The Fear of Success

Blog Post created by katie.mehnert Champion on Mar 21, 2016

I figured I'd put this blog post here.  I'm not sure it's just for petroprenuers. It's probably something applicable to everyone irrespective of. Two weeks ago we held a panel discussion with successful C-suites: Elisa Steele - CEO of JIVE Software, Jennifer Hartsock CIO of Cameron and Samina Farid, former Chairman of Merrick Systems.  We spoke a lot about the challenges C-suites face.


I had the chance to ask Elisa what I thought her biggest eye opening moment was for her as the CEO of a public NASDAQ company.  She said something I didn't think she would say.  In fact she said it louder than I could ever say it, yet I've thought about it over and over and over again.


"It's a little lonely."


Indeed it is!  When you rise the ladder of the ranks in corporate, your peer group gets smaller.  Once you hit the c-suite, it's well, bare bones thin.  There's not a soul.  And finding other C-suite women is daunting.  I mean we read these statistics about the lack of women in the c-suite, but its painfully apparent when you get there that there are NO others, or very few.


I thought if I were in Elisa's shoes, what my big AH-HA moment would be. And here's what I thought.


After cancer and a 50-50 shot of producing a healthy kid, I anguished for 9 months prior to my kid's birth. Delighted and blessed she was “really in there”, I wracked my brain worried about the moments ahead of me. Would I be a good mom? Could I continue to be a good wife? Could I be a rockstar at work and manage this new life? What if this…what if that…How will I this and that? (And the usual woman response…will I ever lose this baby weight?)

That night before she was born I feared failure. 

I was sure that I was going to have issues…complications…and that my worst fears would come true.

Have you ever worried about failing? It’s okay.  Raise your hand and relax. You’re normal!

What is it about failure that takes up precious emotional energy in our brains?  At the end of the day, though, failure and success is how WE define it. And that night I remember thinking, “Please God, just let her be okay.”

IMG_0535That morning, December 9, 2010, at Texas Women’s Hospital, I birthed a beautiful baby girl named Ally Rees. And she was more than okay. (Splendid photo huh?  I hope I haven't offended any of you.  I had to snap this shot. She's quite the ham and even at 2 days old)

She’s fabulous.  (I’m biased!)  She was born kicking, crying and full of an opinion. Don’t believe me?  The picture is worth a 1000 words!  But, in the five years since that morning, she’s taught me more about life than I could ever imagine.  She lives life to the fullest and she lets the world know that YOU should too!

I didn’t fail that day.  I succeeded.  Success felt pretty good.

A year ago I birthed another child: a business I have been conceiving in my head, my heart, and on cocktail napkins.  You all know about it because it's no longer a bunch of napkins and ideas.  Pink Petro is a place where I seek to unite, connect and develop people in my industry with what I know, draw upon what they know, so that we can live our gifts, together.  It's a place I want to prove can create a community that can bring about new culture and change to our industry.

Wow.  I. Said. That. Out. Loud.

And I’m going to share my biggest fear with you, so far.  Like birthing Ally, something that my mind, had very little chances of succeeding…I birthed Pink Petro with the fear of success.  And I'm still struggling with it. 


You’re afraid of success, you ask, as you scratch your head in wonder?  Yes.  Success.  Because you see, as humans we all want to live our fullest but when we get to full or even have a brush of it, we wonder how it is we got there.  We question and doubt ourselves and our self worth suffers. Others question how we got there.  Have you ever heard… “Don’t bite off more than you can chew, now!”

Fear success? greatness? Don’t worry…again, it’s human. Again, welcome to the club.  You’re normal.

There’s this adage in life that we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We think that lurking in the shadows is something that will stand in our way.

The fact is we stand in our own way.

And for years I stood in my own way. I put off my ideas.  I focused on the wrong things. I didn’t think anyone would care.  I thought people would think I was crazy. Now, I don’t care if they think Ichoke_success‘m crazy.  I know I’m crazy passionate about my family, life, work, and relationships.  And I’m not going to stand in my way (even though I often times do). When I feel that come on, I’m going to remind myself that…

We need to fear less, dream more, and make things happen.
Because we are worth it.
You are worth it.  Keep going!