How to Overcome a Fear of Success

Last night was a tough one for me. I’m writing this while I’m on the train to LAX, where I’ll catch a flight to Europe so I can attend TBEX, a travel bloggers conference. I’ve never been one to attend a conference. I’ve always served those who attend conferences, but never been an attendee myself. I’m not fancy and I live out of a suitcase, and by suitcase I mean a big, dirty purple backpack that has blueberry stains on it from when I hiked up Mt. Fuji. Also, someone told me that converse shoes aren’t considered business casual which threw me through the roof because I don’t know what other shoes to wear… flip flops?

Life should be spent doing what you want to do, not what others want or think you should do.

Now, before this becomes a post filled with smart inspirational quotes found in every meme on Pinterest these days, let’s get to the point.

Life can be damn scary.

Seriously, though, sometimes I wish I was the kind of person that was content with working the same job, partying with the same people on the weekend, and when I wake up every morning my only worry to be where to find the best hangover cure. It all just sounds so much easier than going against the grain. I used to relax at the beach to relax after hanging out with friends. Those were the good ol’ days when life was easy. I wasn’t content with life being easy anymore though. Easy was boring. Easy didn’t challenge me. And when you’re done with school and you’re not spending hours in a library stressing over a test you need to pass in order to get a C because you’ve skipped half the class to get drunk… what or who is going to challenge you now? No one but yourself.

So as I sat on my (friend’s) bedroom floor last night, staring at a pair of flats that will soon be the bane of my existence, contemplating whether to pack them, questioning my life, my motives and whether anyone really cares to read what I have to say, I realized that Hemingway and other famous writers before him went through the same thought process, but they all turned to alcoholism to cope with it and all I had available was a pint of ice cream. Let’s just say I got chocolate wasted.

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts

Besides ice cream, to get me out of my own head, I had to remind myself of certain things and pull myself together. Here are some tips on overcoming this fear of success that some people can’t seem to get past:

Stop Hesitating and Questioning Yourself

There will always be someone better than you. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. I’ve heard it multiple times. I’ve said it to the guy I woke up next to when he asked me if I had fun last night. Just kidding.

So, with that reality in mind, stop comparing yourself to those who have been doing the same thing longer than you. Stop comparing yourself to Kendall Jenner who has a robot for a mom/agent. Just because you’re not on that level you want to be on yet, doesn’t mean that you suck. Maybe you need to tweak your strategy a bit, maybe you need to learn a little more about your craft, but whatever you do, don’t hesitate and wait because waiting turns into producing nothing, and producing nothing becomes absolutely nothing.  

Remember Why You Started in the First Place

Hopefully, the reason you started your craft is that it makes you feel good about yourself and it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing or something along those lines. If it was to impress that boy (read, still not man enough to commit to you) then, you may want to rethink your goals.

A good way to remind yourself is to write (not type) down your goals. Sometimes you start because it will snowball into something else, so you had to start somewhere. Writing down goals really helps to organize your thoughts, get back on track and stay motivated.

Don’t Overthink It

I’ve seen people while traveling who are so extremely prepared for their travels through Country X that they’re taking away from the experience. Oh, so you brought hydration packets, a filtered straw, AND a filtration packet? Well then you’ll never know what it’s like to get taken down by heat exhaustion and extreme dehydration and be forced to hitchhike in Colombia in order to get to safety. You’ll never know what it’s like to be on the verge of death and be cured back to life by a beautiful Colombian woman. Overachiever.

Probably not a good example, but my point is that sometimes people think that they need so much in order to be successful: A new tablet, a 4k camera, brand new heels, a smart looking outfit, etc. But if you’re stressing over having these hot new items, or you’re not comfortable with using your new product, or with dressing the way that you think you should dress, then don’t do it. You’re overthinking the whole situation and making it bigger than it needs to be. You’ve gotten this far without said items, why do you need to look different now? Don’t try so hard that you start to lose yourself. Which brings me to my next point.

Be True to Yourself

I’m an adventure and budget traveler, which means I don’t need to be wearing a fancy get-up to show people who I am. Of course, I look nice in fancy outfits (but I still don’t know how to tame this mane of mine), but if I’m going to be real with the people I meet, I’m going to try to be myself, which means converse is definitely a part of my wardrobe.

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great

What Do You Have to Lose?

I’m headed to a place to meet people and talk business even though I became an English major so that I could hide behind my writing and not talk business (I also did not want to be an English teacher, but guess what one of my first jobs out of college was?)

Whatever it is you are about to do, the first step or the fifth step toward success, think about what it is you will lose, by doing it. Fail? Failure in itself is a win. You’ll have learned and prepared yourself to try again. So what really could go wrong? The big fancy hot shots scoff at you? I highly doubt it. Someone doesn’t email you back? Fine, you’ll find more emails to capture and connect with.

I once had the opportunity to travel with a much more advanced and successful travel blogger than I, but I turned down the opportunity for my own reasons. He told me a million other girls would jump on this opportunity, and I said, “That’s fine, I’ll find another way.” I probably could have advanced my blog a lot faster, but it was a chance I was willing to take because I knew I could find another way. Whatever you’re about to do, you’ll make the right decisions and if something doesn’t go the way you want it to, life will go on and you’ll find other opportunities to be successful.


Now, if you weren’t afraid of failure, what project would you tackle? Now go tackle it.



My name is Tuliyani, traveler, adventurer, dreamer, and bartender. I’m slightly obsessed with finding cheap flights to anywhere and doodling. 


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