Fear of Success

 



Window perspective, Photoshopped, originally uploaded by ergozoom.

 

I had a dream the other night. In my dream, I was in a busy atmosphere, in a creative location. I don’t know what place it was, but I remember feeling confident, and guiding others in a group project. I had a clear sense of what I needed to do.

At one point in the dream, my task led me to a winding staircase. I began climbing the stairs, without thinking twice—I just knew it was what I was supposed to do. Still feeling that sense of quiet confidence, I continued upward, higher and higher.

The higher I went, the narrower the stairwell became; until suddenly, I rounded a curve and found myself facing a wall. To my horror, the wall began closing in on me. In my dream, I realized that this was due to the machinations of the place—like the gears in a clock tower, the area was supposed to move and change. But now it was going to crush me, and because I was up so high and the stairwell was so narrow, I couldn’t move to escape! Panicked thoughts raced through my brain. I had felt so sure I was on the right path—was I wrong? Had I made a mistake? Would it be the end of me?

Just when I was certain it was all over for me, the wall stopped moving. It took me a moment to realize that I was safe. When I looked at the wall, I realized that it wasn’t as close as I had thought it was. Yes, I was in a tight spot—I could barely move. But something told me the wall was supposed to move, and it wasn’t going to crush me.

I awoke and went about my day. The image of the tight staircase and moving wall was so vivid that it clung to my thoughts, and bothered me. But soon the image clicked, and I realized something.

The Face of Success

There are times when we know what we are doing, feel confident in our abilities, and are certain we’re on the right path. Things go smoothly—for a time. Then suddenly we find ourselves higher than we’ve ever dared to go before, in a place that moves and changes unexpectedly. And the walls begin to close in on us.

The name of the place, I think, is Success.

Fear of failure is a well-known obstacle… but fear of success is equally debilitating. We can spend a great deal of time climbing toward success, preparing for it, dreaming of what it will be like; but when the reality actually arrives, it overwhelms us. We feel as if we have reached a stopping place where the world is closing in, and there is no way either to escape or keep moving upward.

At this point, we need to take a good look at where we are, and recognize the place for what it really is. It’s bigger and stranger than we had ever imagined it could be…and it demands more of our talents, strengths, and abilities than we feel we possess.

But that’s not a reason to give up.

Staring at the massive wall of Success, realizing it will not destroy us, we have two choices: Continue forward, or slide back down the way we came. After working so long and hard to get where we are, is giving up even an option?

Face the fearsomeness of Success, and realize that it will challenge you. But you can conquer it and move forward.

How?

Don’t ask me. I’m still at the top of the stairs facing a wall. But I know it’s not going to crush me…and I’ve started to look around to see what I can do next.

Because I’m not backing down.

Dreams are sweetest when they come true.

 

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Free Ingrid – The Power of the Internet

 

 

This video was posted to YouTube today. Within minutes, the link was being shared on Twitter. In the next few hours, I’m sure many blog posts will be written on the subject.

It is every human’s right to be free. It is unconscionable to hold another as a hostage. It is the duty of every person to take action to save those who are being held captive.

Hundreds of people are being held hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Ingrid Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian citizen and former presidential candidate in Colombia, is among them. Throughout six years of captivity, her face has become a symbol of this horrible situation.

When I look into Ingrid’s face, I see a sister of humanity. We are all connected—we are a family. When a member of our family is in danger, we must take action.

Taking action means something different for everyone. I can’t physically rescue these victims of terrorism; but I can pray, write a blog, and share a link.

What can you do?

 

Ok, Geniuses

 

Saturday morning. I emerge into the dining room. My Dad looks up with a cheerful expression. “Aha!” he says. It’s nice to be appreciated, but before I get a chance to feel too smug, he pulls out the newspaper. Oh, no.

Pop: “What was the greatest gift given to America by France?”

Isaac Asimov’s genius quiz. Groan.

Me: “Statue of Liberty.”

Pop: “That’s what I say, too. Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Me: “Groan.” (audible) “I need coffee before I can deal with this.”

I continue on into the kitchen. Pop is undaunted.

Pop: “Come on. Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Me: “Ernő Rubik.”

Pop: “Ernő Rubik?”

Me: (sarcasm) “Oh, wait, he was famous for the Rubik’s Cube.”

Pop: (Brief grin.) “I think it had something to do with Kipling.”

I shrug and pour my coffee.

Pop: “Who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975?”

Silence.

Pop: “Who was the Soviet leader during the Cuban Missile Crisis?”

I remain silent on this one, letting him have it. He was in the service during the Missile Crisis, after all. Surely he…

Pop: “Gorbachev.”

Me: (Stunned) “Um… Khrushchev.”

Pop: “Ooh, right! Very good.”

Me: “You want to know the impressively intelligent reason I know that answer?”

Pop: “What?”

Me: “When we were growing up, you had that book of political photo cartoons, and Krushchev was in it. It stuck with me.”

Pop grins. Moves on.

Pop: “Who allegedly killed officer JD Tippit?”

