Developing A Success Mindset
Conquering the Fear of Success
While the fear of failure is a clear reason why many of us avoid pursuing our goals, there is another fear that is often harder to recognize: the fear of success.
Why would you be afraid of success, you ask? There are several reasons:
Lack of belief in yourself. If you don’t truly believe in your own ability to get (and stay) successful, you will avoid forward progress at all costs. You may subconsciously feel that even if others believed you to be successful, you would still feel like a fraud. That would be an uncomfortable position to be in, so you hold yourself back until you feel “ready” to be successful.
Fearing increased responsibility. You might be resisting a higher level of achievement because you don’t feel capable of handling all the responsibility that would inevitably come with it. Once you become successful, you will have certain obligations and steps that need to be taken in order to maintain your level of success. That can be frightening and intimidating, and you may doubt your ability to handle new challenges you will face.
Low self-worth. If you don’t believe you deserve to be successful and happy, you will naturally gravitate toward a position in life that matches your self-image. If you believe you deserve to be earning $15,000 per year, you will continue to do so. Trying to force yourself to increase your income will be futile because subconsciously you will resist it. You will view increased abundance with suspicion, wondering “what’s the catch?” – even if there is none!
Worries about what others will think. This actually goes along with low self-worth. You may have a habit of letting others define you rather than forging your own path. You might believe that rich and successful people are dishonest, cruel, rude, cold, greedy, or any number of other stereotypes.
General negative expectations. You may not have any identifiable fears about success, but rather experience a general sense of uneasiness or resistance to it. You might simply be afraid of the unknown, or pessimistic about the longevity of your success.
There are many more possible reasons to fear success, but they don’t matter for the purposes of this book. What does matter is figuring out what YOUR fears are (if you feel you may have some).
Here is a simple exercise to help you know for sure if you might be afraid of success:
Give some thought to what success means to you. What vision do you have for your life? What can you see yourself doing, how much money can you see yourself earning, where can you see yourself living, etc.? Write this information down.
Now read it again. If you were able to step into this new reality right now, how would you feel? Would you hesitate? Maybe tell yourself that it’s too good to be true? Would you shy away from one part of your vision or another?
Take your time and think about this for as long as you need to, because your fears WILL make themselves known if you give them the opportunity. Once they do, you will be able to work through and resolve them forever.
Hint: most fears relating to success are completely groundless. We fear the possibility of something happening, but such an occurrence is so remote that it’s not even worth worrying about. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we realize we were just being paranoid.
However, even with realistic fears that aren’t so groundless, we are usually pleased and surprised to discover that we already have the ability to work through any challenges they may present. The realization of our fear ends up not being such a big deal after all.
If, during the above exercise, you can’t come up with a single uneasy feeling regarding your success, then it is possible that you simply don’t have any fear of success. Not everyone does. Your sole obstacle might be staying disciplined, or forming a solid plan, or even simply getting clear about what you really want.
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