I know it’s hard to believe that anyone could have a fear of success. After all, isn’t success what our parents wanted for us, didn’t we go to school to become successful, and aren’t we working our tails off now to finally achieve it?
For some, the fear of failure can be a motivating drive for success. While others are driven by beliefs and expectations that failure is likely so why try to succeed.
But, somewhere in the middle are those of us who are out there as entrepreneurs who believe in our ideas, are passionate, consistent, and committed. We’re willing to give it all we got including working more hours than we did at a day job. We’ve aligned our goals, blueprint plans, and execution strategies. We know we’re not there yet, but it’s what we anticipate our future to be.
However, there’s one thing we didn’t count on. Success is what we want, but it comes with fears that can derail us.
What Gives Rise to the Fear of Success?
Some of the common explanations for fear of success are compiled from the resource authors listed below. However, it’s generally agreed that everyone’s view of success varies, as wells as, the amount of influence a particular fear of success may have.
Success is scary —
Fear of Change. Yes, that’s the big one, so let’s get it out of the way first.
We build our whole life around predictability, security, certainty. We need a pattern we can depend on to guide through our day and helps us with the different people we interface with. We would like that same consistency to be there when we become successful. The fear is that we and all these things will change.
We’ll not be the same person; success will change us into someone else. We’ll have to change the way we do things, there’ll be less personal time and more responsibilities. We’ll have to learn to deal with new situations and total strangers wanting our attention. We’ll have to be more vigilant and detailed oriented to make sure everything goes right. And, so much more we believe that will be asked of us.
Fear of putting our name and face out there in public. Yes, we want the recognition but it can come with unsolicited personal attacks, criticism, and scrutiny. Anyone, spending time on social media knows how demeaning comments can be. For some, staying under the radar can be a reason enough not to succeed.
Fear that the status of our relationships will change. We’re no longer one of the not-so-successful gang. How will we relate to friends and colleagues who become jealous, intimidated or see a loss of shared interests? Or, will we be the one with the guilt that we made it and they haven’t?
Fear of being discovered as an impostor. We’re not a researcher, a person with credentials, nor a noted authority. Won’t someone discover our work is not that meaningful, relevant, or credible?
Fear we’ll get the success we want but won’t be able to handle it and meet expectations. We’re uncertain that we will be able to deliver what we’ve promised, meet demands, or sustain our efforts. And, the greatest fear – will we be just another on-hit-wonder?
Fear that all our time and efforts will not be rewarded. What if this is only a temporary success? Or, it becomes like other endeavors that turned into failures?
It’s all about how we come to view our success.
“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. …” (excerpted quote from Marianne Williamson)
You might have other personal success fears. You may know or not know what they are. They may even be old subconscious beliefs that have shaped your attitudes and behaviors when it comes to being successful. What fears or concerns about success have come up for you?
To be continued.
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