From the community Marina Darlow

Community Spotlight: Marina Darlow on The Crazy Fear that Keeps You from Your Dreams

crazy fear

Let’s talk about a rarely-mentioned fear: a Fear of Success

I was about to start my first ever group program, a day after I’d be interviewed by The Productivityist, one of the most popular productivity podcasts in existence.

I just got another interview booked, for a podcast with an even bigger audience. (I guess after my interview with Jodi, other people figured I can pull it off as a podcast guest. Thanks, Jodi, you rock!)

Things were looking up, weren’t they?

Well, I don’t know. I suddenly had this feeling that I really don’t want to be an online entrepreneur. That I really don’t want to do all the things required to make money online.

  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Bringing Traffic
  • Speaking
  • Online courses
  • Sales funnels

Even working with clients. And that was the whole reason I started my business in the first place.

I was nauseous. I was nervous. I was impatient. I didn’t want to see anyone, or to do anything; I just wanted to be still, like a fly in a marinade. Avoid rocking the boat at all costs.

Weird, right? You usually hear or read about and ever-present and debilitating Fear of Failure. Articles, books, probably dissertations are written about it. How to believe in yourself, how to stick with your cause despite no guarantees of success, how to…

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced it more than I care to admit. Ever heard “I put PRO in PROCRASTINATION”? So like that, but applying to fear of failure. I’m a pro when it comes to running all kinds of doom scenarios in my head.

But fear of succeeding? That was new and different.

When things go your way, when results suddenly turn out better than expected, you’re supposed to do a happy dance, recount your awesome experiences in every Facebook group, send out proud emails with lots of exclamation marks and “I did it and so can you!” crap. Ugh, just the thought of it makes me cringe a little.

OK, so no exclamation marks.

I’m willing to forgive myself for not following this piece of expectations. But I still have to, you know, work. Do stuff I’ve committed to do.

And here I am paralyzed with fear. Of SUCCESS, no less. Can you imagine how stupid and ridiculous this feels?

So now what? How do you overcome a really unexpected fear?


Here is what I did:

  • Called my dad. Like, 10 times. He’s the best, and he was able to take the edge out of the intense discomfort of “thing getting real” (I used a stronger expression in my head).
  • Planned like my life depended on it. Now, don’t get me wrong, planning obsessively doesn’t work for everyone. I’m a systems’ person, this is my work and my solace. I feel more in control of my fate, if I plan for every eventuality.
  • Went out to climb. I’ve recently started rock-climbing, and it’s a gift from the Universe. Climbing engages my mind, like no other sport. After 3 decades of shunning exercise, I found a sport I enjoy, and this means I actually stick with it.  It’s true what they say about endorphins and stress relief.

Is there a moral to the story? I’m not sure.

I got back to work.

The program is running and I love my group with all my heart. As far as I can tell, they seem to reciprocate.

The interview brought in an influx of new subscribers. New projects are coming in, new people are tweeting my stuff.

Am I still scared out of my mind? Yes. I am.

New projects, things I’ve never done before, are popping on my radar. (You’d be surprised what a mental and emotional effort it is to create a free e-course. Or maybe you won’t, you’ve done it before. I definitely was.)

And sometimes, I still feel paralyzed with fear. A mixed one – both fear of failure and a fear of success.

I call my Dad.

I plan, do, throw the plans out of the window, plan again.

I go climbing.

And I get back to work.

MistakesMarina Darlow is a project manager and a productivity expert. She views her job as helping impact-driven entrepreneurs get 10-20 more productive hours a week, stop leaking money, and prevent stress-fueled breakdowns. An engineer by training, Marina came to a realization a couple years ago that working for a conglomerate is not as inspiring as she wants her life’s work to be. Marina’s quest for inspiration brought her to found Vision Framework, a company that builds small, purpose-driven businesses from the inside, helping entrepreneurs run their companies with ease by putting effective, easy-to-use and fun (yep!) systems in place.


Accomplished: How to Go from Dreaming to DoingA simple, step by step system that gives you the foundation and structure to take your goals and make them happen.

Create Goals that are Worthy of you: If you are done with either pursuing vanilla goals, suffering through the struggle of goals that are not aligned with your strengths, or dealing with heartbreak of an unattainable goal this course is for you!

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