How To Overcome The Fear Of Being Successful In Life

5 Ways to Deal With Any Internal Struggles That May Be Preventing You From Getting What You Want

We often hear about people letting their fear of failure prevent them from going for their dreams or following their passions.

While the fear of failure is commonly known, the fear of success is just as powerful but not easily recognised.

At a conscious level, most people would say they want to have more success in their lives, depending on how they define success. However, very few people will admit or even know, they may have a fear of being more successful.

All fears are internally generated. In order to become more aware of our fears, we have to be willing to spend time doing some self-reflection and introspection.

Causes of the Fear of Success

While there may be many causes or reasons for someone to have a fear of success, some of the ones to be aware of are:

  • Not wanting to be seen in a bigger way.
  • Not wanting to be taken advantage of.
  • Not wanting to stand out or be perceived as better than those around us.
  • Not wanting to embrace the truth that we have greatness within us.
  • Being comfortable playing small and conforming to what others expect of us.

The reasons behind our fears are almost always untrue. Once we start challenging them, we’ll find they’re simply ideas we’ve made up based on our past experiences or things we’ve learned.

Fear of success vs fear of failure

Signs Someone May Fear Being Successful

  • They tend not to complete things, saying they’re still working on them.
  • They have a habit of moving from one thing to the next, without actually seeing anything all the way through.
  • They make themselves out to be busier than they really are as a way to avoid exploring new opportunities coming their way.
  • They often question whether their work is good enough and hesitate to share it with others.
  • They work on the same project, year after year, without any real progress.
  • They often have grand plans on what they are going to do, without actually ever doing them.

5 Things You Can Do to Overcome the Fear of Being Successful

Just like dealing with the fear of failure, there are things we can do to overcome any fear of success we may have.

  1. Define what success looks like to you. As we all have different ideas on what success means, we first must be clear on what it means to us. Once we have formed a picture of the success we want, then we can start working backwards and deal with whatever we need to as they come up, once we start taking action.
  2. Work with a professional. The fear of success is really an internal fear, which means there may be deep rooted beliefs we’ve formed over the years that are dictating the things we’re willing or not willing to do. Working with a professional like a counsellor, therapist or coach can help us get to the root cause of our fears.
  3. Identify the obstacles on your success path. A success path is simply defining where we want to be and where we currently are in relation to where we want to be. The more clarity we have around those two points, the easier it’ll be to identify the external and internal obstacles that may be on our path to success.
  4. Develop a plan and hold yourself accountable. To achieve the success we want, it’s highly beneficial to develop a plan to get there. This doesn’t mean we have to exactly know every step of the journey. It’s a way to help us know whether we’re on track or not. Having someone who’ll challenge us and hold us accountable is a powerful way to ensure we don’t fall back to our old patterns and behaviours.
  5. Immerse yourself in learning and implementation. We can overcome any obstacle in life through a higher level of awareness, guidance and experience. These are acquired through education and by taking action. As we take action, our results will provide feedback as to what’s working and what we can do to improve.

These things will require a strong commitment and continuous focus, over a period of time, in order to overcome the fear of success. The more attention we give these, the quicker we’ll be able to conquer any fears we may have of being successful in life.

Whenever we start becoming aware of the signs that we may fear being successful, there are certain questions we can ask ourselves. These include:

  • By not being more successful, how are the lives of people in my life being impacted?
  • What’s my real fear and are they true?
  • How am I currently stopping myself or standing in the way of achieving the success I claim I want?
  • Is the success I’m after what I really want?
  • What will happen or improve in my life when I’m successful?

As we start asking ourselves better, empowering questions, we’ll receive better, intelligent answers, that can help us overcome the fear of being more successful.

Action Step: Spend some time reflecting on whether you have any fears around being successful in life. Start off by defining what success looks like to you, then apply the ideas that are relevant to you so that you can keep moving forward towards what you want.

Question: What is something else we can do to overcome the fear of being more successful in life?

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