Is a Fear of Success Holding You Back

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Is a Fear of Success Holding You Back

Category : Personal growth

Is a Fear of Success Holding You Back?

A fear of failure often stands in the way of people achieving their goals, but did you know that people often fail because of a “fear of success”? What?! How can someone be afraid of success?

Fear of failure is fairly easy to spot–it lures people into inertia, and they fail to take any action that might lead to rejection or other negative feedback. The fear of success, on the other hand, is both harder to spot and harder to eradicate.

Think a fear of success might be holding you back? Here are some characteristic behaviors in people who fear success:

  • Studying and trying to implement self-improvement techniques and/or personal development tools, but nothing improves.
  • Settling for less than you feel you deserve or are capable of achieving.
  • Starting new projects full of enthusiasm and optimism, but then losing your motivation and stopping before you complete them.
  • Expecting things to go wrong no matter how well things are going.

Can you identify your own patterns in the any of the above statements?

Overcome Your Fear of Success

The fear of success can make you behave in ways that hold you back. Here are some key behaviors in those who have a fear of success, and some ways to get you back on track!

Procrastinating

Are you constantly putting off what needs to be done? Everyone suffers from this inner demon at some point in their lives (although some of us suffer from it more than others!).

Procrastination is a success killer! It’s easy to come up with all sorts of excuses why we *didn’t* make any progress toward our goals–I had to do the laundry, my friend called, it’s the premiere of that show my partner likes–but how can you expect to reach your destination if you don’t take steps towards it?

Make it your mission EVERY DAY to do one thing that takes you closer to your goal. Make a list of all the things you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal.  Then look at your list and break it down into even smaller actions.

For example, say you need to prepare for a road trip.  Your list may look something like this:

– Get car tuned up
– Buy groceries
– Pack clothes
– Plan route

Seems like a straightforward enough list, but each of these items can be broken down even further, to make them easier to accomplish. For example:

– Get car tuned up
1) Find phone number for shop
2) Call shop and make appointment
3) Download and print out coupon
4) Call Jane and ask for a ride while car is in shop

See how much easier it is to act on the second list?

Make a plan, break your plan down, and do at least one thing on the list every day.

Not seeing the forest for the trees!

Sometimes it’s easy to convince yourself that the plan itself is more important than the end goal.  That leads to many missed opportunities to alter your path and reach your goals more quickly! Let go of your ego and allow the Universe to show you a quicker route to your goal. Remain flexible.

Waiting for the perfect timing…

“I can’t start now, I have *insert excuse #893 here*…”

How often have you waited until the timing was perfect before starting something new? We have a tendency to wait until our life is perfectly calm, or until we have every single possible piece of information in place, or until we think we have enough money…

ACTION is the key to the door to success. Any action. In the absence of a clear plan, take action anyway… it will either help you get closer to your goal or not.  If it doesn’t, that’s okay.  Edison said,

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

But the key is you’ve got to at least start.

Being a perfectionist

I have a confession to make.  I wanted to start a website like this for YEARS, and kept coming up with all sorts of excuses why it wasn’t ready to go live yet.  Most of my excuses had to do with the design, and the writing… I wanted every little thing to be PERFECT.

And then one day my Aunt Tauna said something that made me realize I wasn’t doing *anything* because of my ridiculous obsession with perfection.  She said,

There is perfect, and there is done, and I prefer done.

Just remember that no matter how good a job is when it’s finished, it can always be improved. I have heard of many actors who can’t watch their own movies because they can find a million things that need to be improved.  The same goes for musicians. Yet, we still enjoy their performances. I think a classic example of this is “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon. This song is hauntingly beautiful, yet Mr. Simon doesn’t think it’s good enough!

Stop using perfection as an excuse, or you will rapidly go nowhere.

Seeing only problems

Do you have a tendency to see only problems? I know that sounds like a bad habit, and it can be, but you’re in good company. Einstein himself said,

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Next time you catch yourself focusing on a problem, you can keep yourself from getting stuck there by adding one little change to your thought process.

Don’t just stop at noticing there is a problem.  Take it a step further and define the problem thoroughly.  Okay, you’ve identified a problem.  Why is it a problem? Are there multiple aspects to this problem? Is this problem blocking your only way forward, or are there ways around this problem? Is it actually a real problem right now, or is it just a potential problem? etc.

The better you can define your problem, the better the chances that you’ll be able to come up with a solution.

Enjoy the journey

As you work on the items in the above list, make sure to stop and enjoy the journey.  This sounds cliché, I know, but it’s really very important.  One of the key ways to do this is to be grateful for everything you have, everything you’ve accomplished, and everything you have going for you.

By being grateful for your success so far, you start to see it in a positive light, and start to allow more of it into your life.  Eventually, your fear of success will dissipate and you will have moved a long way forward in your personal development!


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