Everyone should want to succeed at what they do or say they want, right? After all, isn't that what we strive for? In theory, success is a positive goal, the result of the work you do. Yet it's common to also be scared of success--what will happen if you actually get there. Fear of the unknown can sabotage your efforts to be successful. Fear of success creates blocks that prevent you from achieving it.
In my people pleasing days, fear ruled me on many levels. Being insecure, I worried about how I'd handle a new or different scenario, even if it was a good one. People pleasers prefer to keep things status quo, even if the status quo makes them unhappy. The idea of navigating something new and exciting can seem daunting to someone with low confidence. I sabotaged opportunities without quite knowing why.
Some common concerns that contribute to fear of success are:
* Will success change me or how others see or treat me? Sometimes there's no choice if you're pushed to maintain an image or people expect too much of you if you don't create a new façade. But, if you're conscious of who you are and where your passions lie, you can stay true to you. Be the same person you are now and your real friends won't change, even if you have to don a cooler façade at professional events.
* Will I be disappointed when I get what I strive for? You might be successful but it may not generate the money, opportunities or high profile that you hoped for. Or, if you're not happy already, you may not feel as happy as you expected to be from reaching this level. When you're not happy on the inside, you look to external factors for happiness. That often creates a let-down when you get it, because career success doesn't create real long-lasting happiness if you're unhappy.
* Can I handle success? Subconsciously, you might be used to struggling. Or, deep down you might not feel worthy of success or of being able to live up to people's expectations of you. Write down what success means to you. What expectations do you see? Figure out if any of it makes you nervous, and why. Become conscious of these things to find ways around them. Then make a list of all the good things success will bring you. If you get scared, focus on that list.
* Will there be pressure on me to increase my success? There are a lot of one-hit wonders. Maintaining success can seem daunting. You may be okay with achieving the initial accomplishment. But pressure to surpass it may be the scary part. Take it day by day. Faith helps you triumph over this kind of fear.
* Will I have to make more decisions? You may worry that life will get more complicated at the next level of what you're doing. More obligations can dampen your freedom of creative flow, even if they're good opportunities. Success can rein you in a little if you have to commit to things that will make your life more rigid or deprive you of free time. Focus on the rewards.
* Will my work still be enjoyable? The road to success may seem more pleasurable than getting to a goal. Before my first book deal, I was afraid success might dim my passion for writing. The urgency to work hard fueled me to write and I didn't want to lose it. But eventually I knew I was more likely to lose the passion if I kept writing books no one read. Knowing that my books have a receptive audience is a bigger motivation than struggling. Look for the pleasure in your choices.
Just as failures teach you about yourself and how to do things better, so does success. If you feel something is holding you back, ask yourself what might scare you about actually achieving your desire. How do you feel about those factors? Talk it out with a good friend to separate true concerns from the "what ifs." Then work on your inner intentions for what you really want out of your career.
Use positive affirmations to defeat the fear. "I intend to become more successful with ease." "I'm worthy of and ready for great success." Fear will always be there. It's how you handle it that counts. Consciousness and determination get you to the other side.
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