It is well documented that many people fail to achieve their goals due to the phenomenon known as “fear of failure”, but are you aware that a major factor or concept that is often overlooked, is a state known as “fear of success”?
Fear of failure produces the inability to make decisions, or take action because you have previously received rejection or negative outcomes. This mental state is fairly easy to identify and there are many tools in the personal development industry to help combat this plague and train the mind for success. However, the fear of success is much more subtle, harder to spot and also harder to reprogram.
Perhaps you have this tendency in your life. Here are some indications of a fear of success mentality:
- Studying and trying to implement self-improvement techniques and/or personal development tools, but your life does not improve or may even get worse.
- You settle for less than you feel you deserve or are capable of achieving.
- You start new projects full of enthusiasm and optimism, but wane in your efforts or stop short before you have completed them.
- You expect things to go wrong no matter how well the situation appears to be at the moment.
Can you identify your own patterns in any of the above statements?
The fear of success can also make you behave in ways that hold you back. Look at the list below. These are the symptoms of the fear of success.
Procrastination – Putting off what needs to be done or not doing what you know will bring you closer to your desired result. Everyone suffers from a case of procrastination at some point in their lives (although some of us suffer from it more than others).
Procrastination is a “success killer”! How can you expect to reach your destination if you do not take steps towards it? Strive to do little things each day that will bring you small steps closer to your goal. This is why having a personal development plan is a great ingredient in the fight against procrastination. Take action! Any action! Refine your steps as you go along, but do not sit and do nothing. Taking action is one of the key aspects in personal development.
Can’t see the forest for the trees! – This is almost the opposite of procrastination, but has the same effect on your personal development. This saying is well known, but have you ever given it real consideration?
Don’t get caught up in your plan believing that it is more important than the goal! Sometimes we tend to think and act as though our plan is more important than the end result and will miss many opportunities to alter our paths and reach our goals more quickly! Let go of your ego and allow room for change and possibly a quicker route to your goal. Remain flexible.
Thinking that the time is not right – Have you ever waited until the timing was perfect before starting a venture? Have you ever waited until you had more information on a better plan?
Again, action is the key to the door to success. Taking small steps forward are better than taking none or waiting to see if your foot is landing on the right spot. Even if your actions take you away from your goal, you have at least gained insight and knowledge about what does not work.
Being a perfectionist – This is similar to the point above and has the same effect, specifically, that you never really move forward. No matter how good a job is when its finished, it can always be improved! I have heard many great musicians tell how they hate listening to their own songs, because they can find a million things that need to be improved. Yet, we still enjoy them.
Seeing only problems – How do you use your focus? Do you constantly see only and all the problems involved? This way of thinking, may not be something that you can change overnight. However, you can use this mindset to your advantage, while you strive in your personal development to acquire a more positive mindset instead.
“How can you use seeing only problems to my advantage?”, you may ask. Here’s how: Look at the problems and prepare a plan to deal with them. Every time you overcome one, congratulate yourself. Use them as a gauge for your achievements. If you keep seeing more problems, remind yourself of how well you dealt with the others. Look at how far you have come! If you see a problem, ask yourself, “how best can I overcome this challenge?” or “how quickly can I rectify this situation?”. The quality of your questions are important. Use the problems as fact finders. Is there a real problem now? If so, then deal with it. Is it a potential problem? If so, then create a contingency plan in case a real problem does occur, but don’t get caught up in it, just be prepared.
Enjoy the journey. Become aware of your motivators and also what demotivates you. Most importantly, don’t be afraid if the actual plan for achieving success changes. Your journey to success may never be linear, but as you put things into practice, your fear of success will dissipate and you will have moved a long way forward in your personal development.