I hope you found my previous post on the subconscious fear of success helpful. I realize that not everyone is fearful of success, many people are afraid of failure. I wanted to share a little of my experience and heart with you and why apparently success is scarier than failure (for me). In the industry I work in I am used to hearing no. If I had to guess, I’d say that I’ve heard 99 no’s for every yes I’ve received. This has forced me to grow thicker skin than I already had.
I remember reading a chapter in “Learning To Fly”, Victoria Beckham’s autobiography, where she shared the moment that she got the call that she booked a spot in The Spice Girls. She said that in that moment all of the tears that she’d been holding in for years from all of the rejection she’d received came pouring out. And she realized how much it really mattered to her, even though she’d told herself for years that every no was “no big deal”. I literally sobbed.
I read another article that broke down signs you may fear success as well as possible reasons why you do.
Signs of Fear of Success
The biggest problem for many people is that their fear of success is largely unconscious. They just don’t realize that they’ve been holding themselves back from doing something great.
If you experience the following thoughts or fears, you might have a fear of success on some level:
- You feel guilty about any success you have, no matter how small, because your friends, family, or co-workers haven’t had the same success.
- You don’t tell others about your accomplishments.
- You avoid or procrastinate on big projects, especially projects that could lead to recognition.
- You frequently compromise your own goals or agenda to avoid conflict in a group, or even conflict within your family.
- You self-sabotage your work or dreams by convincing yourself that you’re not good enough to achieve them.
- You feel, subconsciously, that you don’t deserve to enjoy success in your life.
- You believe that if you do achieve success, you won’t be able to sustain it. Eventually you’ll fail, and end up back in a worse place than where you started. So you think, “why bother?”
Causes of Fear of Success
Fear of success has several possible causes:
- We fear what success will bring – for example, loneliness, new enemies, being isolated from our family, longer working hours, or being asked for favors or money.
- We’re afraid that the higher we climb in life, the further we’re going to fall when we make a mistake.
- We fear the added work, responsibilities, or criticism that we’ll face.
- We fear that our relationships will suffer if we become successful. Our friends and family will react with jealousy and cynicism, and we’ll lose the ones we love.
- We fear that accomplishing our goals, and realizing that we have the power to be successful, may actually cause an intense regret that we didn’t act sooner.
I can relate to most of the bullet points on these list. Here are the personal thoughts that run through my mind and have contributed to my fear of success over the years.
- I won’t be able to relate to my loved ones.
- I’ll be personally attacked by strangers and won’t be able to defend myself.
- I’ll be forced to compromise in ways I don’t want to.
- I won’t be able to deal with the fiery darts of jealousy and envy.
- I won’t be able to live up the the expectations and responsibility that comes with success.
Is this something you have experienced before?