“After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.”
- Italian Proverb
This week I came face to face with a fear that most people have: the fear of failure. I wasn’t even aware I had this fear until I had a rather upsetting idea. This idea may not seem like much to the outside world, but to me it felt impossible. The challenge was… to part with my childhood collection of Jem & the Holograms dolls.
When I first thought of this, I laughed out loud. There was no way I was giving up these dolls – my most prized possessions. But in that moment, I knew I had no choice but to part with them, because I felt a deep need to dissolve the limiting beliefs were causing me to cling so tightly to them in desperation.
As I pulled the dolls out of the back corner of my closet, I had a pretty strong emotional reaction. I sat on the floor and cried for a while, then tried to figure out what was making me so upset. What I realized in that moment was that I was terrified to fail.
I hadn’t realized all these years that my dolls represented my childhood dream of becoming a “rock star”. To let go of my dolls, meant to let go of my dream, which would make me feel like a stupendous failure. How could I ever feel successful with this unrealized dream in my heart? As a result of this, I began to examine my beliefs about success. What if my conditioned beliefs about success are all wrong? What is success, anyway?
I found the answer at my weekly Toastmasters meeting. One of my favorite Toastmasters friends stood up to give his 9th speech, with the goal of inspiring his audience (mission accomplished). This brave man shared the personal story of his abusive childhood, an experience that left him emotionally scarred and traumatized. As a result he lived many years immersed in painful shyness, with a debilitating inferiority complex. Eventually he decided to overcome his suffering by facing his fears, and changing his mind. He joined Toastmasters, and started volunteering at the local shelter for abused women. It was obvious, just by the fact that this man was courageous enough to give a speech (let alone such a personal one), that he had overcome great obstacles on an inner level. At the conclusion of his speech, my friend was given a standing ovation, and I knew I had just had the honor of witnessing true success.
Genuine success comes from within. Success is having the courage to admit to all your deepest fears and face them. Success is taking the time to dissolve old negative beliefs and thought patterns that aren’t serving you, and replace them with the truth. Success is having the audacity to ignore all influence from the outside world and stand up for what’s true for you. The highest measure of success is a measurement of your shift in consciousness.
The beautiful thing about transforming yourself from the inside out is that in time, your external life will begin to mirror the changes that have occurred in your mind. Success, just like everything else, is a vibration of energy. When you begin to feel successful on the inside, the outside conditions of your life will reflect your feelings back to you. To create a success vibration, begin by facing any fear of failure and then simply start recognizing yourself as successful. You do this by focusing on any accomplishments that make you feel successful, no matter how big or small.
Did I manage to part with my dolls? Yes. I gave them to a stranger I met earlier that day while waiting in line at the post office, who I found out was an avid eBayer.
When I went to bed that night I was pleased to discover that I felt very successful. Just like my Toastmaster friend, I too have made it a priority to face my fears and change my mind. The events of the day had liberated me from a desperate need to “get there” in my external reality. And I was reminded that just like life, success is a “journey, not a destination.”