How to Overcome the Fear of Success

Fear of hitting the target

Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela.

Human beings are complex, and the way each reacts to different situations and anticipate results is completely different based on multiple psychological and physiological factors. The goal of most people is to succeed in life, whether in terms of buying a home, a car, advancing in their career, or earning more.

Unfortunately, when it comes to facing the challenges with success as the goal, many people are overcome by fear, which then causes them to miss out on the opportunity. For instance, a person may want to get a better job, and when the chance comes an overwhelming paralysis gets them, and suddenly they are afraid of leaving their old position.

Man not reaching the end goal
View of a businessman lying on a race track

Here are the most common versions of fear of success:

1. The Fear of not coping with Success

Even when a certain position does not feel right on the surface, people who fear success find more comfort in it because it is familiar. They feel that trying to move towards success is more of getting to unchartered territory. It feels like more of exposing themselves to criticism and the pressures and demands of the new field. A large percentage would rather not take this risk. Embrace the new beginning, which you can learn about here.

2. How to Deal with it

The idea of success can be downright scary for anyone. The imagination of moving to the next level is most of the times only possible in the mind and not in reality. You need to think outside your comfort zone and face your fears. Although there will be new things to be learned and changes to get used to, human beings are adaptive meaning you can gradually meet success if you put your mind to it. If you are afraid of success, think about all the good things it will bring you including confidence, a larger network, a bigger bank balance, and a better reputation. Click here to read about “the secret” to it.

3. The Fear of Being Someone Else

Successful people are often put on a pedestal. The thought of becoming one causes most people to fear being someone other people will not want to associate with.

woman holding out her hand in a sign for "no"

What should you do about it?

Rather than thinking about success in terms of the people you might lose, think about all the good things it will bring you. That includes discoveries and facets. Getting used to a new role can be exciting, and you can still be the old person your family and friends knew. You only need to create time for them.

What is the Fear of Success?

This is a psychological phobia stemming from trauma, mistaken beliefs, and personality traits. Wiki defines it as imposter syndrome, whereby an individual doubts their own accomplishments and have developed a pattern of internalized fear of being labeled as a fraud. People who fear success are afraid of what others will think about them, excessive attention, social pressure, and fear of unknown. Read about how you can think and grow rich easily.

Usually, this fear stems from childhood conditioning and the absence of self-trust. Understand that in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. This fear is linked to low self-worth, usually driven by the belief you carry inside about yourself. Why are some people so successful while others are not? Are you not successful because you are more afraid of success than failure? If that’s the case, how should you reach success?

You need to narrow down your beliefs and summarize what you feel or think about yourself. Once you identify them, spend some time to counteract them. Use affirmations such as “it’s okay for me to succeed” or “haters will always hate” and begin following your goal. You need to start paying attention to how you try to avoid success and perhaps journal them or express them through creativity such as art. There is no magic solution, but at least realizing that you are sabotaging yourself is half the battle.

Symptoms of Fear of Success

  • Lack of motivation to complete projects
  • Avoiding responsibility
  • Refusing to set goals
  • Failing to honor deadlines
  • Habitual procrastination
  • Turning opportunities down
  • Avoiding responsibility
  • Limiting yourself to positions that you can accept
  • Making excuses and sabotaging yourself in negative self-talk

Fearing success is being afraid of your own power. It may look like procrastination and insecurity, but when it becomes habitual, it is more than that. There are many reasons people fear success. Some of the reasons include:

  • Feeling they are not worthy of success: Internally, most people critic themselves and feel they should not be the ones getting into a certain level but someone else who they perceive better than them.
  • Self-doubt: Failing to trust your abilities
  • Hate for attention: Most people, especially introverts, hate being in the limelight. Shy people also enjoy staying in the shadows due to the lack of self-confidence.
  • Fear of rejection: Most people are afraid of being ahead of their colleagues, friends, and partners. Most people fear the jealousy and revenge that may come with success.

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. It is a phobia that develops without conscious awareness, so it is not your fault. Now that you know, you can intentionally work towards it. One of the best ways to overcome these self-sabotaging tendencies is reading inspirational books and listening to motivational talks from people such as Brad Yates and Tony Robbins.  Reaching out to a qualified psychologist may help you go through a guided meditation for letting go of the fear of success.

Many people are driven to be successful in their social lives, career, and other dimensions of life. It appears to be an innate drive that takes different shapes along the way. For you to achieve success, failure has to be experienced. Low levels of fear can be motivating, but when they are high one can begin to develop a full-blown phobia that can in turn cripple progress.  Do not allow fear to paralyze and hold you back from trying new things or taking a risk. Following your goal and learning how to turn failure into success should be your daily mantras.