Procrastination is the fear of success.
People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success
that they know
will result if they move ahead now.
Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it,
it is much easier to procrastinate
and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.
Are you living in an Oxymoron?
The topic today is not fear of failure, but its twin cousin, fear of success. The fear of success always sounds like an oxymoron when we say it out loud or think about applying it to ourselves. You know. You really want to be successful, but either you don’t do anything to make things happen for yourself, or you do things that are counter-productive and wind up moving yourself further away from your desired results. See how odd that sounds. You want it, but you keep yourself from getting it.
Do you want to be successful or not?
Do you really embrace success? Do you see yourself healthy, wealthy, and living a life of abundance? In going after your hopes and desires, have you ever been caught off guard by your fear of success? If you have found that you are only achieving small or fleeting successes, but the great things that you really want always seem just out of your reach, you may be the victim of your own fear of success mindset.
Fear of success may be difficult to identify and sometimes it is hard to understand because the underlying causes are frequently hidden from your conscious awareness. This particular fear often lurks deep in the subconscious and you may never even discover that this challenge exists within us without some real digging.
Yet, this fear can cause you to sabotage the very pursuit of your most cherished dreams. So how do you find out if your actions are motivated by fear of success? Especially those actions that you tend to question in hindsight….every single time.
Is your fear of success sabotaging you?
Let’s try an exercise. I want you to think of a goal that you’d like to achieve. Write it down. Then, take 20-30 minutes and answer the following question: “What will happen if I succeed?” Write down everything you can think of – both the good and bad consequences of achieving your goal. Write down the things that don’t even seem truly related to this project.
It is important to take at least 20 minutes to answer the question. Your first few responses, the ones off the top of your head, are likely to be pretty superficial. Simply keep writing for at least 20 minutes. Put down everything that comes to mind. Nothing is too silly or too small. If, after 20 minutes, you’re still getting good stuff, then keep going.
If you are still stuck, here is an example. Suppose your goal is to make $250,000 over the course of the next year. You might include items like these in your list:
- I’ll be able to pay all my bills.
- I can buy a new car
- I can go on vacation
- I’ll have to pay a lot in taxes
- My brother/ sister/ cousin/ ex-boyfriend will want a loan.
- I don’t know what to do with the money after I’ve gotten it.
- People will treat me differently.
- I should get a new house. But where will I live?
- My partner will spend it all.
- I’ll probably just lose it, gamble it away or invest it incorrectly.
In your excitement, you might quickly write down some of the things you’ve wanted to buy, and, once you have the money, you will be able to do that. But then, as you delve further into all of your feelings about achieving your goal, some of the not-so-positive consequences of your achievement will begin to appear on your page. As you can see from the example, some of this will spill over into the issues with your relationships; your relationships with other people, and your relationship with money. Some of these consequences may reveal things you genuinely fear happening if you really achieved your goal.
But, don’t lose heart. Goals are never completely free of fear. Achievement always involves some type of change, and all change comes with some level of apprehension. You might truly desire to be successful, but if your feelings of fear due to the changes outweigh our positive feelings, your progress will be slow, challenging and difficult to sustain.
How do you eliminate the fear of success?
If you can make yourself fully aware of your apprehensions, you have been presented with a golden opportunity to attack each of them, eliminate them or at least minimize them so that you can make progress. When you can name a thing, you can evaluate it in the clear light of day. You can determine if these fears are real or just a long-held rationalization.
Looking directly into the face of our fears is very powerful, and at times a little scary. Fears that are not acknowledged tend to grow stronger. Many of your fears, once examined, can be minimized, which will help you take more aggressive action towards the completion of your goals.
Ultimately, if you can take the time to look closely at your fears, you will often find that the perceived or imagined side effects, rather than the real ones, appear the scariest when pursing goals.
“Fear will either drive us forward,
or keep us chained and caged where we are.”
So before you give up on your plans, ask yourself what would happen if you were ultimately successful.
Tackle your fears head on and you can start achieving your dreams today!