fear of success

In my coaching practice, this is my favorite challenge that clients bring to me. That’s because once you unpack the problem, it’s easy to relate to it. In fact, I had this fear of success mindset for a very long time.

Let’s face it; it’s not scary to fail. We take chances every day and more often than not, we don’t hit the mark consistently. We’re still working on perfecting our approach so we’re conditioned to accept a certain level of failure on a daily basis. It’s the trying that gets us going. Take a chance, do the work and hopefully reap the rewards of your efforts.

Reaching your biggest dreams and succeeding is thrilling. At the same time, it can be overwhelming – even a little bit of a letdown. I’ve found that the bigger the goal and the closer you get to it, the more overwhelmed you feel. Here’s why.

When you fail, nothing changes. When you succeed, everything changes.

Success is great. Whether it’s a promotion, new job in a new location, or fulfilling that dream job/career/business you’ve always wanted. You may feel a sense of accomplishment, and at the same time, you may feel a sense of dread. After all, you’ve never been here before. You now have a new job or a new business with completely new responsibilities that you may not have expected. Or you took that new job in another city, state or country and you’re alone, making your way in a foreign place.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s exciting stuff and there are many people who aspire to these things and jump in without hesitation. The problem arises when we get too far in our heads and start to think about all those upcoming changes. And because we’re not there yet, we start to doubt whether it’s something we really want, or we get stuck in the feedback loop of constantly striving but never accomplishing. Even the act of visualizing your new success can cause panic, especially if you’re still not sure how you’re going to do it. And that’s the point. This fearful mindset creeps in when we’re on the fence, or have second thoughts about what we’re doing.

Many of my clients come to me with this problem. They don’t understand why they’re struggling to accomplish the next goal or milestone they set for themselves. It usually comes down to figuring out that they’re either not as ready for it as they thought they were, or they no longer want it as much as they thought they did.

For my clients who find that they no longer want that goal as much as they thought they did, the realization comes with a great sense of relief.  They can now move on to something more meaningful with the understanding that the resistance they were facing was actually pushing them in a new direction.

For my other clients who realize that they’re not ready for the successes they want, we’re now able to put a plan in place to give them the resources they need to pursue these goals with confidence. That might mean helping them hire the right people, pulling an effective team together, building a strong coalition of partnerships, asking for different projects to build certain skills, or finding the kind of workshops and training that will educate them for more successful experiences with confidence.

If you find yourself in the same situation, ask yourself the following questions to find out which kind of fear is holding you back from your next success:

  • Which accomplishments have been most valuable to you so far? Why?
  • What does each day of delayed progress cost you? (Time? Money? Effort?)
  • How do those accomplishments or delays affect you daily?
  • Are there any skills that are lacking right now?
  • Why do you feel you have a weakness? How do you know?

Essentially, you are trying to find the cause of the fear that’s holding you back. Once you’re able to identify it, you can deal with it appropriately and move out of a stuck situation.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your story.

Feel free to contact me today for more information on my executive coaching, and a free strategy session.

Forbes Circle

Get Christina's Free Weekly Leadership Tips

Powerful strategies to earn more and be more.