We’re all familiar with fear of failure. What about the notion, “fear of success”?
You might initially think that is a ridiculous notion but surprisingly many people unconsciously sabotage themselves because of a buried fear of success.
Have you ever been close to finishing something big you’ve been working on and then noticed you suddenly lose your momentum? Perhaps you get crabby and treat those around you differently. When all your efforts begin to shine and others begin to take notice, do you actually start to feel uncomfortable and back away?
Why on earth would we work so hard to be successful, and then as we see that success coming into focus, we start to come apart at the seams?
Perhaps it can be attributed to a fear of success.
For some, success (depending on your own definition) seems to be an elusive thing, always just out of reach. It represents the unknown. Even lottery commercials ask the question; “What would life be like, if…” That suggestion, that if you won a few million dollars, you’re life would be changed forever begs the question, “changed how?”
Those that succeed are often thrust in the limelight and scrutinized more than the average man or woman.
If a woman is very successful in business she might be seen as ruthless, or putting her own interests ahead of motherhood or being a wife. Some might question how she got to the top.
No one wants that kind of judgement or scrutiny.
So is it possible that sometimes as entrepreneurs we might actually fear the success in business that we work so hard to achieve?
Some questions that might creep into our subconscious could be, will I become more materialistic if I earn more? Many of us don’t drive expensive cars or wear Rolex watches simply because we can’t afford to. But what if you could afford to? Would our spending habits change?
Would others see me as showy? Worse than that, would I turn into someone else? Will my friends and family see me differently?
Maybe the best way to meet these fears and questions is to face them head on.
First of all, ask why you are trying to succeed as an entrepreneur. For status? For money? Or maybe for stability, or security. Are you trying to succeed because you love what you do and want to keep doing it all your life? Maybe you need to stop worrying what others think of you if you succeed and just make sure that you are comfortable with your own motives and values. If you have strong core values, then how much money you earn or how successful you are shouldn’t be able to shake those foundations.
In my own life I have met some incredibly wealthy and successful people who are down to earth in spite of what their means allows them to do. I have also met many people who live far beyond their means and are outwardly flashy only to impress others.
The reality is that many people who have much in life came from nothing and have never forgotten their humble roots. They appreciate everything that they’ve worked so hard for.
If you see success in the same way then you have nothing to fear.
You likely won’t turn into someone else or become obsessed with having “things” just because you have the means to buy them.
The American dream is to be able to work hard and be able to take care of yourself and your family and typically those that work hard will reap the rewards of hard work.
We say that you have nothing to fear except fear itself and in this case that is true.
Success is the unknown but so many things we enjoy in life also lead us into unknown territory.
Travel or relationships can take us into situations we are not familiar with but past experiences tell us it’s worth the risk. Success can be just like that.
When we meet with success we can still be the person we’ve always been, we can carry with us the same moral compass we’ve always used and we can nurture our existing relationships as our most important travel companions into the unknown.
Given the choice between success or the lack of it, I’ll take success and the unknown anytime, and enjoy all the excitement that comes with it.