It took awhile, but I finally figured it out.
The reason I’ve been so anxious, confused and losing sleep is because my life is changing…for the better. This is referred to as “fear of success,” and it’s every bit as scary as fear of failure.
Fear of failure is thinking I’ll hit a wrong chord on the guitar or forget the lyrics in a concert. It would be embarrassing and I would feel, like most people, pretty upset for having been imperfect. A greater fear of failure would be to not get gigs, to have to retire due to illness, or to lose a songwriting competition. As I look over this list, none of it (except illness) worries me terribly. I have a small amount of fear of failure, but it rarely keeps me up at night anymore.
Fear of success is something else. In my mind, it is leveling up, getting the opportunities I always thought were beyond my reach and then thinking, “I can’t do all of this!” And that’s exactly what is happening, now. I’m scared because I’m expanding, getting better work, doing what I really want to do and fearing that I’ll blow it.
This is not a bad thing even though it’s uncomfortable. Sure, it sucks waking up at 3:00 am night after night and not being able to fall asleep due to a monkey mind-anxiety cocktail in my head. But I’m pretty sure that’s a way station, a temporary state because I have never been this way – successful and in-touch with my emotions, simultaneously. I don’t recognize this new me, yet. I have to grow into accepting the changes success brings.