Are You Afraid of Success?

Much is written about the fear of failure but did you know there is an even stronger fear of success by many? This doesn’t get written about as much because it doesn’t seem like it should be a problem.

Fear is a lack of knowledge. When people fear doing something, it is because they don’t know what the outcome of those actions will be. When people fail, they can often turn to excuses. They’ll think of dozens of reasons why whatever they tried couldn’t work. The conditions were not right or they didn’t have enough money. Perhaps a main supplier went out of business and that took down their own business. Whatever the case, blame is easily distributed all around.

But excuses cannot be made for success. Who can be blamed for doing something right? When people have success in something they are doing, it can form a sort of paralysis because they are afraid of what may happen next. They revert back to something that is comfortable which can take the wind out of the sails, so to speak, of the success.

Part of the problem with fear of success is not having a plan for when it happens. If you have a business and you make plans for what you are going to do when you succeed at various stages, you will not fear what comes next because you refer to your plan. Perhaps in the plan, you decided previously that you would hire five people in the event that you increased sales by 50%. So when you reach the milestone, guess what comes next? You hire five people. There is no paralysis and no fear (maybe a little). But you are better prepared when you have a plan as your guide.

Another problem is you could be trying to do everything yourself. As you see some success, you are going to be taking on more responsibilities. These responsibilities may be unfamiliar to you and that can bring back those fears. If you already have others that work for you, see if they would be a good fit for some of these new responsibilities. If not, hire others or outsource the work. You should try to keep within what you are comfortable with but also be willing to break out of that when the time is right.

Fear of success is not just a buzzword used by marketers and psychologists. It’s a real fear and it can have a crippling effect on anyone who experiences it.