That word is packed with so many things. Hopes, fears, aspirations, and conflict. At least, the idea of success in my mind fills me with conflict and conflicted emotions.
I have a fear of success.
I know that it’s bizarre, and completely irrational, but it doesn’t make me procrastinate any less or try to avoid being successful. I know that it stems from my childhood and where it comes from, but that knowledge doesn’t make the nervous whirl in the pit of my stomach go away when I think of actually trying to go after something I want. It’s the same feeling I get when I think of the times I was successful as a kid and then other kids made fun of me. I’m not sure that there is a worse feeling than being made fun of for doing well– you succeeded, yet you are still a loser. I ran my hardest in cross country and managed to come in second place! My less successful teammates mocked me for running the B group instead of the A group, taking away my hard won success. So my brain equates success with losing, and that’s not really a good way to get to where I, or anyone, wants to be in life.
I just did some research on the fear of success, and it’s a legit thing. It is nice to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this. So I want to share some of the articles and found and what I am doing to overcome this fear.
Step 1: Buckle down and do it. I overcame my fear of talking to strangers and being shy by just doing it. I live in LA, and an ability to network is a requirement. If I can’t make small talk with strangers I’ll never get jobs or make connections. And, more importantly, I would be spending all my time alone at home because I wouldn’t have any friends. Most of my current friends are people I randomly met at a party, started talking to, and found that they were fantastic. So I’m applying that same logic to my fear of success. I know I have the fear, but I just have to face it head on if I want to overcome it. It will be a struggle, something I probably always carry with me, but the more I do it the easier it will get.
Step 2: Ask myself these questions. I found these questions today, and I’m going to include them in my ‘diary’ on a regular basis. (My diary is more a reflection of my day and musings about my goals and where I want to be.) The questions are these:
How will my friends and family react if I accomplish this goal?
How will my life change?
What’s the worst that could happen if I achieve this goal?
What’s the best that could happen?
Why do I feel I don’t deserve to accomplish this goal?
How motivated am I to work toward this goal?
What am I currently doing to sabotage, or hurt, my own efforts?
How can I stop those self-sabotaging behaviors?
This questions came from an amazing article, very worth reading: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fear-of-success.html I highly recommend spending time every week thinking through these questions. The article recommends 15 minutes to really think about them, and that’s what I’m going to. Every week.
Step 3: Stop beating myself up. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful, yet I then turn around and sabotage myself. After sabotaging myself, I beat myself up for failing, yet again, to overcome and strive for what I want. Condemning myself doesn’t do anything to help, and only re-affirms the concept that I don’t deserve success. So from now on I’m going to value my successes and forgive myself for any stumbles. As the photo says, mistakes mean I’m trying. And what could be better than trying to be my best?
My current sabotage involves not writing on my screenplay and doing everything under the sun to procrastinate. I want more than anything to be a writer, yet if I never write I don’t fail and I don’t succeed. I just stay exactly where I am. …which is a hallmark of a fear of success.
This article: http://99u.com/articles/14347/are-you-subconsciously-afraid-of-success also looks at what some of the subconscious fears are, and what to do about them.The Fear of Not Coping with Success, Fear of Selling Out, and Fear of Becoming Someone Else are all fears that lead to behaviors that keep you right where you are. Never changing, never advancing, never being the person you truly can be.
In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Do any of you out there suffer from the fear of success? Has anyone overcome it?