Overcoming the Fear of Success

We all set goals for ourselves. We talk about them, we tell others about them, we start taking steps to achieve our goals, and then something happens. Right when we are at the point of reaching that goal, we don’t. Why is that? We can point to a lot of things that may not have gone as planned or may not have fallen into place just like we wanted it to. But how much of that did we do to ourselves?

Oxford dictionary defines sabotage as “to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.  If we are to use that definition, logic tells us that self-sabotage is the act of destroying, damaging, or obstructing ourselves. So what does this look like in real life?

  • Canceling an interview for a job that you are more than qualified for
  • Talking yourself out of pursuing a great opportunity
  • Giving up on a diet that you were beginning to see progress with
  • Accidentally (or not) missing a critical deadline

You often hear about the fear of failure but I believe that very often people have a fear of success. It sounds strange because no one readily admits that they do not want to be successful, yet they make decisions that block themselves from the success that they say they want. The following are a few reasons why people have a fear of success in some remedies that can help you.

Fear of Failure 

The easiest way to not have to maintain a goal is to ensure that you do not reach it in the first place.  You diet and get to your ideal weight but who wants to hear what everyone has to say if you gain all of your weight back? Or you may talk about this great promotion you want but do you want to explain to everyone why you did not get the job that you felt so confident about? The fear of failure contributes to the fear of success because you talk yourself out of starting a goal so you don’t have to deal with the disappointment if you do not achieve this goal.

Remedy: Push through the fear. It sounds simple but it is challenging.  Think of all of the good that can come from you achieving your goal. Even if you fall short, you tried and that is a step that many wish they dared to take. The fear of failure is full of what-ifs.  Challenge your what-ifs.  I had to challenge a lot of what-ifs when I started this blog.  I would think what if a lot of people don’t like the blog?  But I had to tell myself, but what if they do?  I would think what if nobody cares what I have to say with if what I have to say?  But then I would think that this could be just the point of view that somebody needs to hear? Everyone gets apprehensive but the key is to push through this apprehension to get to your goal.

Being stuck in your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is your safe space where everything is predictable. You can always be certain of how things are going to go and how certain people will behave. Even when you know that this comfort zone is not going to get you to your goals and desires, you stay there.  It is not fulfilling, but you know what to expect. Dreams die in the comfort zone because you are not willing to step outside of it and do something different. Getting something you have never had requires doing something that you have never done.

Remedy:  Make the conscious decision to do what makes you uncomfortable.   For example, one of my comfort zones was to respond to online conversations but not to necessarily initiate conversations. Starting this blog and my Facebook page has made it to where I am starting to initiate conversations. Even now it still feels unnatural, but I do it anyway. To achieve any level of success, you must do something that feels unnatural.  This is a sign of personal growth.  Personal growth often requires you to do those things that feel unnatural but is necessary for success.

Negative Self-Talk

You can say and think so many negative things to yourself that you begin to believe these negative thoughts. If you are already believing that you are not worthy or that you are not as good as the next person or that you will never be able to reach your goal, then you will never even attempt to try or your attempt will be halfhearted.  In essence, you are defeating yourself mentally before you even begin your quest to reach your goal. Oftentimes what we think of ourselves becomes a reality and we end up settling where we are when we have the potential to be so much more.

Remedy:  Realizing that feelings are not facts is the first step in combating negative self-talk. I make this very point in one of my previous posts that you can read here.  Realizing that the way you feel about yourself becomes your reality, the best thing you can do is to speak positivity into your life. Tell yourself you are as qualified as the next person despite what you feel. Tell yourself that you can reach and maintain the goals that you have set for yourself despite what you feel. Is this as easy as it sounds? No. But you have to get in the habit of challenging your thoughts especially when they have the potential to stunt your personal growth.

The fear of success can stop you from growing if you allow it to.  Becoming conscious of and overcoming these things will help you on your path to personal growth.  Have you ever had to contend with any of these things?  What helped get you over your fear of success?

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fear of Success

  1. Excellent read. I have been guilty of all these things. I find imposter syndrome to be a real contributor to my fear of success. “What happens if I get there and can’t back up what I sold?!” I have to remember that I can succeed, and if I don’t, I can still get back up and try again.

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