Fear is the anticipation of a negative outcome. Looking a little more closely at this, we see that fear doesn’t actually exist in the present moment – it’s a projection, in the present moment, about what’s going to happen, or will happen again.
In essence, there is no truth in the future, as it hasn’t happened yet!
I think we are all familiar with the fear of failure, distracting us and potentially holding us back from achieving great things. This is the mind in auto-mode protecting us from embarrassment, loss, rejection, or harm, whether the threat is real or imagined.
But many high-achievers aren’t so familiar with failure, so the idea that something like this should hold you back just doesn’t sit quite right, or resonate quite as soundly as it might to others…
…but there is something still there, holding you back. Making you procrastinate wildly, or make seemingly legitimate excuses, or ignore evidently simple tasks.
Enter stage left – Fear of Success.
Yes, Fear of Success is a Thing.
Maybe it’s not fear of the success itself, but rather of the potential consequences of success, and what cost this may bring – after all, many believe that to achieve success, there needs to be some sacrifices made.
These consequences are very often difficult to pinpoint, and indeed we may not even recognise at all that we hold these particular fears. We may just think we are a lazy procrastinator, or lack meaningful goals and therefore motivation.
But if you get curious, you may be surprised by what you find. Could it be that you’re dilly-dallying around your promotion because it will mean managing people for the first time? Or you’re not putting your hand up for a particular project because of the additional responsibilities it may bring? Or not volunteering to host a panel for fear of being in the spotlight?
Unfortunately, fear of success is a form of self-sabotage! And can actually be made worse through avoidance, when you end up unintentionally behaving in a way that reinforces and strengthens that fear.
So how do we stop this fear controlling our ultimate success and happiness?
First things first, you need to identify it. Speak about it with your Coach, really dig into the whats and the whys of what the actual fear is, and where it might have come from. Get clarity, name it and start to take its energy away. Fears can be difficult to remove, as many come from our own filters that we have built up over the years from education and experience, but we can certainly learn to take small steps to not let them stand in our way.
Next, work out how your avoidance strategies show up for you – do you procrastinate like an absolute demon? Do you think about things incessantly but never take action because “the timing just isn’t right”?
My hand is going up for both of these – guilty as charged.
But this knowledge gives me power, so I can consciously make small but significant steps towards my vision of success without the overwhelm that fear can bring, and slowly reveal that hey, I am succeeding after all, and by gosh it ain’t half bad! What was I so worried about?
Imagine all that energy that we put into fear being redirected into taking action? How far would that take us, my friend? The mind truly boggles at the possibilities.