Our society puts a great deal of emphasis on success – in business, in relationships, in finances. What exactly is success, and why do some people fear achieving it?
Fear of success is a complex issue. In one individual it may have to do with guilt about asserting oneself or realizing potential, while in another it relates to being able to achieve and maintain success in the eyes of others.
Many people view success as a goal to be dreaded and avoided. They fear that being successful, especially in business, means they will have more pressure to continue to achieve and more responsibility than they can handle. They may fear being visible to others and prefer to stay in the background.
Some studies suggest that the adrenaline rush of an achievement may come too close to the physiological reaction experienced with a traumatic event. Those who equate these emotions and energies may choose to avoid that rush at all costs.
Some people fear change – and success usually leads to growth and continued change.
A more obvious contributor to the fear of success is often an underlying fear of failure – what could happen if you do not achieve the goal.
There are several ways to ease a fear of succeeding at a goal.
Place more emphasis on your own priorities and goals than on what others might think of you. In most cases, others’ opinions do not matter.
Realize that today’s achievement will be tomorrow’s success story, if you allow it.
Today’s goals and tasks may set the stage for those yet to come, allowing you more knowledge and confidence in the upcoming tasks.
Focus on the benefits of success rather than what you fear. This may include career advancement, more respect and appreciation, and the feeling of contributing to the greater good.
Express gratitude to those mentors and teachers who lifted you up along the way and contributed to your success.
Learn to enjoy the process of achievement and put greater weight on the process than the outcome. Examine the balance between the cost of holding back from success versus the fear of what could possibly happen. With support and a positive outlook, you can learn to enjoy achievement!
If you remain stuck in your fears of success, consider getting therapy to become unstuck.