Fear of Success


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The fear of Success or of succeeding can does affect many people at some point in their lives.

  • Have you ever felt that you were nearly at that pinnacle of success, and then you began to slide down the edge?
  • Or that you felt that you were already there, but then the bottom fell out
  • Maybe you felt that you just didn’t deserve the success, started to doubt yourself or that a comment someone said, made you stop and think differently?

The fear of success is very similar to the fear of failing, and some people would say that they are pretty much the same thing. I can understand why people would suggest that, and I’d agree that they are.

However similar to motivation and the away-from and towards motivation, the fear of succeeding differs from the fear of failure in that one is moving away from something you don’t want and the other is moving towards what you do want.

Away from motivation is the motivation which often gets people started on their journey of change, it’s an element or part of something about them that they want to change. Maybe to lose weight, be free of a habit or

Towards motivation is geared towards where someone wants to be, maybe looking slimmer and being healthier, being successful or earning a certain amount of money.

Where the fear of success strikes is often that the person doesn’t feel that they deserve what they set out for. This can come from

  • When young, being told that you won’t succeed
  • When young, being over praised
  • Having limiting Beliefs from parental, social or religious influences
  • Not feeling worthy or entitled of the target
  • Hearing when younger, people expressing negativity about themselves
  •    And/or expressed on to others

As you will see from the above reasons, it can be almost anyone who can develop or have the fear of success, also all the reasons have their own reasons as to why they happen. Because everyone is different and has a unique life story, we all have our individual reasons of why and how things affected us.

Some good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this, you can learn to feel more entitled, worthy and deserving of what you truly want and desire in life.

It could be that the negative self-talk, which would likely come from others anyway, just needs to be changed – into more positive affirmations, beliefs and strong and positive self-talk and self-analysis. 

For an article on the fear of success please click HERE

What does the fear of success look like?

Fearing the consequences of success can manifest in subtle and obvious ways, such as:

Low goals. You set the bar low to keep yourself from being challenged.

Procrastination. You stall just enough to let opportunity pass.

Perfectionism. You strive for perfection and when you inevitably fall short, that’s reason enough not to proceed.

Quitting. Just when you’re on the verge of success, you find a reason to quit.

Self-destructiveness. Substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors may serve to derail success.

Any of these behaviors can keep you from realizing your full potential.

Being afraid of success can cause mixed emotions. A 2001 study on the subject involved athletes and performing artists who reported feeling:

guilt over asserting themselves in competition

anxiety about surpassing a record established by another performer

pressure over repeatedly having to equal or surpass your own best performance

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