What’s stopping you from achieving success? What’s keeping you from moving further with your dreams?
Many times I’ve experienced walking into meetings and conferences to discover the front row completely empty. For many, there is a natural tendency to squeeze ourselves in the middle or back row. As the speaker starts asking questions created to challenge those in the audience, often the majority will have a thought of an answer, yet remain silent.
Why do we fear standing up and shining? Why do we shrink behind the spotlight? Why do we hide our greatness?
Hiding is essentially a form of protection, as a cat hides when it is being pursued by a dog, and so on. So when we hide, does that mean we are protecting ourselves from our own greatness? Why is that so?
1. We’re afraid to fail.
Many people hide from greatness simply because they are afraid they might fail. They are afraid to rise up because they believe they will fall. And some are afraid of the thought, "what if I succeed?" because their vision is so different from the life the currently live.
2. We’re afraid of criticisms.
Standing out from the crowd makes us feel vulnerable to the world, where people can openly mock us, call us stupid for doing something different. Often, this is just something we tell ourselves, more commonly, people will be supportive if you allow yourself to be vulnerable!
3. We’re afraid people might not accept us.
It’s so much easier to please other people, isn’t it? We don’t want to be alienated from the rest of the world. We want to be able to share that common belief with other people and nurture these connections. This one can be difficult, occasionally, when you have a huge vision, people don't understand, and it can result in misunderstanding. It becomes extremely important to surround yourself with others who have huge visions, as these are the people that support your big dreams!
4. We’re just too comfortable in the shadows.
It’s ok to be contented with what you have. But this shouldn’t hurt your sense of ambition. Comfortable doesn't always make for a better life. Something my mentor mentioned recently is people don't have the patience to spend two years building a business and create their freedom, they would rather be comfortable in a job for the next 40 years. How's that for comfort?
5. We’re afraid of the person we can become.
When someone tells you “You have the potential,” we become a little bit intimidated. There’s a really great amount of pressure that comes with it. It can be scary to have a huge transformation in front of you. It can be much easier to ignore the opportunity in front of us, and instead live comfortably. But from my experience, once you hear your calling, it probably won't leave you alone. It will keep pestering you to make a move, and what's the worst that can happen if you pursue your insane ambition?
Instead of claiming and owning our greatness, we hide from it. We are afraid of living up to our potential. We are afraid to stand out, afraid to do the unexpected, afraid to break the mould. We don’t dare to dream. We think we are much too small to be capable of making great achievements. So we dig a hole in the ground and bury our true selves, blending in the ordinary.
But what happens after we’ve settled in the unexceptional life? We become bored, frustrated, hopeless. Life becomes full of could-have-been’s and what-ifs. As you hold yourself back, you shrink in a smaller, average state.
I’ve come across different clients with fear of stepping into the spotlight because they don’t believe in themselves. I find it surprising because these people are very talented, knowledgeable and relatively confident about themselves, and yet they find it difficult to show off their skills to the world, build a successful business around it and then demand what they’re worth.
Pretending you’re not great, when in fact, you are, is a disservice to yourself and your purpose! Hiding your greatness means you are hiding your gifts from the world, and this means those who’ll benefit from your amazing talent will miss out.
Our greatness is not meant to be lost in a sea of mediocrity. Believe in yourself, believe that you are meant to achieve great things! Think big. Move outside of your comfort zone. Step into the spotlight. Whatever you do, whether you’re a writer, a farmer, a chef, an accountant, a mum, know that your life is a valuable piece of work meant to be shared to the world.
I’m inviting you to step out of the shadows and show off your greatness. What is one thing you can do to help make the world a better place? Please don’t be shy. Share it in the comments below!
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