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By Ruth Tearle


Why is it that so many talented people just don’t believe in themselves? Recently I’ve had a chance to glimpse a flash of brilliance in two people, who immediately tried to hide what made them special. One showed me an amazing presentation she’d developed. When I asked her what she was going to do with it, she immediately gave me 40 reasons why it wasn’t good enough. Then she said to me - why don't you take my presentation and do something with it? I couldn't understand her thinking. Why didn't she want to take the glory for her own hard work? Why was she trying to give it away as though it were worthless?

The other person told me about a master’s thesis she’d completed on a subject she was passionate about. When I asked her if she was going to turn it into a book, she responded “I’m too scared to think that big.”

Why do we fear success?

Why, when we find something that gives us energy, something we are good at, do we immediately put a lid on it? Why do we prevent ourselves from being successful, from getting the glory for our hard work, from living a life of passion?

There is a wonderful quote by Marianne Williamson that demonstrates how we tend to hide our light - or own passion from ourselves.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...


Marianne Williamson. A return to Love.


We are powerful and talented creatures. But its often easier to pretend that we are not.

When faced with a flash of our own brilliance or passion, we often back off. Accepting we have something brilliant inside of ourselves that wants to shine, means we have to open ourselves up. We have have the courage to live our passion. To be ourselves. To risk others' disapproval. To open ourselves up to challenges, disappointments, personal growth and even to success.

And so, rather than taking a risk we tend to find excuses to negate our own potential.

5 excuses we use to hide our light from ourselves

We tend to use excuses to prevent ourselves from letting our light shine. Many of these excuses begin contain the words 'not enough'.

Not enough

"Not enough" are words we hide behind, to prevent ourselves from discovering our own power. Ruth Tearle

  1. I don’t know enough yet.
  2. I’m not qualified enough.
  3. I don’t have enough experience.
  4. I don’t have enough money.
  5. I'm not good enough.

Or we worry what others will think or say about us.

What we fear others will think of us

  1. “Who does he/she think she /he is…”
  2. He/she isn't.... so how dare he/she...?
  3. He/she isn't... enough

By using these excuses, or worrying what others will think of us, we are giving our power away. We are allowing our fearful imaginations to smother our passion and talent.

Use what you do have.

I have a friend who is one of those people that are known as 'high achievers'. Whenever he discovers something that energizes him, he learns whatever it is that he needs to learn, to be successful with his new life's passion. His belief is that whatever you want to do in life, there is always a book, an article, a web site, a blog or someone who has done it before that can guide you. As long as you commit time and energy to a passion, you will always be successful.

In short, he has thrown out the negative beliefs of 'not good enough' and 'what will others think', and replaced them with the ingredients of greatness.

What you need to achieve anything great.

The key ingredients for following your passion or achieving personal greatness are:

  • Courage to be a beginner. Learn from books, articles on the internet, experimentation and from others.
  • Focus: Give yourself time and space to explore your passion. Follow where it leads you.
  • Action: Do rather than know. Act. Write. Phone. Ask. Interview. Create. Take a chance.
  • Practice: Practice new skills until you've mastered them.
  • Reflect:. Reflect on what is working and what isn't working for you. Then adjust what you are doing, or get a coach to help you.
  • Use feedback positively. Use feedback as a tool to identify the next learning curve you need to follow rather feeling you are being judged.

If you have found something that energizes you, then remember this. You are enough. You have enough. You can be successful. Simply do what all successful people do. Believe in yourself. Take positive actions. And keep learning.

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