Have you ever found yourself procrastinating and not really sure why you’re putting that thing off or maybe avoiding something and not really sure why you keep avoiding that thing? Well, today we’re going to talk about the fear of success.
No, I know it sounds crazy. The fear of success. How could you possibly be afraid of success? It makes absolutely no sense. I get it, and I was a skeptic too, but you know, fears had been around in my life for a very long time, longer than I care to admit. It more plays a more of a role in my life than I care to admit. And so I’ve always studied fear and I’ve always read about fear and try to understand it, and the more I grow and figure out about myself, the more I’ve tried to understand, okay, what exactly is this fear and fear of what exactly. Now the brother of fears of success is the fear of failure, right? If the fear of failure exist, and I think we can all agree that that’s a thing, we all get that right then it must hold true that the fear of success, the opposite must also be true and exist.
So what is it though? I never really understood. So when I would research this topic and try to understand it, what I would come across in this, first of all, this is very, very common. A lot of people have a fear of success. This is more common than you can believe. But what I were to read about other people’s stories, they would say things like, you know, if if I made more money, for example, they’d more money would mean that I would have more responsibility to be a good steward of that money. Or other people would expect things from me and they would expect me to take care of them because I would now have the resources to help it. And that, you know, the other example I would read is like a fear of promotion, uh, or, or a fear of success in a promotional setting.
So I’m not going to get that promotion because if I take that promotion, then that means it’s going to be more responsibility to the people that I work with. And that additional responsibility means that I might not have as much time to do the things that I want to be doing with my time, or I might not have, it might take away time from my family. And so subconsciously we would avoid the promotion or we to avoid the mate making more money because it would be a fear of, of that additional responsibility. Now I’d get right, I understand what that means, but it never really resonated for me. And I think that’s because when for better or worse, when someone demonstrates a need to me, I don’t really shy away from that. Like, if you can clearly articulate that you need something, I want to try to help people.I’m not afraid of that responsibility. So while I got what these other people were experiencing, how they were experiencing it, it just didn’t resonate with me. So I’m sitting in therapy and you know that I love therapy. I’m sitting in therapy and um, I start explaining to my therapist this thing that’s been going on with me and, and it’s like, you know, things are starting to fire more quickly for me. I’m starting to recognize the triggers, recognize why that person might, might make me feel that way and where that comes from and put it in place and know how to deal with it and know how to move forward. Right. I knowing why that situation causes me anxiety and I’m able to deal with it, recognize it and move forward. So things are really clicking. And so I asked my therapist, I’m like, Hey, what is this?
Is there a name for what I’m experiencing right now where things are just clicking things are, is firing on all cylinders for me? And he goes, well, he goes, you know, I don’t know if there’s really a name for it, but I understand what you’re saying. He says, that may mean, like he said that maybe a, what would be calling my world emotional maturation. And I got really excited about that because it was like, Oh my gosh, I’m maturing. I’m growing right there. This is all pay it off. And I got super excited about it, but I also, as soon as he said it, I said, okay, well when does therapy end? Whatever we done. And I think that that probably came off. It certainly sounded like a to my ear as in, um, well if we’ve done our job, this thing is over, let’s move on.
Right? But I love therapy and I, I’ve had people ask me, well, what are you going to stop therapy? Never. Right? I had no intentions of ever stopping. I really get a lot out of it. I like my therapist a lot. I get a lot out of the process, so I don’t want to stop. So why would I ask in that moment, Hey, when does all of this end? And what I’ve come to realize is when he said emotional maturation, to me, that was like, that represented a goal that represented a finish line that represented success. And so when he mentioned that it was success, I immediately got scared. Fear of this success. Because if I reached that success on the other end of that, I’m not sure what is going to happen. It creates a lot of uncertainty, uncertainty for me, if I were to achieve that goal and I didn’t like that, right?
Well, if I don’t have therapy, then what do I have? What do I do on Monday mornings if I don’t have therapy? Like who do I call when I have an issue? Right? If I don’t have therapy, how am I going to process and get feedback? All of these things start going through my mind, afraid of if I hit that goal, which he didn’t even say it was a goal. He was just like, it sounds like emotional moderation. I thought it was a goal. And so I immediately start into, well, what’s on the other side of that goal? And I got scared. So this immediately hit me. It’s like this is fear of success. So for me, and I’m speaking just for me, right? But the fear of success wasn’t about responsibility and additional responsibility that I read so much about and you can find so much about online.
But for me, achieving a goal and knowing what’s on the other side of it, the uncertainty of what’s on the other side of that goal is terrifying. Even though I want that goal, even though I want to achieve that thing, whether it be, you know, whatever it is in any area of my life, whatever that is, it creates anxiety about what’s next, right. What’s on the other side of that and that fear of uncertainty and what comes next overrides my, uh, you know, it’s, it’s almost like I sabotage the goal because that uncertainty is so dominating. Uh, it’s so dominant in my mind. So thinking of that, I, I always have to have a plan and I want to give you a plan. If you’re experiencing something like this or if this resonates with you, what do you do about that? And so I have a couple of ways that I think we can deal with it.
