We have all heard of the term, fear of failure and I’m sure an equal amount of you have often heard the term, fear of success bashed around office walls on a regular basis too. But have you ever thought why anyone should be fearful of success? Isn’t success what we are all after? And how can we be fearful of something we are yearning for?
Let me explain how we can be scared of success and why. More often than not this fear of success is unconscious; we are unaware of this fear. But let me assure you it is real. It can be a major stumbling block to becoming successful when in the grand scheme of things we are doing everything else that would normally guarantee that same thing we are relentlessly pursuing.
Here are three ways you can be frightened half to death about success-and not even know it!
Fear of Being Unable to Maintain the Success
This is like the actress or actor who wins an Oscar early in their film career. It can hinder them in the future. Anything other than a future Oscar performance can lead to them thinking they have failed. They think they are not maintaining the same level of success as before. An author might write a bestseller and then fear that the second book won’t make it as high up the book charts (I hope this doesn’t happen to me as I have just published my first book!) and therefore won’t write another; or procrastinate the day they do. So any success that somebody achieves, they can be worried they won’t be able to maintain those same standards from then on.
Fear of Losing Your Identity
Yes people fear that they will lose their identity when they become successful. They view other successful people perhaps as not being that nice anymore, or they may know someone who did change because they became successful. So they fear that they will have to change or that they will suddenly become ‘someone else’. Their psychological ‘label’ they (And others) have placed on themselves will be deleted forever.
Fear of Criticism
We all want to be loved, to be accepted or at least, liked by all. When we become successful we imagine that we will be under the microscope by others. Our every moves watched by all. And what if we make a mistake? What, if by becoming successful, many people are looking up to us to lead them? What if we do or say something that leads them in the wrong direction or contributes to them making a small mistake? What then? This scrutiny can make us fearful of success as we will be criticized for doing whatever it was. This triggers another huge fear that is inherent in most people: rejection.
Change small things that you habitually do. This gets the mind more accustomed to change and will be more open to accepting your success when it arrives
So the fear of success can come in varying degrees and in many guises that we are not aware of.
Mapping out on paper exactly what success looks like to you and accepting that you will have to grow in order to achieve success; coupled with building self-confidence can help you overcome the fear of success.
Another tip to use is the power of change. Change small things in your life so that your mind likes change, welcomes change and accepts change. Our minds often like to keep things just as they are, even when those other things we want are better for us. Your mind will know it has to change something and will therefore sabotage your progress. I write about how change will help you to become successful in my book, ‘Ignite the Spark, Explode Your Results’.
Alternatively, a great coach can smoke these limiting, unconscious thoughts out and then change them.
And remember, you may not even be aware of these fears. They could be locked away in a deep corner of your unconscious mind.