𝗙𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀
Updated: Oct 22
The fear of failure is discussed openly. We know what it’s like to fail, and once you eventually rebound, it builds confidence and experience.
Past failures often produce great, memorable stories.
The fear of success, however, is usually unnoticeable and unspoken.
Success can cause drastic changes financially and socially, along with increased publicity, expectation, and scrutiny.
Ways It Plays Out
Experiencing or imagining these harsh changes leads to fear of success.
Sometimes, we're so afraid of the expected consequences of success, or the early changes caused by success, that we unintentionally sabotage ourselves.
The sabotage can present itself as a lack of goals, giving up easily, procrastination, and even self-destruction.
These traits disguise the underlying fear of success. For instance, what appears to be laziness is actually anxiety around achieving.
Ways to Manage the Fear of Success
Visualize the Future
Picture yourself as successful. What are the consequences you see?
Compare the expected concerns against the new opportunities. If the benefit to being successful is larger, then value the tradeoff.
Also, face any concerns directly. For example, if you are anxious about being in public more, block recurring times for isolated, deep work.
Confer with Others
Seek friends and advisors for advice. If you’re lucky, some of them have gone through similar success and can describe the pros and cons.
Find leaders or coaches with experience in your business situation and explain your specific concerns.
Look for people who admit success and its new challenges can be difficult and who can explain both triumph and pain from success.
Depending on its severity, these practices may help to relieve stress:
Breathing Exercises / Meditation
Visualizing or Visiting a Calm Place
Exercising / Muscle Relaxation
Fear of success may be an unconscious way of recognizing that you truly don't want to go in a certain direction.
If your success is being driven by others’ desires and expectations (e.g. pressure from parents or investors), you are doing yourself a disservice.
Before you feel compelled to change the world, channel Leo Tolstoy:
"Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself."
Even if you want to be successful, these tips may not be enough. You may have to dig deeper with professional help.
A fear of success can sabotage your plans. Know yourself. If this is the path you really want, then find the right way to face your fears.