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A friend asked me an excellent question regarding my need for success, which helped me and might help you to reach a better understanding of your behaviors: who am I if I am not successful?
Our three basic needs
In order to understand how you can use negative feelings to grow as a person, you need to find out how these feelings are created and why those feelings come up in specific situations. The answer is actually surprisingly simple.
The human being has three basic needs in life: safety and security, belonging and self-worth.
And everything we do in life is based on satisfying those three needs. As a child and a teenager, we have learned to act a certain way in order to satisfy those desires. Some of us got the belonging and recognition by working hard and being successful in everything they do, like I did. Others were raised in a family where being heard is important, so they had to raise their voice quite a lot to be heard. But when we grow up, our values change. But because the way of satisfying the three basic needs has been ingrained in your body for so long, they will probably not change immediately. And sometimes those behaviors, that have served you so well when you were younger, might stand in the way of you achieving what you want. And these behaviors are not mental ones, because mentally, you know how you should react and feel in a certain situation. These behaviors show themselves somatically, they are rooted in your body.
Analyzing my needs and behaviors
When making this podcast, I was in the middle of a launch. We put a lot of effort into this launch, preparing an empowerment quiz, webinars, and Facebook ads. For some reason, our Facebook ads weren’t as profitable as they were before, even more so, they were almost five times as expensive. And so we made the decision to stop them. At the very beginning of the launch, we didn’t get a lot of subscriptions. And for me, this led to a big crisis, because I started to form the idea that the launch was going to fail. I lost my motivation, I felt a lot of anxiety in my body and I started questioning everything because of that.
But then, as I teach, I started analyzing myself from afar. And at first, I thought I was having these twisted feelings because I missed a basic need: safety. I wanted to have financial stability to feel safe and this launch needed to go well. But by looking further, I noticed that I had much more revenues than last year and that I didn’t need that much more money to be break-even for the year. And by digging more, I realized that what I was feeling, I have felt many times before. When faced with exams, I would completely stress myself out, because of the fear of failing. And I felt the same feeling when I was CEO of Plantyn and had to face challenges I thought I would fail.
Understanding my needs and behaviors
Now that I had observed these feelings, I could start understanding them. When I was young, I didn’t get the unconditional love that some others did. The love and recognition I got, came from the success I had. That’s why it was so important for me to be successful. These feelings have been ingrained in my body for so long that even now when I am older, I get the fear of failing. But these feelings and behaviors simply weren’t serving me anymore, so when they come up – and they still often do – instead of trying to get rid of them, I accept them and see the purpose behind them. I often try to meditate, or simply breathe and put my hands on my chest, reminding me that it’s okay to have these feelings. Once I have learned to bring some tenderness to those behaviors and accept them, I can increase my energy and move forwards to face new challenges and grow.
Understanding YOUR needs and behaviors
Now that I shared my story, I want to ask you some questions, you can answer for yourself.
How did you satisfy the three basic needs in your childhood?
What behavior is triggered inside you when things don’t go as planned?
Is that behavior still serving you today?
Once you know the answer to those questions, you can start to bring tenderness to your feelings and behaviors. That way, you can accept them and make room to increase your energy and move forwards!
Who am I, if not successful?
After explaining my situation to a friend, she asked me an excellent question regarding my need for success, which helped me and might help you to reach a better understanding of your behaviors. She asked me who I am, or what kind of person I become when I don’t feel successful. And that is a question you should ask yourself as well, once you know how you react to attain the three basic needs. I started pondering and actually noticed that there are a lot of benefits about the way I am when I don’t feel successful. I am much more accessible and vulnerable. I am able to let go of things and ask for help. And then I create deeper connections with myself and the person who helps me. And every time I am in a crisis, I shared with others and was able to reconnect to what was really important to me. And then it hit me: it was in the moments when I didn’t feel successful that I reached success. So in the moments I could completely let go of the result and the need to be successful, that’s when I’m at my best.
Try to think about that and how you can apply that concept to your behaviors.