We are all familiar with the fear of failure. In fact, most of us deal with it on a day to day basis. We can’t wait to succeed in our endeavours and It would almost seem absurd to suggest that there is fear associated with success. According to HealthLine.com, Fear of success is “when you have an ongoing fear of succeeding, so much so that you might be inadvertently self-sabotaging”.
This for me is something I’ve grappled with in many occasions. You might find this relatable. You’ve been working so hard towards a goal and once things start to come together and succeed, you are like a dear in the headlines. Like an imposter who does not deserve to be there. You are so used to the predictable struggle and do not know how to cope with the having things going well. So you inadvertently find a way to sabotage things so you can go to the familiar. I’ve been in this situation many times with my business and personal life. Sometimes I feel sad thinking of all the great opportunities I squandered but I guess the important thing is that I’ve learnt my lessons and can look back with perspective.
For others, it’s their default programming especially the relationship with money and possessions. If you grew up being told that successful people are greedy and that money is the root of all evil, it’s no wonder you don’t want to be successful and end like one them. We find ourselves afraid of what we may become if we are successful and once again hold ourselves to what we are used to: what we think we can comfortably handle. We set ourselves very low goals even though we know we are capable of more.
Freeing yourself from this fear takes a lot of internal work. That said, the effort is worthwhile if you are going to achieve any meaningful and long term success. From personal experience, the first step is understand the origin of the fear. Could this be from your childhood? Or is it based on the past experiences? Next is to understand how this fear manifests itself. Do you find yourself procrastinating? Feeling stressed or unworthy?
When this fear shows up, I find it helpful to take a deep breath and remind myself what I’m trying to achieve and the impact it will have on myself and the people around me. I also find ways to affirm myself by reminding myself that I am worthy of success. Sometimes I find easier to chat with other people who’ve succeeded in the same endeavour to find out how they’ve navigated their newfound success.