Real Leaders

When Fear Becomes a Barrier to Success

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Most people think they’re not affected by fear of success. They think it’s a silly idea. Especially when success is all they’ve ever wanted, and it’s their sole motivation, and focus in life.

Many fairly successful people think that when they’ve attained their dream, and risen to the height of their career all they have to do is stay put. Well, what if that’s not true? What if they have an underlying fear of success that manifests in a way that prevents them attaining real success?

You may be surprised to learn some of the signs of when people fear success.

Goals, are one example. Are you an avid goal-setter jumping from one goal to the next or are you constantly trying to reach them? It’s easy to trick yourself into believing that just because you’re constantly setting and achieving goals, you’re successful. But the truth is, a constant need to chase the next shiny thing is in fact a manifestation of the fear of success. Unless you occasionally stop, recognize your success and celebrate it, you’ll endlessly be driven by an uncomfortable feeling that you’re not being successful.

Another aspect of goal-setting driven by the fear of success, is setting goals so high and hard to reach that they are unattainable. There’s merit in setting optimistic goals, but when they are a tad too optimistic, there might be a hidden fear of actually achieving them — that sits at the core of setting them.

Last, but not least, when it comes to goals, postponement is a big culprit — because …

Here’s a scenario that may be familiar to you. How often do you use the word “because” during the day? Are you in the job of your dreams? Well, no, because … Are you driving the car of your dreams? Well, no, because … Are you happy with your healthy diet? Well, no, because … Are you charging as much as you know your services are worth? Well, no, because … I’m sure you get the picture, and can probably fill in a few more phrases I have left out above.

“Because” is the biggest giveaway for fear of success. It’s easy to come up with reasonable-sounding excuses to not go after your dreams, because reaching them lies in uncharted territory. You’re accustomed to not reaching them and fear of failure is much more familiar — as you’ve been there before. But success? Oh, that’s a very different story, one that’s new, one that might create a different outcome, one that is scary. Best not to go there, right?

Just look at the many celebrities who’s success ended up badly. People turn out to be mean. Their money and fame turns around and bites them badly. Many lottery winners lose it all. Money takes over lives. The true meaning of their life is lost. The list of things and situations that can go wrong is endless.

If a “yes” comes to mind while reading this, or even an “oh,” then you might want to explore the role of “because” in your life. Is fear of success telling you this isn’t you? Then you definitely need to start uncovering what’s really going on. Because …

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