Are You Afraid of Success?

We know many people fail to achieve their goals in life due to the phenomenon known as “fear of failure.” However, are you aware that a major factor that is overlooked is a state known as “fear of success”? You could be afraid of success for many reasons.

Fear of failure will lead people to have the inability to make decisions. Or  inaction due to the fear of rejection and negative outcomes. It is easy to identify this mental state and there are ways to combat and reprogram your mind for success.

However, the fear of success is much more subtle, harder to spot and harder to get rid of.

Perhaps you have this tendency in your life. Here are some signs of fear of success mentality.

  • Studying and trying to implement self-improvement techniques and/or personal development tools but your life does not improve or may even get worse.
  • Underestimating yourself – You settle for less than you feel you deserve or are capable of achieving.
  • You start new projects full of enthusiasm and optimism but wane in your efforts or stop short before you have completed them.
  • You expect things to go wrong no matter how well the situation appears to be at the moments.

Can you identify any of these signs in your own patterns?

The fear of success can also make you behave in ways that hold you back.

The list below are the symptoms of the fear of success.

Procrastination – Putting off what needs to be done or not doing what you know will bring you closer to your desired results. Everyone suffers from this inner ‘demon’ at some point in their lives.

Procrastination is a ‘success killer’. So how can you expect to reach your goal if you do not take small steps towards it? Having a personal development plan is an essential part in fighting against procrastination. You should take action by striving to do little things each day that will bring you closer to your goal. Refine these steps as you go along. Do not sit and do nothing. Taking action is one of the key aspects in personal development.

“Can’t see the forest for the trees!” – This is almost the opposite of procrastination but has the same effect on your personal development. This saying is well known but have you ever given it real consideration?

Do not get caught up in your plan believing that it is more important than the materialised goal! For many years I got caught in this trap. I began to think and act as if my plan were more important than my end goal. I then missed many opportunities to alter my path and reach my goals more quickly. You should let go of your ego and allow the Universe to show you a quicker route to your goal. Remain flexible.

Thinking that the time is not right – have you ever waited until the timing was perfect before starting a venture? Have you ever waited until you had more information on a better plan?

So what to do?

Again, ACTION is the key to the door to success. Taking small steps forward is better than taking none or waiting to see if your foot is landing on the right spot! Even if your actions take you away from your goal, you have at least gained insight and knowledge about what does not work! Don’t let being afraid of success stop you from acting on your dreams.

Being a perfectionist – this is similar to the point above and has the same effect, that you never really move forward. No matter how good a job is when finished, it can always be improved. I have heard many great musicians say they hate listening to their own songs because they can find a million things that need improved, yet we still enjoy them. I think a classic example of this is “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon. This song is hauntingly beautiful, yet Mr. Simon does not think it is good enough!

Seeing only problems – how do you use your focus? Do you constantly see only, and all the problems involved? If you are like this, it is impossible to change overnight. However, you can use this mindset to your advantage while you strive in your personal development to gain an opportunistic mindset.

“How can you use seeing only problems to my advantage?” you say. “Easily”, is my reply! Look at the problems and prepare a plan to deal with them. Every time you overcome each problem, congratulate yourself. Use them as a gauge for your achievements. If you keep seeing more problems, remind yourself of how well you dealt with the others and how far you have come. If you see a problem ask yourself, “how best can I overcome this challenge?” or “how quickly can I rectify this situation?”

The quality of your questions is important as I have outlined in a previous article. Use the problems as fact finders. Is there a real problem now? If so, then deal with it. Is it a potential problem? If so, then create a contingency plan in case it does occur but don’t get caught up in it just be prepared.

Enjoy the journey, follow the above guidelines and you will achieve success. Eventually being afraid of success will dissipate, and you will have moved a long way forward in your personal development.


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