The Fear of Success: Self-Sabotage

Do you embrace success? Do you envision yourself with health, wealth, and other abundance? In going after your hopes and desires, you might be surprised to encounter that you have a fear of success.. I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out…

If you find yourself achieving only small, fleeting successes, but the great things you deserve always seem just out of reach, you may be unconsciously fearful of achieving those bigger goals.

Fear of success is tough to identify and understand because the causes are frequently hidden from conscious awareness. Fear may be lurking in your subconscious and you may never even discover that this challenge exists within you without some real probing.

Existence of this kind of subconscious fear can easily erode your confidence and drive from the inside and cause you to self-sabotage the pursuit of your most cherished dreams. So how do you find out if your actions are motivated by fear of success?

Is the Fear of Success Sabotaging You?

Think of a goal that you’d like to achieve. Then, take 20-30 minutes and answer the following question: “What will happen if I succeed?” Write down everything you can think of – both good and bad consequences of achieving your goal. Be completely honest with yourself on this.

It’s important to take at least 20 minutes to answer the question. Your early answers are likely to be superficial. Simply keep writing for at least 20 minutes. Put down everything that comes to mind. Don’t analyze or judge, just write. Nothing is too silly or too small. If, after 20 minutes, you’re still getting good stuff, then keep on going.

Suppose your goal is to make $250,000 this year. You might include items like these in your list:

  • I’ll be able to pay all my bills.
  • I can buy a new car.
  • I can go on a vacation.
  • I’ll have to pay a lot in taxes.
  • My brother will want a loan.
  • I don’t know what to do with the money after I’ve got it.
  • People will treat me differently.
  • I should get a new house. But where would I live?
  • My partner will try to spend it all.
  • I’ll probably just lose it or invest it incorrectly.

In your excitement, you might quickly write down some of the things you’ve wanted to buy, and, once you have the money, you can. But then, as you delve further into all your feelings about achieving your goal, some of the not-so-positive consequences of your achievement appear on your page.

Some of these consequences may reveal things you fear happening if you really achieved your goal.

Goals are never completely free of fear. Achievement always involves change, and all change involves some apprehension. You might truly desire to be successful, but if the feelings of fear due to the changes outweigh the positive feelings in your mind, progress will be slow and challenging.

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Success

If you can make yourself aware of your apprehensions, you have the opportunity to attack each of them and eliminate them or at least minimize them so that you can make progress.. As the saying goes, ‘Awareness is Half the Battle.’

Facing these fears head-on is very powerful. Fears that are not acknowledged tend to grow stronger. Fears that are examined tend to be minimized, which will help you to take aggressive action towards the completion of a goal.

Ultimately, if you look closely at your fears, you’ll see that the perceived side effects are what often seem scariest when pursing goals. So before you give up on your plans, ask yourself what would happen if you were ultimately successful. Tackle your fears head on and you can start achieving your dreams today!

Steve Jakubecz

Consultant, Coach and Purveyor of Perspective

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