"Screaming Woman"

“Success is a state of mind.
If you want success,start thinking
of yourself as a success.”
― Joyce Brothers

The fear of success is my fifth and last post in my series “Are any of these five fears holding you back?”

Fear of success sounds counter intuitive, why would anyone be afraid of success, isn’t it the thing we most strive for in life? Isn’t the desire for success, in our business and personal lives, the driving force for doing what we do? Why would we be afraid of the very thing we desire?

The fear of success may be an unconscious habit.

Most people who are afraid of success do not walk around telling others or themselves they’re afraid of success. You may not even realize that your success is being held hostage by this fear.

This fear can be misinterpreted as the fear of failure. But it’s not! Here’s why – people who are afraid of failure, at times, will obsess about success, to the point of   ignoring relationships and other important aspects of  life. The fear of failure drives them. Those who are afraid of success will seldom if ever become a success fanatic. They have what I call the “yo-yo syndrome,” they frequently move forward and then go backwards.

The fear of success leaves clues

You’re afraid of success if you have a history of getting close to achieving your results and things go awry.

At times it will appear that these success stoppers are beyond your control: the environment, other people, the economy, an accident, or some other event. Don’t be fooled into thinking you had no control over what happened. You did! Examine each event closely and see where you gave up your power to sabotage your success. You’ll be enlightened.

Why the fear of success?

Maybe you grew up in an environment where you were told you’d never be successful, or you weren’t deserving of success. You internalized these ideas and you now associate an uncomfortable feeling with being successful, and you do everything in your power to avoid the discomfort.

Maybe your images of successful people are negative. Successful people have to step on others to achieve. Successful people are mean-spirited. Successful people are overly competitive. Successful people don’t have any real friends. Successful people are lonely. Successful people have to become someone else to be successful. Successful people only have time for the pursuit of success. Successful people are egotistical.  ( do you have any to add to the list?)

Maybe you become uncomfortable when you imagine being in the spotlight that success brings.

Maybe the feelings brought on by the thought of success are the same feelings associated with a trauma from the past. Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., MFT wrote an in-depth article about this topic on Psychology Today.

Is the fear of success holding you back?

Since the fear of success happens mostly on a subconscious level, one needs to first determine if fear of success is the dragon you need to slay.

This quiz featured at CNN money may help you answer this question. The quiz was adapted from a questionnaire developed at Boston College (and published in The Success-Fearing Personality, by Donnah Canavan, Katherine Garner, and Peter Gumpert), Click the link above, take the test and do come back and share your results.

How to overcome your fear of success

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

1. The fear of success is an irrational fear. To overcome any fear you have to look it in the eyes instead of running from it.

  • Say hello to your fear, connect to it, feel it, and find the purpose it serves in your life.
  • What is it protecting your from, real or imagined?
  • Identify the feelings you’re holding on to and those you’re trying to avoid.
  • Identify the limiting beliefs that keep you from achieving YOUR success?

2.  Is someone else (past or present) defining your success? You need to answer this question before you can overcome your fear. Dig deep and be willing to accept your truth.

3.  Close your eyes and imagine, picture, feel and/or taste what your life would be like if you allowed YOUR success.

4.  Are you ready to make this life real? If you answered yes then take inspired action to make it happen.

5. There’s a plethora of self-help information and tools to overcome any fear. You can read about some of them in my previous posts Fear of Disappointing Others and  Fear of Rejection. However, a coach or a mentor will help you achieve faster results.

It’s a wrap

If your life is not a reflection of what you’re capable of, then fears of one kind or another is holding you back. Start with my first article in this series here, and do something each day to empower yourself for success.

Your turn

Are you afraid of success? Did you take the test? If you did, please share your results with us.

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Are your fears keeping you stuck ? If you answered yes, you’ll benefit from my FREE strategy session. Contact me today. You’ll be glad you did.

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