We’re always told to face our fears. Of course, it’s easier said than done. When we are unable to face our fears does that make us a coward? The last thing we want is for our families, friends, or even strangers to think poorly of us. After all, we have our reputation to protect, right?
It’s important to remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but is when we act in spite of that fear. Fear can be a good thing as it can prevent us from experiencing harm. Fear becomes a problem when it prevents us from moving forward in our lives.
I think we have all experienced fear of failure. Fear of failure can occur anywhere in our daily lives from participating on athletic fields to asking that special someone on a date. However, on the other end of the spectrum, I wonder if we also suffer from a fear of success?
Facing your fears should include both the fear of failure and the fear of success.
It’s easy to ignore the fear of success because, of course, we want to be successful. Success is built into everyone’s American dream, but on some level could we be afraid of achieving our dreams? I’ve been thinking about this in my own life recently.
As many of you know, my office was severely damaged when a truck crashed into the building in 2022. The renovations took almost a year to complete and I’ve had access to my office since March. I’ve had people check on it, drop things off, and bring things I needed, but I haven’t been in the office.
I have been working from home, but what is keeping me from going to the office? Sure, we had the pandemic. The flu and COVID continue to be risks to my health. Yes, they are both treatable now, but any illness for me is a great stress on my family, especially on my mom.
Our family has endured a rough couple of years with my dad’s Parkinson’s diagnosis. Not to mention we had to find a facility capable of providing the level of care he needed while giving him the best possible quality of life. Mom and I are adjusting to our new lifestyle, but I know me spending time in a hospital is the last thing we need.
I must stay healthy in order to take care of my family and my clients. Of course, that doesn’t mean I cannot go to my office. I just have to be smart about the extra risks in life. That’s no different from how I’ve always lived, so what’s the hold up?
Maybe I am experiencing the fear of success?
The Bible says for everything there is a season (See Ecclesiastes 3). It’s no secret that my journey to becoming a financial planner was long and, sometimes, disheartening. I waited patiently (I tried to be patient anyway) for my financial planning season to begin.
I truly love the job and plan to stay in the business for many years. However, I do feel as if I’m at another crossroad in my journey. For me, financial planning is not about making money. It is a God given calling to help people gain some level of independence and peace in their lives.
This calling is my mission and my purpose, so faith and prayers always factor in my business decisions. After all, if I can help people reduce the time they spend on stress and worry, then that may allow them more time to learn about and follow Jesus Christ. That’s what discipleship is all about, right?
When trying to figure out my current situation I came up with a very important question: is my delay in returning to the office God’s protection or is the devil creating obstacles in order to prevent me from completing my mission?
I think it is the latter because I truly believe I’m close to reaching my vision of a successful practice. Most people know that I dream big and I have lofty goals that need to be met. These are not ones measured with money. They are measured by how much positive impact we have in the world.
I don’t think the devil wants me to reach that point. Sorry, Satan, but I’m not hiding behind the fear of success any longer. I will complete my mission and bring as many people possible to Jesus in the process. I’m going back to the office!
Farmers are a great example of overcoming the fear of failure, but I think they conquer the fear of success as well.
Someone once said to see an example of faith, look at the farmer. Farmers plant their seeds faithfully knowing they will grow into a crop that can be sold. There are many things that could go wrong during the growing season, but the farmer plants the seeds anyway. That is how a farmer overcomes the fear of failure.
Now, let’s see how farmers overcome the fear of success. Let’s say the farmer has enough seed grain to provide for the rest of his family’s life. He could put the grain in storage, using it as needed for the family, then live the rest of his life. Fortunately, I’ve yet to meet a farmer who would settle for that.
The farmers I know want to build a good life for their family while feeding the world. Farmers take the risk of planting the seeds with the belief that a successful crop can provide a better life. A successful farmer is a faithful farmer and a great example for the investor.
We invest our money in the same way. If we treat our dollars like the farmer treats their seeds, then we are faced with a similar question. Do we consume all of our money and live an okay life or do we invest some with the hope of a more comfortable life?
Of course, there will always be expenses on which we can spend our money. It is certainly easy to spend all of our income each month. Your friendly neighborhood financial planner can help you by keeping you focused on our long term goals.
Investing is an important step in the pursuit of our goals. Unfortunately, the narrative around investing has become negative. Investors are portrayed as greedy people with no concern for their fellow man. I completely disagree. I wouldn’t be in the industry if I thought that were true.
Investing is about creating opportunity.
It’s easy to see why many people have a negative view of investing because only the bad stories make the news. To get ahead in this world we must look past the negative and see the positive.
I think we all know that invested money has the opportunity to grow our personal wealth. Our investments also provide money that companies use to create jobs, products, and services. All of this can be for the benefit of our fellow human beings. That sounds pretty positive to me!
Yes, there are risks of loss in investing. Fear of that loss is similar to fear of failure. While the fear is real, we should not succumb to that fear so often that we never try.
Fortunately, we have tools that help mitigate the risk of loss in investing. Remember, we’re in this together. There are many professionals, like me, who want nothing more than to help you be a successful investor.
What if, on some level, we are using the fear of failure to hide that we are afraid of success?
The only time we truly fail is when we fail to try. It’s easy to see how we can settle in our current comfort level. After all, even a “poor American” experiences many more blessings than so much of the world’s population.
I’m a big fan of Ben Franklin and he said:
“Anyone can complain, and they should have the right to, but if you want to see change you must act. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t complain about things, change things.”
We live in a land with far more blessings than the founding fathers could ever imagine, but we often focus on the negative. Isn’t interesting how quick we are to complain, but how slow we are to show appreciation? Maybe we think we’re bragging to our friends by talking about our daily blessings?
I know life is hard and we all face our challenges, but focusing on them doesn’t help. I believe small sacrifices today can lead to a better tomorrow. Gadgets quit working, jewelry loses its shine, toys become forgotten, but independence and peace of mind will always hold their value.
No, there are no guarantees. Maybe we are already doing the best we can ever do, but we shouldn’t be afraid of trying for a better life. We most definitely cannot fear a higher level of success. Are you ready to face your fears? Email me!