Out of all the fears people have to face when starting a business, I would argue that the fear of success is one of the sneakiest. How often have you seen others say they want to do something, but then never follow through? If you've been in the game of life long enough, and if you explore personal development, you've probably seen this happen quite a lot.

While the fear of success may be easy to spot in other people, it's not as easy to spot it in ourselves. I don't know about you, but there have definitely been moments when I said I wanted success but never saw the results I wanted. When I figured out that I actually had a fear of success, I realized I was sabotaging myself.

Here are some of the surefire signs that you may be suffering from the fear of success. If you happen to identify with any of these, do some soul searching as to why you're so afraid.

You're worried success will complicate your life.

I know this one all too well. With all the talks about work-life balance in the last few years, I mistakenly thought more success meant I would have to work more. I thought I would have to give up my life in order to succeed. Well, it turns out that's not really true, especially if your success leads to you being able to earn more money leveraging your time.

This isn't the only way a fear of complication shows up either. During a recent call with my group coaching students, one student mentioned she was afraid of having an unsatisfied customer someday. I've also heard other students say they thought too much success would leave them open for lawsuits or someone would try to rob them.

Let's think about this for a second. Does one unsatisfied customer outweigh all the ones who love you? Nope. Does success always equal lawsuits and attempted burglary? Of course not.

You're worried about other people's opinions.

Often times success does lead to having more eyeballs on you. It kind of comes with the package, especially in the age of social media.

That being said, I've seen lots of ambitious people with good ideas put the breaks on their dreams because they are worried about being judged or criticized when they get more attention.

Sometimes it's not even Twitter trolls they are worried about. Sometimes it hits much closer to home, like having a fear of being judged by friends and family.

More success means more responsibilities you think you can't handle.

I've seen several people say they want more success in business. Often times this success is defined by money because money is tangible. By the same token, they are also afraid of having more money because as Biggie once famously said, "mo' money, mo' problems."

More problems could look like higher taxes, people wanting to borrow money from you, needing to hire a financial planner, managing more money, etc.

After spending many years as a business coach, it amazes me how prevalent this fear is. It's also one I had to deal with myself. I was terrified of having more success because I thought I wouldn't know how to manage the money that came with it.

Final Thoughts

The problem with the fear of success is that it's usually sneaky because you think you want it. However, if you aren't seeing results, you may have an underlying fear of success you just haven't addressed yet.

The truth is we tell ourselves a bunch of crazy things when it comes to success. At first glance, they may seem logical, but upon further investigation, you realize they make no sense.

Published on: Aug 25, 2017
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