I have a vague feeling this is related to the TV show “Dallas.”

Pop: “What country was Leon Trotsky assassinated in?” Silence.

Pop: “During what war did the battle of Jutland take place?” Silence.

Pop: (Looking up at me in disbelief) “Who knows this kind of stuff??”

Me: “What’s worse: knowing it…or not knowing any of it?”

Pop: “We knew the Statue of Liberty.”

Me: “True.”

We continue. We have FAIL. Pop reads the answers. We got the Statue of Liberty right. Oh, and Krushchev. But the Rubicon?

Pop: “Huh. It wasn’t Kipling. Julius Caesar was famous for crossing the Rubicon. I thought he was famous for ‘Nobody sees her like Julius Caesar.'”

Me: (Finally admitting) “I’ve never even heard of the Rubicon!”

Pop: “It’s famous. Julius crossed it.”

Mom walks in the room.

Pop: “Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Mom: (Blank stare)

Pop: “It’s a river in Italy. Don’t feel bad, I thought it was something Kipling wrote.”

Nobody tell Asimov, okay?

 

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm  Comments (7)  
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Twittering

 

 

And God Spoke through Peacocks and a Cable Guy…

 

Peacock Blue by StacyJMT

 

As I awoke this morning, my thoughts filled with a certain dream of mine. Not the singing-the-National-Anthem at-a-Dodgers-game in-your-skivvies kind of dream. The goal-in-your-heart kind of dream. The one that fills your waking hours, and sometimes seems as unlikely to occur as the Nation Anthem solo.

This was a morning when the dream seemed far from being achieved…mostly because of my own shortcomings, as I see them. It can take a long time to wait for a dream. After a while, waiting becomes the status quo; and it begins to seem as if the dream will never be anything more than its name.

I turned over to take up my Bible for morning meditation. As I did, my eyes fell on a Dasani water bottle on my nightstand. Sunlight filtered through the semi-transparent label, catching my attention with a beautiful blue-green color. I had a passing thought that it would be a lovely color to use in one of my art pieces; then picked up my Bible, said a prayer, and opened to a random page.

Nothing is ever random in God’s universe. I found myself looking at Ezekiel 39:8: “It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.”

A little ripple of shock, followed by excitement, went through my heart. The Lord had heard me, and was telling me that my dream would come true. It reminded me of the Daily Word devotional for this date–“With God, all things are possible.” Even if I couldn’t see how.

So I arose and went about my day. Who knows—maybe, somewhere ocean-deep in my heart, I didn’t really believe my dream would come true. In any case, God must have thought I needed a clearer message. So He sent me peacocks.

Peacocks. Four of them.

I live in the Central California coast—like, in a condo, in the middle of an area that has streets, industry, homes. No zoos. No aviaries. The wildest bird I’ve ever seen here was a white dove.

But today there were four magnificent peacocks taking a leisurely stroll across the deck outside my window. All I could do was stare at them. Peacocks.

With beautiful Dasani-blue feathers.

I watched them, bemusedly, till they disappeared. Who knows where they came from or where they went.

A few minutes later, a cable guy knocked on the door. On a Saturday. And we don’t have cable. However, our DSL is coming up for renewal, and we’ve been thinking of changing to cable. That has been my job, to research the services, and discover which company and which plan would give me the bandwidth speed I need for video conferences. I’ve been distracted with this—I’ve been fretting about it, trying to figure it out, worrying that I wouldn’t get it done in time, doubting that it was even possible to get faster internet where we live.

Suddenly, there was the cable guy on my doorstep. He gave us a flyer that had every plan we could possibly need on it. Told us that they would be installing cable in other condos around us next week. Mentioned that there were no contracts to worry about, no installation fees, no prime-time slowdowns of service. Just effectively answered every one of my questions, dispelled my worries, and took the matter out of my hands, giving me exactly what I hoped for.

Peacocks and a cable guy.

When something that unusual happens, I can’t help thinking that there must be a reason. Within moments, it sank in.

With God, all things are possible.

I may think this dream of mine is way out there, too impossible to come true. But so are peacocks in a condo complex. I may think I need to work extra hard, earn my dream, be worthy enough before it can come true—do a whole litany of tasks before I can have what I want. When all along it’s really a gift of God’s grace, which He will lay on my doorstep at exactly…the right…moment.

Dasani blue. Whenever I see it, I’ll think of peacocks, a cable guy, and God’s clear, eclectic voice speaking to me on a sunny Saturday.

With God, anything’s possible.

Even the unlikely.

 

Photography by Stacy J-M Taylor

 

I’ve Been Named an SOB and I’m Happy!

 

 

I’ve just had the honor of being called an SOB on Liz Strauss’ blog!

Successful and Outstanding Bloggers — They take the conversation to their readers, contribute great ideas, challenge us, make us better, and make our businesses stronger.

I thank all of our SOBs for thinking what we say is worth passing on. Good conversation shared can only improve the blogging community.”

Thanks, Liz. You totally fit the description of a Successful and Outstanding Blogger yourself. :-):-)