Fear of Success: How You May Be Affected (Without Even Realizing It) and 3 Ways to Deal


Sometimes, you don’t even realize that you’re afraid of something until you take the time to dig in and uncover it.

I always said that fear of success was “bullshit” because I have always wanted to be successful, I’ve always thought I was meant to do something big with my life, so success was the LAST thing I would be afraid of.

I was so wrong.

The other night while I was journaling, I was writing out what the next year of my life will look like, the kind of success I’ll achieve, and how I wanted to feel, when this nagging sense of unease kept coming up for me. So I went back to my journal and started asking myself where this was coming from.

As it turns out, I was definitely getting some fear of success, but it was coming up in a way that I didn’t recognize — and in layers. So many layers! In todays #SalesWithSoul #FearlessFriday talk, I’ll take you through the three layers of fear that came up for me and how I’ve been able to manage them.

The Risk and Uncertainty of the Unfamiliar

Our brains are hard wired to protect us from pain, and fear is a signal of potential pain. That’s why these feelings are so powerful and cause us to stop what we’re doing and retreat back into our comfort zones — our memories of past failures and past experiences get transferred to the future and that’s why they feel so real to us in the present. But these thoughts and feelings are irrational, because none of those memories or experiences are happening to you now.

For example, I was bullied as a kid and I held on to those thoughts and feelings my entire life which kept me from taking the steps and making the changes needed to reach my goals and desires.

Another aspect of this fear is not knowing how you’re going to get to your goal and stressing over your next step. This one is especially true for me (more anxiety than fear) because I am not a patient person and I like to be sure-footed: knowing which step to take in which order to get to my goal efficiently. But this way of thinking only creates more stress, more anxiety, and makes me even more impatient because things aren’t going “as planned.”

Plus, through this spiritual journey that I’m on, I realize now that I have to be open to any experience, option, or opportunity that will get me to my goal — I may not always know the best way forward ahead of time.

The Transformation of Who You’ll Need to Become

It’s kind of scary to think about all the changes you need to make in order to get to that next level self. You may lose friends, you may need to make new friends and acquaintances, you may need to step outside of your comfort zone in order to connect with these peers or mentors but those steps are needed in order to grow and create opportunity.

There are a couple of sayings that jump out at me which are “What got you here, won’t get you there,” and “you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” and these are both true for the transformation. You can’t expect that who you are now will get you to your next goal, just as who you were five years ago wouldn’t be able to manage or handle where you’re at now. You had to change. You had to transform to get where you are now.

That can be a scary prospect, especially if it involves having tough conversations and setting boundaries with friends or family about who you are going to be from here on out.

The Responsibility of Impact

Something that I didn’t even realize I was afraid of was the fear of being responsible for someone else’s success. Thoughts of what if I say something wrong or give the wrong advice, or what if people don’t like what I’m saying? These thoughts and fears are totally irrational because none of that is happening right now and right now is all there is.

These are thoughts stemming from my past fear of judgement and rejection. I may not say all the right things for everyone, but for the people that I’m trying to reach that are in the right stage that need to hear my message, I will reach them and it will resonate.

And while I’m not directly responsible for other people’s success (it’s up to you to take the message and put it into action), my business is all about helping others identify and manage fear and live confidently, and that can be hot button stuff, so it’s a responsibility and a role that I do not take lightly.

3 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Behavior

  1. Journal. Dig deep into why you’re feeling uneasy or where it’s coming from. I typically start with “I’m feeling ____ — where is this coming from?” and then just start writing. Let your mind wander and don’t put any expectations or limits on where it goes because it may take you to a discovery.

  2. Write out who your “upgraded self” will be. I learned this one from the Manifestation Babe and it has helped me make decisions based on my ideal outcomes and feelings. Start listing who you’ll be once you’ve achieved your goal — how you think, how you dress, how you interact with others, how you make decisions, how you manage or plan your day — everything. Then give him or her a name. Whenever you’re up against a situation where you feel fearful or uncertain, ask yourself how your upgraded self would handle the situation and I promise you, fear will be taking a backseat.

  3. Meditation and affirmations. Did you know you weren’t the only one with a life commentary track running through your head? I didn’t. But once I figured it out and learned how to quiet my mind, meditation has been my go-to whenever I need to relax, reset, or just be open to listening for messages, gut feelings, and instinct. Meditation teaches you how to stop the voices. Lets you think clearly and live in the moment, while affirmations can help you convince your subconscious that it is safe and OK to be successful.

    Our subconscious minds hold on to our fears, so we need to train ourselves to let it go — by working through the fear, not repressing it — and send new messages to the mind on a consistent basis, which is where affirmations come in.

On To You

Are you afraid of success and don’t realize it? Break out a piece of paper this weekend and write out your feelings around success and see what comes up for you then share with me on Instagram, Facebook, or in the comments!

P.S. I’ll be announcing the details of my 5-week coaching program next week so if you want an early look at what it’s all about, sign up for my email list (also known as “Love Notes”) below!