It is well documented that many people fail to achieve their goals in life due to the
phenomenon known as "fear of failure". Are you aware that a major factor often
overlooked, is a state known as "fear of success"?
There are many tools in the field of personal development to help combat the fear of
failure and reprogram the mind for success. However, the “fear of success” is much
more subtle, harder to spot and can be harder to eradicate.
There was a period in my life when I would reach for goals that I wanted to achieve but
would always settle for far less that what I knew I was capable of achieving. I had no
clue that this was a sign that I had a fear of success. In my mind, I thought everyone
wanted success and no one was afraid to achieve it. Boy was I wrong. The funny thing
here that most people I knew just assumed I was very successful because of various
outward appearances. But honestly, number 2 and 3 below were “unconscious go to’s”
for a long time. Until I learned there was such a thing as “fear of success”, I struggled to
understand why my efforts did not always produce the results I wanted. Perhaps you
have some of the same tendencies in your life. Here are a few indications of that fear of
You study and try to implement self-improvement techniques and/or personal development tools, but your life does not improve or may even get worse.
You settle for less than you are capable of achieving or feel you deserve.
You start new projects full of enthusiasm and optimism but wane in your efforts or stop short before you have completed them.
You expect things to go wrong no matter how well the situation appears to be.
Can you identify your own patterns in any of the above statements?
The fear of success can make you behave in ways that hold you back. I can certainly
attest to that. Take a look at the list below. These are a few symptoms of the fear of
Procrastination - putting off what needs to be done or not doing what you know will bring you closer to your desired result. Everyone suffers from this inner demon at some point in their lives (although some of us suffer from it more than others!).
Can't see the forest for the trees. This is almost the opposite of procrastination but has the same effect on your success.
Getting caught up in the plan details. Believing that your “plan” (business plan, life plan, etc.) is more important than the emerging goal.
Thinking that the time is not right - have you ever waited until the timing was perfect before starting a venture? Have you ever waited until you had more information or a better plan? (Another form of procrastination).
Being a perfectionist – this ensures that you never move forward.
Seeing only problems
To counteract the symptoms described above, follow the guidelines below and you will
achieve success. Eventually your fear of success will dissipate, and you will have
moved a long way forward in reaching your dreams and goals for a better life.
Remember that procrastination is a "success killer". How can you expect to reach your destination if you fail to take a step toward it? Strive to do little things each day that will bring you closer to your goal. Having a personal development plan is an essential ingredient in the fight against procrastination. Take action! Any action! Refine your steps as you go along but do something every day toward your goals. Taking action is one of the key ingredients to achieving success.
Don't get caught up in your plan believing that it is more important than the emerging goal. For many years I got caught in this trap. I started to think and act as though my plan was more important than my end result, I missed many opportunities to alter my path and reach my goals more quickly! Let go of your ego and allow the Universe to show you a quicker route to your goal. Remain flexible.
Remember, no matter how good a job is when it’s finished, it can always be improved! I have heard many great musicians tell how they hate listening to their own songs because they can find a million things that need improvement. Yet, we still enjoy them. A classic example of this is Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Paul Simon. This song is hauntingly beautiful, yet Mr. Simon did not think it was good enough.
ACTION is the key to the door to success. Taking small steps forward is definitely better than taking none or waiting to see if your foot is landing on the right spot! Even if your actions take you away from your goal you have at least gained insight and knowledge about what does not work, so take action daily.
"How can I use seeing only problems to my advantage," you ask. Easily, is my reply! Look at the problems and prepare a plan to deal with them. Every time you overcome an obstacle, congratulate yourself. Use obstacles as a gauge for your achievements. If you keep seeing more obstacles, remind yourself of how well you dealt with the others. Look at how far you have come! If you see a problem, ask yourself: "How can I best overcome this challenge?" or "How can I quickly rectify this situation?"
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