I feel like a kid who’s been complaining about how stupid and annoying it is to have training wheels on his bike. But when the training wheels are finally taken off…
OK. You called my bluff, you got me.
I desperately want them back on again.
Fear of Success
Is there a stupider fear?
I’ve been working in traditional jobs my whole life, clocking in and clocking out. Campus bookstore, Pottery Barn, editor, phone sales, university administrator, whatever. All part-time or full-time, all (mostly) annoying bosses, all paychecks on Fridays.
I’m in the process of starting my own career coaching business. I quit my full-time job last month, so my wife and I can travel the world as I work on developing my business.
I used to complain about my job a lot. My boss sucked. My commute sucked. The food sucked. People in the office were getting paid more than me. Health insurance was too expensive.
But now that I’m actually creating a life where I’ll be getting paid far more than I’ve ever made as a coach to people to help them change their lives…it’s really scary.
What happens if I actually succeed??
What if I stumble upon this great idea that resonates with thousands of people? What if I blow up and get thousands of subscribers, a waiting list for my coaching services, a book on the New York Times Bestselling list? The ability to choose not to work for months on end?
I’m scared. I’m really scared of that.
I’m so used to complaining about work, being stuck in the same traditional rut everyone else is. I mean, what would I do during the day when I have enough money that I don’t need to work? Read books? Write more articles? Model trains?
I don’t know anyone personally who’s done this — made a living from a business they just made up. Sure, I follow all the right bloggers and entrepreneurs like Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, and Pat Flynn.
But I’m not “friends” with them! I just read their articles and do what they say!
What am I going to tell my friends? What happens when I make enough money I don’t need to work for months because I could live off my profits from a book sale or coaching course?
How can I explain my life when they’re toiling away just to make ends meet and pay off the minimum of their student loan payments and cherish every day they get to leave work a couple hours early?? Will I stop being able to relate with them? Will I be lonely? Can I even handle the money and business and responsibility required of me?
Honestly, I’m fucking terrified.
Everything Was Decided For Me
At my old jobs, nothing was up to me. I just drove to work, did the minimum I needed to do, and got paid. All my insurance was covered. I was just one of the many people in the world with a job they didn’t like. I could complain about all the same things, have the same routines after work, and never need to think ahead.
Sure, I was in the middle of the pack.
But the middle of the path is safe.
Lions and hyenas only attack those on the outskirts.
I got used to that life. People who started their own businesses and made enough to not do what we did were douchebags, or at the very least, they were aliens. People who struck gold and “made it” before they reached 30 were a whole different class of people. They were celebrities, whose lives served as a story to share with people as if they were from a different planet.
Remember that guy in The Matrix? He found out that Earth wasn’t real, that reality was simply an illusion put on by terrifying robot-octopus-murder-bots. But even though he knew the truth…he decided he wanted to go back to the illusion. He opted to have his memory erased so he could go back to the same life everyone else was living.
Will I be that guy?
The Point of No Return
Once I know I can live an extraordinary life owning my own business, I’ll never be able to accept “ordinary” again.
Right now, I’m coaching a client who just moved to Australia. She’s looking for a job, and I’m helping her develop a network and make connections to industries she’s interested in, to land a job offer.
What if she actually gets a job??
That means I’ll know I can do this. I will be forever burdened with the knowledge that yes — I can do this. I can make a lot of money helping people change their lives by getting a career they love.
There’s no question. I can do this.
And that means I can never go back.
How could I ever go back to pushing pencils, mindless Excel sheet reviews, and attending useless meetings with snobby, passive-aggressive people at a job I don’t like?
I couldn’t. Once I know I can succeed in my own business, I can’t ever go back to the safe, easy waiting room of “maybe.” I’ll have passed the point of no return. It wouldn’t be theory anymore. It would be irrefutable fact.
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