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The Fear of Success

We all have fear to some degree, sometimes it grips you and you feel you may never get out of its grasp, other times it just nibbles at you. It is always able to make it’s presence known, making you feel nervous, edgy or like you are coming out of your skin.

“What if’s” run through your head, reciting all the reasons you shouldn’t do whatever it is you are about to do or decide. Sometimes these “what ifs” take over and cause you to do nothing, or utilize your old friend procrastination, as it at least feels safe.

People from dysfunctional families often have difficulty making decisions or trusting themselves to make the right decision. You may have been told your ideas were ridiculous, silly or just plain wouldn’t work. You may have grown dependent on a controlling family member to make most decisions for you. You may now depend on someone else in your life to make decisions for you.

You may have been told you were not smart, you were “disordered” somehow and shouldn’t be making life or career decisions. Everything in your life may have been dictated by a domineering parent and you had no opportunity to make decisions, correct mistakes or find your own way in the world.

These types of backgrounds typically lead to anxiety and indecisiveness, neither of which is your friend in your career or business.

You can’t go back and do anything about your background or family, but you can learn strategies that help you with decision making. You can also learn that you are not alone out there, even the most successful people have fears.

When procrastination is your main strategy or you are lost in the decision making process you are losing valuable time that could be making you money or at least moving you in that direction.

Here are five of the fear biggies pertaining to career:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of success followed by failure
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of new things

You are probably thinking that these can’t be true! Successful people never look afraid!

Well, yes they are and yes they do. Everyone has fears and the real news is they never go away! This is where trusting yourself comes into play. You have to trust that whatever happens you will figure out how to handle it. That’s it. There is no way to predict or know what disasters can occur, so this prep work in trusting yourself is what allows you to move forward and succeed.

Tips to Overpower Fear

  • Know that it will always be with you
  • Fighting it is useless
  • Everybody has some
  • What you are really afraid of is that you are not going to be able to handle something that happens.
  • If it makes you feel better, go through some “what if’s” pertaining to your current problem and give yourself a solution to a few worse case scenarios.
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way of making a decision. If you screw up just change it. People make mistakes. Make your best decision based on all the facts you have on hand.
  • Do a “decision tree” with all the branches representing different possible outcomes. Go ahead and plug in all those disasters you are thinking about. You will find that there is usually a way to fix mistakes by taking yet another path.
  • Trust your own abilities to problem solve. If you can’t solve it yourself you can always find other resources.
  • Use words like challenge and adventure rather than change. They signify growth, which is not as scary to our brains as change.

If You Are Really Having Trouble With Fear

  • Figure out why you are afraid. What is the fear behind the fear? For example: If you fail are you afraid a loved one will reject you? This could be a sign of a deeper dysfunctional pattern that has you in its grip. But it still goes back to the same issue of being afraid something will happen that you can’t handle.
  • Get some help in figuring out the basis for your fears. Understanding these makes you feel more in control and helps build your self-trust.
  • A great resource that I use with my coaching clients is a book called “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” by the late Dr. Susan Jeffers.



Photo by symphony of love