Fear of Success

Believe it or not, the fear of success is actually a thing.

I know because I have it. I’m experiencing more success than ever and half the time I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin.

Additionally, as soon as things get good I start wondering when the shoe is going to drop. This is likely because I spent years struggling and am still evolving past that.

What is the fear of success?

According to Psychology Today, the fear of success arises when we’re starting to meet our future.

In my case, the dreams I was having years ago are now my actual reality. I’m making money. I’ve built clout. I’m getting paid to speak and teach. I get to travel. I change people’s lives.

When I realized I was starting live what I’d been dreaming about for so long, I actually started freaking out a little bit. Truth be told, it’s really trippy and sometimes a little terrifying.

The good news is apparently this is pretty normal. The fear is coming up because we’re actually making changes and moving forward. It’s new territory, so we’re naturally going to be scared.

The problem is a lot of people don’t know how to a) identify this fear and b) deal with it. If left unchecked, the fear can get bigger and before we know it we’ve taken two steps back.

Here are some of the ways I’ve personally been dealing with my own fear of success as I keep moving forward in my business and my life.

Be selective about what you care about.

I recently read an excellent book by Mark Manson called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F—.

The premise is pretty simple. We care too much about things we really shouldn’t care about.

As a self-proclaimed recovering Catholic, I know I definitely struggle with this (Catholic guilt, anyone?)

I know I care way too much about little things. I also know I’m way too hard on myself, which is one of the reasons why the fear of success is a thing for me. I assume that if I’ve got more eyeballs on me then I’m more likely to get criticized therefore I’d better act right.

While it’s true that I’ll likely irritate someone on Twitter or have a troll email me, the reality is I have the choice to let it get to me or not.

Cut yourself some slack.

The second reason we may have a fear of success is because we’re way too hard on ourselves. We may feel like we don’t deserve it or haven’t worked hard enough.

Now, logically I know neither of these is true. I’ve certainly put in my 10,000 hours at this point. I also know my stuff. But that doesn’t stop my mind from making up stories about how much harder I need to work to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

So the first step here would be to cut yourself some slack. The second step is to get very clear about how your ego works. For example, now I know my ego is going to creep up every time I reach a new milestone to try and minimize my accomplishments. I expect it now, so I don’t listen to it as much.


Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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