BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

When Success is Scarier Than Failure

Man sitting on top of a mountain at sunset

How do you handle success?

Do you celebrate it? Or do you fear and/or doubt it?

For me, it’s more of the latter than the former.

Which is probably why I don’t have more of it to celebrate.

As a writer who’s building an audience, my current barometer for success is the size of my email list.

The more subscribers I can attract, the more successful I can (hopefully) be.

Aside from disrupting the flow of my articles with shameless plugs — subscribe to my email list by clicking here! — I’ve tried to convince readers to sign up by creating content that offers some combination of entertainment, education, insight and inspiration.

But given my penchant for procrastination, that’s not always easy to do.

To keep me on task, I have on my internet browser the List Goal extension from the company Videofruit.

This extension is tied to my MailChimp account. And every time I open a browser window, instead of seeing a default homepage, like Google, I see two numbers:

A milestone goal for subscribers, and my current tally of subscribers.

While this reminder is supposed to serve as motivation, it too often has the opposite effect.

It’s defeating to show up day after day and write article after article, only to see that counter remain the same.

I’ve tried to tell myself that it’s a process, but when you don’t see results, it becomes difficult to believe you ever will.

But thankfully, yesterday I did.

And I’m not exactly sure why.

When I left for lunch, my subscriber number was what it’s been the last few weeks.

Yet when I got back, it had jumped significantly (in proportion to the diminutive size of my list). And it hasn’t stopped jumping since.

In fact, in the time it’s taken to write this story, I’ve reached and surpassed my milestone goal.

This increase has been so sudden and so out of nowhere that I can’t make sense of it.

I don’t know if a particular post struck a nerve or people are finally ready to become better communicators, decision-makers and risk-takers.

(Shameless Plug, Part II: Learn how to become all three with the free video, “5 Strategies That Will Make you Unstoppable,” which you’ll receive when you subscribe to my email list here!)

Part of me is convinced that this is too good to be true, that my MailChimp account has created a mind of its own and is now striking the first blow in artificial intelligence’s war on humanity. It’s only a matter of time until one of Hollywood’s premonitions proves true, right?

And while I’ll examine the analytics for any insights into this surge, my bigger concern at the moment is my reaction to it.

Why am I not accepting this success? Why am I questioning it instead of embracing it? Why do I feel unworthy of it?

For reasons I won’t bore you with now, I’ve always had a struggler’s mentality.

I’ve always seen myself as the underdog, fighting hard yet failing to win — because what’s left to fight for when you do?

This mindset is as nonsensical as it is self-limiting. It’s warped my relationship with achievement.

And until that changes, nothing else will.

Somehow, I have to begin believing that not only am I deserving of success, I have the capacity to earn it and build off it — which, in turn, will generate more success.

And the only way I know to do that is by setting a new milestone goal.

 

 

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