This came up in a session this week with one of my coaching clients, so I wanted to ask you, my readers, if you have a battle with this as well. Here's the deal, as a coach, I sometimes see things before my clients do because I have been exposed to so many different transformations, and also I am in tuned with my own areas for improvement, that I can relate. I have totally suffered from a fear of success! I don't have a fear of failure because I fail all the time. It is my comfort zone. The pressures of being successful for me equated to a lot of responsibility and feeling like I had to sacrifice myself to achieve it. It took me years to reframe the definition of success and break the fear.
If you are following any influencer, who has come from nothing and made something of themselves, they constantly share their pain story to emote something in you. They want you to relate to them on a deeper level and realize you are not alone in it. After that connection is made, what's the next thing they ask when they want to help you jump into action?
What are you afraid of?
What are your limited beliefs?
What cycle do we need to break in order for you to break the habits that are no longer serving you?
We all have pain stories, because that is how we grow. But, what if the drive for success is what we leaned on that cause us pain, and they could not processes it because they seemed "successful" from the outside perspective, when inside they are broken, hurting, and overwhelmed. This dynamic is so unique and eventually eats away at us when we allow the path to success grow on pain vs. fulfillment.
A lot of us were raised on being ranked against others and success was defined for us, through the grading system at school, through athletics, through ranks at jobs, how much we make, the house size we have, the family structure, the trips we go on, etc.
Based on those systems of comparison, we create a definition of what success looks like in our heads and whether or not we belong there. We make a decision in that moment, do we have what it takes to push ourselves like that particular person did? Do we really want to go down that route?
What happens next is we start to convince ourselves that our version of what success means to us, is less than the version others have dictated. We develop a fear of being judged for our level of success against others.
As the song from the Gorillaz goes, "It's all in your head."
What are you telling yourself that hinders the ability to succeed and truly have the dream you have for yourself? If it is fear of success, that just means new stories need to be created around what success means to you, and how you achieve it at the highest fulfillment level.
If you are unsure of how the fear of success shows up, here are some markers:
You have a list of goals that excite you, but you distract yourself with the life you have today to avoid going after them.
You start something new, but don't follow through and finish it.
You share a dream of yours with someone in your life, and they question it's validity and you don't go after it, because you think it might be too hard.
You can see the end goal, but have no idea how to get there, so you resign to what you know now and tell yourself, this is plenty, this is enough, I am good.
Fear of success is a real creep. Yes, it keeps us safe, but in most cases, not pursuing what you really want out of life and building it to a level you can be proud and feel free within, can cause some serious regret. So, let's break the cycle!
Breaking the Fear of Success
Step 1: Journal exercise - write out what success looks like to you. Share one successful moment in life where you felt like a Badass, write out why it made you feel so great! Then, write out the vision of what success looks like to you now.
Do not go to Step 2 until Step 1 is done.
Step 2: Looking at the Badass moment - write down what you really enjoyed about that moment and how you got there on the left side of the paper, and on the right side, write out all the pain or sacrifice that happened to help you get there.
Step 3: Answer this questions:
I stop myself from succeeding because I believe___________________________________
In order to succeed, I must be ___________________________________________________
In order to succeed, I must sacrifice______________________________________________
In order to succeed, I must become _____________________________________________
In order to succeed, I must let go of _____________________________________________
Step 4: Define what success means to you now, realizing what you truly believe after doing this exercise.
My definition of success is ________________________________________________________
Step 5: Write out one action that will inch you towards your vision of success.
I would love to hear what you learned from this exercise, and what you plan to do next. So, please share it with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are so bold to decide right here, right now, that the fear of success will not stop you from building the life of your dreams, post a picture of yourself giving me a virtual high five with #IEMBRACESUCCESS so I can celebrate you and the next version of yourself that will come from this. Your success is your own, you control it. Go after it full force!