We often hear people talk about the fear of failure acting as an impediment to motivating people toward possible positive changes in their lives. However, what is not talked about as much but is just as debilitating, is the fear of success.
Have you ever experienced feeling good about where you were in your life? You were experiencing a point in your life where things were going well and things were falling into place nicely. Then, all of a sudden, your began feeling anxious and on some level, overwhelmed. You can’t figure out why you’re feeling like this. In order to alleviate those uncomfortable feelings you unconsciously sabotage yourself and end up behaving in the old ways that may not be where you want to be but are ways that you are used to.
This may all sound crazy to you. After all, you want to be successful in life. Feeling overwhelming anxiety is something totally unexpected. After all, fear of failure is more known and something to be avoided. However, success is something society encourages and is seen as a positive endeavor. So why would you sabotage yourself? The answer is that change is scary, even if it is positive. This is especially true if it is something beyond the norm of how you view yourself.
So what can you do about it? One choice can be to maintain the status quo and not go through the discomfort of change. Stepping out into the unknown can be more scary than staying in an ultimately less fulfilling, yet familiar situation.
However, if you choose otherwise, here’s a few steps you can take to effectively deal with those debilitating fears.
- Face the fact that you are afraid and not think any less of yourself for admitting that you are. You’re not weak or inferior to others, just overwhelmed.
- Be honest with yourself and examine exactly what are the reasons you are afraid and not judge yourself as being abnormal for having such thoughts. Common reasons can include that you’re thinking you don’t have what it takes to be successful or are not worthy of success or being successful is not what you feel about yourself inside.
- Once you recognize the source(s) of your fear of success, consciously make choices for yourself that are right and true for you. This will not make you a different person (one of the sources of fears of success). In reality, it will make you more of the person you are.
- Push through your fear in spite of how debilitating and scary the feeling is.
- Understanding, nonjudgmental and supportive people can help tremendously. Choose wisely and don’t be ashamed to seek them out.
- Confidence is over rated. It’s courage that counts in the long run.
- Know that you are better than you think you are and deserve more than you think you do.
- Success doesn’t happen overnight. It take time and effort, with many failures along the way. The object is not to let failures define you but rather interpret them as being stepping stones to eventual success.
As always, you can e-mail me, Ray Shocki PhD at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments and/or suggestions.