Fear of Success Can’t Be for Real! Or Can It?
Picture it! Standing atop the podium excitedly awaiting the wrestling official to place the first place gold medal around your neck.
Being admired by your business peers as you receive the plaque declaring you the BNI Networker of the Year.
Watching Amazon sales skyrocket as the book you have worked so hard to complete soars into the stratosphere!
I’m sure you can (and probably already have) filled in your own success blank by now. We all have them! We all can picture our successes. However, we sometimes (or, dare I say, oftentimes) insert mental roadblocks that keep us from the success that’s rightfully ours. But how?
I think we’re all familiar with the fear of failure–the procrastination that sets in and keeps us from doing the things we need to do to experience success. We see it all the time. Typically, we are attempting to avoid a thing we perceive as uncomfortable.
- The rejection that comes from being told “NO” by a prospect
- The terror that comes from attending a networking function to try to meet new referral partners
- The shame when that book just doesn’t sell
- The sadness when the business doors slam shut as a result of very few, if any, sales
The key to the fear of failure is the word FAILURE!! And after all, it sort of makes sense to avoid failure (sort of!!! I’ll write about that one later).
But the Fear of Success????
This makes absolutely no logical sense! If everyone wants success (and everyone sure says they do), why would anyone fear it. And success is positive, right (not like “failure”)? Well, consider these “little voices” that may change your mind:
- “If I double my income next month, they’ll expect me to now do that EVERY MONTH!”
- “If I launch this business idea and it actually DOES work, I’ll be working WAY more hours.”
- “If I make more money, I’ll have to pay more TAXES!” (I just love that one!)
- “If I experience success, my friends and family will think I THINK I am better than they are.” (I’ll lose my friends and family)
- “If I am successful working out and I lose weight, I’ll have to spend SO MUCH MONEY on new clothes.”
As you can see, the list can go on and on and on.
Now can you see the similarities between the fears of failure and success? We actually ARE–in both cases–fearing something NEGATIVE. Our actions are leading us to avoid the False Events Appearing Real (I’ve been hearing this acronym all my life, and I don’t claim to have made it up. But let me know IF YOU KNOW who actually came up with it!) to protect ourselves. So, whichever we are fearing–failure or success–the psychology behind the fear is the same.
Have you been experiencing the fear of success? Is there something you REALLY WANT, but you just can’t seem to escape the bane of procrastination? The one thing that has helped me most to conquer this fear is a tip I got from Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
Whatever happens, I’ll handle it.
If we focus on the things we can control, and let go of the things we cannot, we find peace (The Serenity Prayer). And SUCCESS!
David is also Managing Principal of Spendown Finance, a small & midsize business funding company in Richmond, VA.
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