Of all the obstacles that we faced in life and on our journey to becoming our best, the fear of success is one of the most underrated and the most difficult to identify.
The reason is simple, who is afraid of success? Probably, no one will admit, because consciously, most people don’t think so.
When you ask people whether they want to be successful and live their wildest dreams, almost all of them will tell you yes. But deep down, there is a part of them that they are afraid of success.
On the surface, they may seem to want to be successful, who else doesn’t want to have more money and live a better life, right?
The problem comes when you have to face the truth, which is your inner self. Dig deep down and you will see it for yourself, all the reasons why you are not succeeding.
And a huge part of it is because of your fear of being successful.
Just like the famous cartoon Pogo has a great line on this:
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Yes, we are often our biggest enemy. We are the one who stops ourselves from living our best and achieving the amazing success that we want.
Are You Afraid of Being Successful?
If you have been trying hard, working day-in and day-out, you read plenty of books, you crafted your strategic plans, you take massive actions, you learn and you improve, but still you find that success is not coming to you, perhaps, the reason is that you are afraid of being successful.
I bet you have seen many people or even yourself say that they want to do something, but they don’t do it.
Many times in my life, I said that I wanted to do something, but I never follow through. Despite having all the resources – time, money, support, knowledge, etc.
Some people call it self-sabotage. What it really is, is the fear of success.
What is the Fear of Success?
To make it simple, the fear of success is self-sabotage phobia that stops people from achieving what they want in life. It is a combination of mental conditioning, trauma, personality traits, and dis-empowering beliefs.
You may argue that nobody is afraid of success because every one of us wants it. But the fact is that many people do subconsciously that they don’t see it on the surface.
There will be times when you know that doing something is good and can move you one step closer to success, but you just don’t do it.
For example, if you want to be a successful internet marketer, you know that video is a hot trend right now. A lot of people are using videos to market their products and services.
Using video is on your marketing list and you have always wanted to start your own YouTube channel, but you’re not doing it, why?
Perhaps, you think that you don’t have an idea of how to do it. Or maybe you think that you don’t have the time and you don’t know how to handle it.
If you look at it deeply, you know that video marketing is good for your business, but you just don’t want to do it.
And if you dig deep down, usually, you will discover that there are fears that stopping you from doing it.
Perhaps, you don’t want to be famous. Or perhaps, you’re afraid that your friends will see you on YouTube selling stuff online. Or maybe you think you’re not good enough to be a YouTube star.
Whatever the reasons, those are the fears that stop you from doing it, right?
The same goes for saving money and investing. Everyone knows that they should save money and they should invest more, but are they doing it?
Not really. Some people may have the thought, “What if I save all the money but something happens and I don’t get to enjoy it?”
If you are having this type of thinking, you are afraid of success, my friend.
So let us discover the 7 most common fears of success that often stop people from living their potential.
Once you are conscious of the fear that is holding you back, learn to overcome it, and act in spite of it.
1. You’re afraid that there will be more responsibility
This is obviously one of the most common fears of success that most people face in life. They want to build a successful business, but they worry about the responsibility that comes with it.
Most people associate being successful means having more money. The problem is that the majority has also been conditioned to think that the more money you make, the more responsibility you will have.
If you are working for someone, your responsibility and the problems that you will have to face in your work may be lesser. As long as you do your due diligent, you’re good.
What if you start your own business? You may have to solve many other problems like cash flow, taxes, managing your team, sales and marketing, business performance and so on and so forth.
This is why sometimes some people choose to stay where they are rather than explore a new ground because of the fear of responsibility.
They want to start their own business, but another part of in them wants to remain the same.
Do you have this problem?
2. You’re afraid that you will have to work even harder
You see, we have been conditioned by the people and everything around us to believe that if we want to be successful, we need to work harder.
And that means, if you’re successful, you will have to spend even more time into working. You will have to work day and night. You will have to sacrifice other areas of your life.
Does this sound familiar?
While it is true that working hard is important, you must make sure you are working hard on the right thing and at the same time, create a system that can sustain itself.
Do understand that we all have 24 hours a day. And no matter how hard you work, you will have the same amount of hours in a day like other successful people.
Do you think Bill Gates or Warren Buffett works 25 hours a day? I don’t think so.
They work hard, but at the same time, they leverage on a system so that once they have reached ‘there’, they can rely on others or the system to run on itself.
They just need to put in minimal effort or supervision to maintain their business.
Therefore, being more successful does not mean that you will have to work doubly hard.
Yes, hard work is necessary, but it doesn’t mean that you will have to work 24 hours for life in order to be successful.
Don’t just work hard, work smart too. Here’s a great article I strongly suggest you read:
3. You worry that you will have no time for leisure
This is another common fear of success that haunts most people. They thought that to be successful, they need to work hard and to sacrifice their leisure.
Like I said above, hard work is important, but solely working hard on something may not guarantee your success.
I believe you have seen people working 10 or more hours, but after 10 years, they are still there, doing the same thing, hustling day-in and day-out.
Becoming successful doesn’t mean that you will have to sacrifice your leisure. I love how Richard Branson puts it:
“Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home, why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
Branson also goes on to say, “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living”, and he is absolutely right.
