Fear of success, when you’re too afraid to take risks and move forward with your goals, is similar to fear of failure. Both fears can hold you back from achieving your dreams and goals.
What causes fear of success? Possible reasons include anxiety of what success will bring, risk-aversion, fear of jeopardizing relationships and dread over added work.
Fearing success may make you feel guilty about your success, especially around less successful people. As a result, you may not want to tell people about your accomplishments. You may avoid or procrastinate on big projects, compromise your goals to avoid conflict and self-sabotage your own efforts. Subconsciously, fearing success may make you feel like you don’t deserve to succeed, rationalizing your accomplishments as underserved good fortune.
Here are several strategies to help you overcome a fear of success:
• Analyze your own fears to help diminish them and make success more achievable.
• Take a realistic look at the consequences of success, which can make the situation much less scary.
• Draft a backup plan that breaks down the consequences of success, such as increased workload, into manageable amounts to help lessen stress and anxiety.
The author of The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale summed it up well: No matter what your circumstances, if you create a mental image of yourself as a supreme success and hold tightly to that image, you will make that image become reality.
— Adapted from “Fear of Success: Overcoming Fear of Change,” MindTools.com.
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