And the first one is, first of all, we have to recognize where it’s showing up for us. Okay. So there are three ways that I think that this shows up for us. One, are we procrastinating? Is there an area in our life where we’re like, keep putting that thing off. Keep putting that thing off. I’ll do it next year. I’ll do it next month. I’ll start that thing tomorrow. Are there things in our life that we keep procrastinating that we keep putting off? If so, I wonder if that’s a flag for if I do that, if I achieve it, if I get it done, what’s on the other side of it? So the first one is look for procrastination. The second things, something weird is happening outside. The second thing is avoidance or denial. So are we just pretending that that problem does not exist at all?
Is that how we’re coping with any issue that’s creeping up? Um, we’re just going to let it be, I think about earlier in my life. Debt, right? Accumulating credit card debt and thinking about, I’m just going to pretend that it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t exist, I don’t have to deal with it. And that’s a weird way to think about what’s on the other side of it. But sometimes our identities become intertwined with our current state. And if we change that identity, we don’t know who to be on the other side of it. And they can show up in really, really weird places, right? That’s an odd place for that to show up. But sometimes our identity can gets so tied in to the way things that are that we avoid moving those things and changing those situations. How to fear of who would we be without that attached to our identity.
So are we avoiding, are we just pretending that that does not exist? And the third thing is overanalyzing. So is there something in your life that you’re not acting on or you think that you’re acting on? You’re telling yourself that you’re acting on it, but really all you’re doing is over analyzing you. Just trying to figure it out, trying to figure it out all in your head. So not doing much about it, right? But writing plan after plan, strategy after strategy, analyzing, analyzing over and over and over. So when those three things start to show up, I am putting it off. I’m pretending it doesn’t exist or I’m just analyzing the heck out of it. I wonder if those are red flags for if I achieve it. I’m afraid of what might come, whether that’s responsibility or if that’s a, in my case, a fear of uncertainty on what’s on the other side of that thing.
So those are the three areas where I say, all right, pay attention to what’s going on. If you’re seeing one of those three things, really pay attention to what’s happening there. Now, what happens once you realize, all right, there’s this thing, this is what I’m doing. How do I move past this? All right, I’ve got three different ideas for you for how to cope with that. So the first one is going to be to condition to your mind, condition, your mind, what to expect on the other side. So in my case where it’s uncertainty that I’m trying to avoid, create certainty for what’s on the other side. Now I’m silly things to make this happen. All right? So one of the things that I do is I’ve literally got on the internet and taken screenshots of what I want my life to look like once I’ve got a goal.
And so I’ll condition my mind to see, right? Actually see, this is what my surroundings will look like. This is what my life will look like. These are the things that I’m going to experience on the other side of achieving this goal. And so I get up in the morning and I meditate. This is why meditation and being intentional about our efforts are so important. Sorry. That’s why that’s so important is we have to condition our mind to see that and become certain in that thing. So I literally, when I, before I meditate, I’ll watch my little video. It’s like 48 seconds long. So I’ll watch my video where I see images of the life I’m going to be living, right? I’m creating certainty. I know what’s on the other side of this goal. It’s not scary enough. Familiar. I have pictures of it. Okay.
And they, and so that’s, that’s a little silly thing I do and then be intentional. I set intentions about what it’s going to be, so I create a gap, right? That’s also creating the gap, so I’m saying this is what my life is, this is where I want to go. I can see that when I achieved my goal, I am certain about what that’s going to become. Second, you have to create discipline around the focus that you have on your outcomes. Think about a flight of stairs. When we go down a flight of stairs with, without thinking about it, we just put one foot in front of the other and go down the stairs and we get to the bottom unharmed and uninjured, right? There are a million things that could go wrong walking down a flight of stairs, but we don’t focus on those, right?
We don’t focus on the potential of tripping on the first step. We don’t think about, well, we get to the fourth step. I’m going to fall in, break my nose. We don’t think about that. We just subconsciously see ourselves at the end of that 30 seconds of going down that flight of stairs being at the bottom of that flight of stairs. When we think about the goals and our lives and things that we want out of our lives, there are a million different things that can go wrong obviously, right? You could fail, fall on your face. Lots of things could go really, really wrong. And what I want to encourage you to do it start focusing on the thing that you actually want to happen, not on all the things that could happen. Be really disciplined and focused about what it is the outcome is that you want in your life.
The third thing, and I think that this is the most important, enlist other people in your journey. So I use Pasha for this all the time. When Pasha was growing up as a kid, he didn’t have this fear of change. He moved around a lot as a kid and so moving change met new friends, right? And so he doesn’t have this fear of success like I have. For me, change was scary. And so I lean on Pasha now and I, I am and list him in my journey. We set that journey together and we should do it more, but it certainly helps when I do reach out for him and ask for help and borrow his enthusiasm and borrow his vigor and borrow his, uh, the way that he embraces changed. So unless people in your journey who bring a different perspective to success and failure, this has been the fear of success. I hope that this served you. I hope that helped you. If it did, please share it with a friend, uh, and have a wonderful holiday. Take care of yourself.
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