When I was in my 30s I was featured in an ad campaign for Lifetime television. My face was displayed all across the United States on billboards and in newspapers, TV Guide, and other publications. Sounds exciting, huh!
I remember going to visit my billboard ad for the first time late in the afternoon in New York City on the corner of Sixth Avenue and I believe 18th St. As I approached it I was both excited and feeling a lot of chaos at the same time. As I looked up to see my image on the billboard, I felt as though I was going to pass out. My knees felt wobbly and weak.
This certainly sounds like a strange reaction to something so fun and exciting as having your image up on a billboard, right? In hindsight it’s clear my nervous system started to close down on me because being my authentic self and shining was downright terrifying for me as a young woman. Can you relate?
Most people think that they are dealing with a fear of failure, but oftentimes the fear of failure is masking something much deeper: a fear of success.
Many people who have worked with me over the last 18 years had no idea they had a fear of success until they were introduced to the concepts and processes I teach. Stepping into one’s own power can feel very unsettling and unnerving for those of us who grew up in a chaotic household where our families did not feel comfortable shining themselves, nor doing what they loved. Many of us were given very mixed messages when we were young around power, being seen, and being heard.
One insight I often refer to in my work is this enlightening statement from the late, great Carl Jung: “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.”
When my mother was growing up her family system included definitive roles for each child. My mother was seen as “the smart one,” whereas my Aunt Jeanne was seen as “the pretty one.” In actuality my mother was also pretty and my aunt was smart, but they weren’t seen as so by their family for the most part.
Unfortunately, what this created for my mother was envy around beauty in other women. Therefore while I was growing up, the concept of being physically beautiful was threatening. Of course I was unconscious of it at the time, but I had to shy away from my own beauty in order to not upset my mother. I would unconsciously project this onto other women.
It’s interesting because as a young actress/print model in New York City I would sometimes connect to friendships where the females would then envy my success. Does this sound or feel familiar?
While my visibility wounds have since healed, it brings me great joy to help others step into their own authenticity and power. If my story resonates and you feel ready to address similar fears, I’d be happy to gently guide you with profound practices that have transformed the lives of myself and so many clients.
May nothing hold us back, may we all have the courage to shine and be seen. 🙌