Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Article Summary:

Do you have a fear of success? A fear of failure? Are you sabotaging your own success, your own future?

Fear of Success? Fear of Failure?

In speaking with one of my in-laws recently, he told me where he was in putting together an information product he intends to sell on the web. It’s a great product that will fill a niche of a target market with money (very important), and it will, indeed, probably make him a lot of money.

If he ever stops talking about it and actually does something, that it.

He first mentioned the idea to me back in 1998. I won’t say what it is, but I immediately liked the idea and told him as much at the time.

The problem? It involved writing. As in seat-in-chair, pen-to-paper kind of action. It would take a couple of days to churn out and probably be about 20-30 pages, tops. But once it was done, it would be done. He could then sell it over and over again.

Putting those words on paper turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle of the Mount Everest variety. It never happened. He simply would not sit and write. Since it was his idea and his business, I kept my mouth shut … for a while.

After I read "Make Your Knowledge Sell!" last year, I suggested that the process might be much better demonstrated on a video tape instead of written out on paper. He immediately warmed to idea, and started putting the wheels in motion to put the thing together. He found the cameraman, the tape duplicator, the web site designer, everything. He was ready to roll.

That was this time last year.

Is the product on the market? No.

Has the first frame even been shot? Nope.

Is he making money? Of course not.


Because, like so many people, he got stuck on the starting line. You know the type. They get everything down on paper, they’ve researched names, places, cost, and feasibility. The ka-ching, ka-ching of the cash register is faintly playing in their heads. But some unnamed thing keeps them from taking the final step to bring their dreams to fruition. An invisible obstacle, too large to overcome.

What could it be?

Fear of success? Fear of failure? Both?

It’s hard to define, but I understand it. In fact, I have suffered from this plight many times. If something comes together "too easily", I’m not thankful … I’m suspicious. "What am I missing?" I wonder. "What have I overlooked?"

In our house, it’s called "the curse of the procrastinating perfectionist." It’s basically a pre-disposition-genetic, no doubt – that has you putting off what needs to be done until you absolutely HAVE to do it. And then expecting the end result to be nothing short of perfection.

If there’s a deadline, it will get done. If there’s not, it won’t.

Now I must confess that I never really gave the matter much thought growing up, as this was standard operating procedure in our house. Have company coming at noon? Start cleaning the house at 10:30. Have a dance recital Friday night? Start pressing the costumes just hours before the show. Have a term paper due Monday morning that you’ve known about for six weeks? What’s the rush? Start Sunday at 9 pm.

It wasn’t until I got married and moved away from home that it became obvious that there were other ways of doing things. Not everyone rushed, breathlessly, to the finish line. Some people got things done way ahead of time. Others didn’t do them at all. Still others would charge forward with great enthusiasm, then go back later to pick up the missing pieces-or not.

So what does all of this have to do with making money?

Because how we approach routine tasks in life is pretty much how we approach our work or business enterprise. And for many, it can mean the very difference between success and failure.

Take a few minutes to review your own behavior patterns. Do you like to leap before you look? Jump in when it’s fun, jump out when it’s not? Roll with the punches-or obsess over every detail?

Whatever your situation, you’re not alone.

In her book, "Personality Plus", author Florence Littauer details the four major personality types that people possess. Each succeeds in business in a different way, just as each fails for specific reasons.

The Choleric knows it all. "There are two ways to do anything; my way, and the wrong way." He’s quick to act and judge, but slow to accept blame for bad decisions. (On Your Mark, Go!)

The Sanguine looks for the fun. "Is it boring here, or does any one else want to PARTY?!" Because of her infectious enthusiasm, she can rally support for any cause. But if things get dull, it’s "sayonara" Sanguine. (Get Set, Go!)

The Melancholy is a perfectionist. "Now let’s not rush to any conclusions until we have all the details." If you need a clever, detailed strategy, ask a Melancholy. Just don’t expect him to act on anything until he has all the facts. (On Your Mark, Get Set, Get Set, Get Set…)

The Phlegmatic is easy going and does things at her own pace. "Whatever. I’m easy." Slow to anger and slow to judge, the Phlegmatic is also slow to get excited because basically, she hates change. If you want her to do something, you have to give her a good, sound reason. (On Your Mark…You Know, On Second Thought…)

Florence does a much better job at explaining these than me (she’s also a Sanguine, which makes for an entertaining, memorable read), but I think you get the point. Once you understand what "makes you tick," you can pinpoint those behaviors that are causing you to sabotage your own success, whether you realize it or not.

It’s one thing to possess unproductive personality traits when you have a boss, a job description, deadlines, and a regular paycheck; it’s something else again when you don’t have any of those things. Like the dieter who sneaks chocolate when she thinks no one is looking, you can always consciously decide NOT to do what’s required to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams. Recognizing the negative patterns and nipping them in the bud could be the key to overcoming them and turning frustration into triumph.

So are you sabotaging your own success? Here are some clues that you might be:

1. Jumping into a project or enterprise before fully understanding what you need to do.

2. Undertaking a task that you know you’ll probably abandon as soon as something more interesting comes along.

3. Allowing yourself to get so sidetracked by details that you lose track of your objective.

4. Put off getting started indefinitely because things are really just fine the way they are.

If you see yourself in any of these, you’re probably sabotaging your success.

Analyze the situation for a moment. Peel back the layers to determine just what it is that’s keeping you from your goals. Are you afraid of change? Do you lack self-confidence? Are you afraid what people might say? Own up to it, whatever it is, and work through it so you can move forward.

Success isn’t some unattainable, elusive thing. It’s there for the taking. All you have to do it take the necessary, appropriate steps.

Because once you do and get on with your life, you’ll kick yourself for not getting started sooner.

Good Luck!

Diana Pemberton-Sikes has been helping entrepreneurs turn their EXISTING knowledge, skills, and interests into cash since 1999. To learn how you can turn your “passions into profits”, visit her online and subscribe to her FREE ezine at niftybusinessideas.com. Diana is also and author of “Wardrobe Magic,” an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. For more information, visit her website, Fashion For Real Women.com.

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