to tell me that my books helped them realize they identify as polyamorous, too, and that they were opening their relationships with their own spouses.

By me taking the leap to get past the fear and write my truth, it paved the way to help readers embrace the truth within themselves, too. 

That is the power of storytelling! That is the power that our writing and our words can have. 

And when you look at it that way, it’s almost our responsibility to put ourselves out there, to help other people figure things like this out for themselves. If you have radical ideas or values that you’re afraid some people won’t mesh with, that means there are probably people out there who are desperate to hear the important things you’re thinking and feeling. 

Let’s say your problem isn’t about the values or ideas that you want to share, though. Perhaps you are an aspiring erotica author and you feel uncomfortable writing about sex, because you have a fear around what people will think about your sexual preferences, for example. 

If that’s the case, the power of storytelling and writing still applies. Because you’re probably not alone in your preferences, and someone out there is probably dying to read your sexy scenes. 

At a certain point, you have to make the decision: for example, is it worth it to you to lose friends who will be uncomfortable by your writing? Is it worth it to you to not write, for the sake of the possibility that you might lose friends? 

And if you passively wait around, humming and hawing, then you know what? That’s still you making a decision. You are making the decision to not write. 

I encourage you to be an active participant in the decision-making process. When we experience fears, the only thing we can really do is figure out how to overcome them and keep moving forward. I don’t want you to let your fear get in the way of your deepest desires and your big dreams of becoming an author. 

And again, I get it. I really get it. Not only did I become a polyamorous romance author, but the year before that, I came out to my spouse as polyamorous. We had been together for 7 or 8 years by that point. It was a huge risk, and actually quite possibly the scariest moment of my life, to tell him that I wanted to change the parameters of our relationship. 

But I did it because I weighed the pros and cons ahead of time: I realized that it wasn’t fair of me to hide from him the fact that I wanted this. It wasn’t fair of me to assume that he would be disgusted or horrified by it. It wasn’t fair of me to be silent, and to take the choice away from him—it wasn’t fair of me to continue our monogamous relationship when I wanted something different. It wasn’t fair of me to make assumptions about what would happen when I came out to him.

I think that when we are addressing fears, this is a very important thing to keep in mind: what is right, and what is fair, and what your responsibility is. To others, and to yourself. 

And, as you can probably guess if you haven’t heard me talk about it already, that experience worked out fantastic. My spouse and I were very happy with our monogamous relationship, and we are just as happy together with our polyamorous relationship. 

It was worth it to overcome that fear.

So regardless of what your fears are—whether they’re of success or failure or something else altogether—it’s time that you took action on them. Address your fears for what they are. Dive deep to get at the root of what you’re so afraid of. Explore ways to take action on those issues. 

And remember that if you don’t do this, if you don’t take action on your fear… then you are letting it win. You are taking the easy way out. And I know that you are so much braver and more capable than that. I believe in you—it’s time for you to do the same! Show that fear who’s boss and become a success anyway.

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it, or to let me know if you have requests for future episode topics. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and subscribe and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support.

Want to stay in touch? Yeah you do! Get podcast and book updates delivered directly to your inbox, plus unlock awesome bonuses such as free chapters of my books, at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.