I’ve been working on a post for this month’s CustomerLove challenge. I knew that I wanted to write about a number of surprising reasons we hide from our customers, but (as these things have a habit of doing), it quickly got away from me.
I realized that I had more to say about each of the ‘reasons’ than I could fit into a single post. So, rather than limit myself to that single post, I decided to take the opportunity to write a series of posts instead!
This is the first in a series of 5, in which I’ll be looking (in depth) at the most common (and surprising!) reasons you aren’t doing as well in your business as you would like.
Part 1: Fear of Success
I know I’m not the first to mention fear of success as a block to actually achieving success. But what’s surprising is that ‘fear of success’ doesn’t seem to be about success!
I mean, it is… but it also isn’t.
Let me explain; the thing about ‘success’ is that it’s really just an abstract concept. It isn’t something concrete, like jello.
You can know, without a shadow of a doubt, whether or not you have jello. You can ask someone else about jello, and they’ll likely describe it with many of the same words as most other people would; wriggly, translucent, you always have room for more, etc.
But success? It’s amorphous, vague… everyone will describe it differently, and they’ll likely use other vague terms to do so. Also, we tend to not spend much time thinking about the definition of success; we act as though it’s like jello, and we’ll just know it when we have it.
So why are we so afraid of it? After all, it’s what we all strive for, right? Here’s the thing; if you’re afraid of ‘success’, it’s because you’ve attached a definition that isn’t suited to you.
You aren’t actually afraid of ‘success’
(You’re afraid of your definition of it!)
There is a part of you that is thoroughly convinced that in order to be successful, you’ll have to completely change who you are. Maybe you think of power-hungry, villainous cretins in horribly expensive suits, or a workaholic who never has time for friends and family.
Or maybe you think of someone who totally has all their shit together, always has the answers, and never ever doubts who they are and what they’re doing. And as much as you would love to be that person, you feel so far from it that you can’t hardly imagine ever being that person.
The bad news;
You’ll sabotage yourself for as long as you maintain this definition of ‘success’.
If you associate a slew of negative traits with people who are successful, your inner self will never allow it to happen. You don’t want to be cut-throat, you hate networking, and the idea of using sleazy used-car-salesman tactics makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry.
If you envision a near-god, perfect on their ivory pedestal, you’ll always feel unworthy. (hint: nobody is that perfect!)
The good news;
You get to define what success means (to you!)
If being a power-hungry cretin in an overpriced suit would make you miserable, guess what? That isn’t success.
If working 30 hours a day would make you want to slit your wrists, guess what? That’s right, also not success.
If the thought of changing the world, or even the life of a single individual, makes you want to break out in song? That is success.
If knowing that you’ll always have time for your kids makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, guess what? Yes my dear That is also success.
That is your definition of success. And unlike most of the words in the dictionary, this one is entirely up to you to define.
The even better news;
Defining success makes you bloody irresistable!
There’s an unexpected upside to creating your own definition of success; when you know what you’re working for, you create an inner motivation that can inspire you like nothing else… and you can use that inspiration to inspire your customers!
Share your inspiration with your customers, let them see what it is you’re working towards. Let them know that you want them to be a part of your success; instead of having to ‘market’ to your customers, you can share your enthusiasm. Invite them to share their definitions of success, and ask how you can help them achieve it.
You might be surprised at how irresistible you become, once you claim your own idea of success!
So tell me dear, how do you want to define success?
Think about what would make you feel successful (hint: switch ‘successful’ with ‘happy’ if success still feels awkward); is it about having time with your family and friends? Maybe having the power to positively impact the world would feel like success. Perhaps it’s as simple as having control over how you spend your time.
Whatever it is, know what success means to you… and use it to inspire both yourself, and your customers!