I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about the expansion of his business. During our conversation, he remarked that he was feeling fearful of success.
I just smiled because I’ve sooo been there before. In fact, fear of success was one of the hardest things I had to overcome.
What Is The Fear Of Success?
When I first heard the term “fear of success”, I thought it was one of the most ludicrous things I’d ever heard of. We all want success, right? So how can someone be scared of achieving success??
At that time in my life, I was dreaming and dreaming… and some of my goals and dreams started coming true. I just couldn’t believe it; I was so happy! Then before I could savor my successes, I started experiencing failures. I couldn’t understand how I was causing those failures and what I could do to move past them. I was sabotaging myself and felt powerless to stop. I saw that I was holding myself back, but I couldn’t understand why. My dreams were right in front of me, all I had to do was keep moving toward them, yet it was like my feet were stuck in quick sand and I was slowly sinking down.
If you’ve ever experienced the fear of success, you might be familiar with what I’m talking about.
Fear of success can be a few overlapping issues:
- Belief that you are undeserving of all the good things and recognition that come your way as a result of your accomplishments and successes
- Opposite of the fear of failure, in that fear of failure is the fear of making mistakes, losing approval or giving something your all and not being good enough to reach your goal; whereas the fear of success is the fear of accomplishment and being recognized and honored.
- Belief that there are others out there who are better than you, who will replace or displace you if you do not maintain your performance record
- Lack of belief in your own ability to sustain your progress, and sustain the accomplishments you have achieved
- Fear that your accomplishments can self-destruct at anytime
- Belief that no matter how much you are able to achieve or accomplish, it will never be enough to sustain success
- Fear that you will find no happiness in your accomplishments–that you will be perpetually dissatisfied with life
Basically, the fear of success is the fear of the unknown – what will happen once you reach the goal you’re pursuing? That grey area can cause alot of anxiety and unneeded stress.
Time To Swallow Your Fear
None of us have a crystal ball and can tell the future. If we could just tell ourselves that everything will be ok, we wouldn’t put ourselves through the fear of success anyway. The problem is, fear is an irrational emotion and its hard to just reason away. So what do you do to get past it?
There are two things you can do: instill positive beliefs in your mind through autosuggestion and visualize life once you’ve reached your goal so the unknown isn’t scary.
Instilling Positive Beliefs
A belief is simply a thought you think over and over again, so you can instill a new belief into your mind by thinking a thought until you believe it. Sounds too good to be true? Then try this: tell yourself you’re good enough just as you are and you deserve everything that’s coming to you. But don’t just say it once or twice, make a ritual out of it: like when you drink water, or check your email, or any repetitive action you take during the day. Tell yourself this at least five times a day for at least 30 days, and I guarantee you won’t feel inferior to anyone or undeserving of your success.
The key is to just let the thought run through your mind. Don’t say to yourself, “oh I don’t believe that”, because then you never will. All you’re really doing is countering that little voice in your head that says you can’t do it, you can’t hold on to it and it’s too good to be true. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you or be a hater. It’d be a shame that your fear – not your inability to succeed – is what holds you back from reaching your dreams.
Visualizing Your Success
If your fear of success is rooted in not knowing how it’ll all turn out, then give your mind knowledge of how it’ll all turn out. What’s wrong with visualizing where you’re headed? Its not as if you’re daydreaming, because you plan on backing up your vision with faith, persistence and action. Visualizing is the perfect way to iron out some of the kinks in your plan anyway. If you’re stewing over questions like “what will I do after I reach this goal?” then ask yourself what a typical day will be like, and see it play out in your mind.
One reason that visualization is so important is that it allows you to look your fear dead in the face and tell it that you’re better than fear. Its the place you can go to put yourself at ease, and no one can see your mental images but you. Plus, its just plain fun. If your goal is to become a doctor, how fun is it do imagine what your life will be like after you add the MD to your name? Just like with autosuggestion though, visualization only works with repetition. I love visualizing my goals, because I can see, hear, feel and taste how good my blessings are going to be. What’s better motivation than that?
Using these two techniques, you’ll knock out your fear of success in no time. The good thing is that, anytime that old fear comes creeping back, you’ll already know what to do to get back to your motivated, inspired self. And once you reach that place, you’re the only person who can hold you back. The sky is truly your limit and I hope you sincerely believe that.