There is no such thing as having fun or working, but are a part of our lives.
So make your work as fun as possible. Treat it like something that you love doing and make it something you look forward to each morning.
When your work becomes your fun, guess what, you will never have to work for another day.
Many people have the wrong perception to think that work isn’t fun. But if you look at all the rich and successful people, they love their work and their work is their fun.
I always remind myself of what Steve Jobs, the legendary entrepreneur once said:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Thus, you don’t have to separate between your work and your fun.
When you’re passionate about your work, more success will come to you. So stop letting this fear holds you back from living your dream life.
4. What if you are successful but only to lose it all?
If you worry that once you are successful and you have to maintain it, you are suffering the fear of success.
You are afraid that once you become successful in the eyes of the public, you may fail and lose it all.
As a result, you become more cautious, or worse, you don’t want to be successful at all. Once you become famous, you worry that someone may talk bad about you, you often think about how others will think about you.
The main reason people are afraid to be successful is that they worry that they will lose it all is because they worry about how others look at them.
They care too much about how others look at them and thus, they are afraid that once they are there, others will have put high hopes on their shoulders.
A clear sign showing this is when the more successful you are, the more stressful you become. You feel that the pressure is greater and that everything you do, you can’t fail.
Of course, if this continues, the fear will force you to be overly cautious and you don’t want to venture out of your comfort zone. Which eventually, will make you fail.
5. You worry that you may become someone else
Another common reason people are afraid of success is that they worry they may become someone else.
This is because to become successful, you need to change. You are where you are right now because of your characters, your mindsets, your traits, your qualities, and your habits.
And in order to achieve greater success, you need to change. And after you have changed, maybe you will have to say goodbye to people who are close to you.
First, you have to understand that change may not necessarily mean that it is something bad or negative. It can be a good change where you become more optimistic, you work harder, become more responsible, and as a result, make even more people trust you and love you.
Second, you will just have to accept the fact that sometimes being who you are is not going to work out in your life. And you have to change to become someone better.
For instance, mixing with a group of people who always blame and complain is not going to help you in your life. You may really want to think of letting these people go. Or if you can’t, greatly cut down the time you spend with them.
Treat the change as something positive and constructive. You will meet new friends and gain better experience as you evolve.
Well, maybe your positive change may inspire others and change them too.
Hence, don’t be afraid of change. Keep in mind that in your journey to achieving the success you want, you will develop yourself into someone better, not worse.
6. You’re afraid of letting go of your comfort zone
Success can be difficult and challenging. This is because you have to let go of your comfort zone and do something that you’re not familiar with.
And because of this, many people are refused to change. But if you think about it, it is not about letting go of your comfort zone, it is about expanding it.
You just have to make the new becomes the old. You just need to get used to the new habits or the new behavior or the new thinking and belief.
Doing something different and adopting a new habit such as writing 500 words a day or walk 10,000 steps each day can be challenging, but once you make it your habit, it will be your new comfort zone.
And if you are serious about achieving the success you want, you definitely have to expand your comfort zone and make the unfamiliar, a habit.
Take it as you are leveling up yourself. I love how Harv Eker puts in his best-selling book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
In the book, Harv says that if you are at level 3 and you are facing a level 5 problem, the problem may then seem like a big problem for you.
However, if you increase your level to level 10, a level 5 problem will be nothing to you. It may not look like a problem to you at all.
Therefore, the key is to grow yourself and leveling up yourself to become someone bigger.
“The size of the problem is never the issue, what matters is the size of you.”T. Harv Eker
7. You think you don’t deserve to be successful
Finally, in my opinion, the biggest fear of success is to think that you don’t deserve it at all. When you think you are not worthy to be successful, and my friend, that is the ultimate fear.
When you believe that you don’t deserve it, you will never do your best. You will never even bother about the results you get.
In my opinion, most people are not willing to go the extra mile, to do more, to put in more hard work, and to commit to success is because they think they don’t deserve it.
Think about it, if you seriously believe that you deserve to be successful, you will do whatever it takes to get it. You will be willing to commit 100% and do your best.
Sadly, most people don’t believe in themselves. They think that success is something far beyond their capability and they don’t deserve it. They thought that they need to work 20 hours a day only that they can achieve the success they want.
You have to understand that whether you think you deserve success or not is not a fact, but a chosen belief.
So, do you think you deserve to be successful?
You can have all kinds of beliefs like you’re not good enough, you don’t work hard enough, or you don’t have the knowledge, but all these are just beliefs that hold you back from living your dream life.
Like what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”
Read this article from Harv Eker if you don’t think you deserve success, happiness, and fulfillment.
You don’t have to wait for life for someone to show up in your life to tell you, “you’re worthy of success”, and only then you start pursuing success.
It just doesn’t happens that way. Whether you think you are worthy of success, of living a great life, or of being financially free, you are the one who gets to decide on your own.
So decide right now that you are worthy and that you deserve to be successful.
When you get up each morning, tell yourself, “I am worthy of the best life possible for myself and my family. I am deserving of all good things.”
And more importantly, believe in yourself and learn to overcome your fear of success.