Fear of success: what it is & how to overcome it

Fear of success can have a nasty habit of sneaking up on you, when you’re least expecting it. When you’re just on the verge of achieving what you want, things seemingly start to go wrong. You start noticing those things that are less than perfect or are irritating you. You may even begin to question your abilities and suitability, as a result.

It’s frustrating and irritating, isn’t it! I’ve seen it in so many of my clients. They want to move forward and know what they want to achieve, but every time they come close, it seems that things don’t play out the way they expect them to, leading them to question their actions, slam on those breaks or even change direction altogether. Worse still, they know they’ve been working so hard towards their goals, but they just can’t work out what’s wrong with themselves or their actions.

Except there probably isn’t anything wrong with either – it’s the thought processes that are to blame. That sneaky fear of success has reared its head again.

Fear of success – how it manifests in your life

Let’s be honest, there’s a part of you that thinks if success was meant for you – you feel it would be a lot easier to achieve than this. 

Except it wouldn’t be – success is something you still have to work for. Fear of failure does tend to crop up for many of us. However, the one thing that can hold you back more than a fear of failure, is the fear of success.

Fear of success can manifest in many different ways. That’s what tends to make it more difficult for you to uncover. So here’s some of the more common ways it can show up for you.

Procrastinating over the things you know you need to do

If you’re not completing projects, have a lack of focus and are easily distracted from the task at hand, you could be up against a fear of failure. That procrastination is designed to sabotage that forward progression you’ve been experiencing up to this point. 

Self sabotage isn’t just about procrastination

We all know what procrastination looks like for us, but there are other ways you could be self sabotaging your success too. These can include scenarios such as missing the only train that will get you to your new client interview, getting into arguments with your nearest and dearest, and waiting for the right mood or muse to come along, so you can finish that project.

Worrying about how your success will affect those people around you 

Sometimes, the fear of success is wrapped around self worth issues. This shows up as you worrying about how other people will react to your success. Will they stop loving you for who you’ve become or what you’ve done? Will people treat you differently, if you have success and money? Putting a negative spin on how others will treat you as a result of your success, will scare you away from even trying to reach your goals.

Not promoting and marketing yourself

If you’re hiding yourself away from the world, you’re running away from success. The idea of standing out and being different, fuels that fear further. You stop promoting yourself and will find yourself scheduling in time to work on being visible – but finding you just never get around to fulfilling that task. The idea of being out there and being vulnerable under that spotlight, immediately fills you with a fear over being judged over how you look, what you say and what you’re doing.

Worrying about how you will change as a result

One of the big fears over success is the fear that you’ll somehow change as a result – and you will. But it’s the uncertainty of knowing how exactly, that’s the most worrying. There’s the thought that you may seem unspiritual, shallow or selfish as a result of your success – especially if you’ve come from a religious or spiritual-based background, or have issues with taking money for your gifts. Another fear is that of losing your integrity – because you want to keep your values and friends in tact.

All talk, no action

A big indication that you’re struggling over a fear of success, is the realisation that you do an awful lot of talking and planning – but there’s no action or forward momentum taking place. Those things you’ve been planning have probably been your goals for years – but you never seem to get any closer to doing them.

You know you’re not giving something your all 

One of the most frustrating things about the fear of success is, you know you’re not giving it your all, but you can’t figure out why. You’re holding back, finding excuses to stay where you are and looking for solutions, but you can’t seem to get to the bottom of your issues.

10 Action strategies to overcome that fear of success

If any of the above ring true for you, there could be an underlying fear of success hiding in the sidelines. As I’ve seen in many of my success transformation clients, once you’ve established a fear of success, you need to implement steps to eliminate it. At its core, fear of success is often based on self worth issues, where you’re worrying about what others think of you, anxiety over your abilities and a belief that you don’t deserve success. Past conditioning can lead you to believe that you’re not worthy of love or success and, if you do achieve either, you may end up losing the people who love you as a result. That’s why the mthods I use are so good at clearing this fear of success – it deals with those core, underlying issues of self worth, self love and worthiness.

If however, you’d like to implement some other strategies to overcome that fear of success, here’s my top ten suggestions.

#1: Become aware of what you’re doing

Address what’s going on and shine a light on it. Get vulnerable with it and see what arises from that inspection. Be honest with yourself – we’re great at deceiving ourselves, but not so great at being honest about what we’re experiencing. So see it, call it for what it is and be prepared to eliminate it.

#2: You are worthy of this! 

As I say in my transformation sessions with clients – you are worthy of love, money and success in your life. Work on your self worth and remind yourself – you are so worthy of this!

#3: Visualise that end result

Visualise where you’re headed and how your end result will look for you. Do this daily and remind yourself that you deserve that end goal. See it, smell it, feel it and believe you can have it. 

#4: Remind yourself of what you’re doing this for

Focus on the benefits of achieving that success you’re after. Remind yourself of what you’re getting from what you’re doing – bigger bank balance, job satisfaction, ability to help more people – and the larger impact it will have on yourself, as well as everyone you come into contact with. How can you positively impact others, as a result – what’s the bigger picture at play?

#5: Not everyone will love what you’re doing and achieving – and that’s okay. 

During client sessions I include the affirmation – I am loved. It’s there to remind you that, no matter who you are and what you do, you are loved. There will be people that may not like what you’re doing or how you’re going about it, but you are always loved – by other people, the Universe and spirit.

#6: Allow yourself to get excited over who you’re becoming and what you’re doing. 

Remember that earlier visualisation? Look at who you are in that vision. How do you act? What do you look like? What kind of life do you live? Allow yourself to get excited over who you’re becoming! Yes, you will be changing, but look at what you’re gaining, and who you’re becoming, as a result.

#7: Work on your money mindset. 

Money and success are interlinked, so work on getting a healthy money mindset in place. If you feel humble giving a percentage of your money to charity or paying it forward in some way, do this. Another great option is giving your time – such as offering your services and skills to those who need it or volunteering in your spare time.

#8: Re-label change 

Success will inevitably lead to change, and change is inevitable – but it is also uncomfortable, new and uncharted. Re-label that nervous feeling as excitement or a feeling of getting into alignment.

#9: Know how excitement and anxiety feel for you. 

Many people confuse the two – and success can bring on feelings of both. How do they feel different for you? Remember an incident where you felt excitement and see where you feel it – now do the same with a traumatic or anxious one. They will feel slightly different – one may flip your stomach, whilst the other makes it feel heavy, your breathing may change and your pulse quicken. Notice those changes and get to know their differences, so you can correctly label them in future.

#10: Feel that fear and do it anyway

For many, the biggest fear in life is the fear of change itself. It’s that feeling of losing control and not being in charge of your own life. So, learn to let go and take that next step – push yourself forward. Change is natural and something we all experience. It can be both amazing and scar,- but it always happens anyway. 

By changing your mindset around success, you’ll be taking the courageous step of honouring yourself, your goals and your wins. By using the above pointers you’ll be able to both identify fear of success behaviour, whilst also equipping yourself with the tools needed to eliminate it from your life – and freeing yourself to achieve those levels of success you truly deserve to have!

Find out more about me, how we can work together, or take the success saboteur archetype quiz to find out what is blocking your next level of success.

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