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3 Reasons You’re Afraid of Success and How to Get Over It

Being successful is a complex desire that we strive for from a very early age.

For some, it will take years to achieve, and at great expense.

For others, it seems to happen overnight with little effort at all.

What is it that separates those who have achieved success vs. those who have not?

Why aren’t you more successful?

Could it be that you are more afraid of success than you are of failure?

And if so, how do you eliminate your fear and embrace success again and again?  

Fear is the ONE thing that holds most people back from achieving success.

Yet, it is also the one thing that pushes people forward.

Let’s look at some of the more provocative reasons why you may be afraid of success, while also shedding light on how you can overcome your fears and find success more quickly and consistently.

Afraid of Success? Don’t Worry: Haters Gonna Hate

Can we agree to be real as we get started?

Honestly answer this question: When you find out about the success of one of your co-workers, friends, family members, or peers, do you:

  • Judge them?
  • Feel jealous?
  • Secretly wish it was you?

If you answered yes to any or all, you are not alone.

Most people have, at one time or another, felt the same way, whether they are successful or not.

It’s NOT coming from a harmful place in our hearts or minds; it’s coming from a place of desire.

When we are not personally finding success and the people around us are, it can feel challenging.

We start to let our imaginations get the best of us.

We think that these successful people are luckier, more connected, or have something that we don’t.

We start to unfairly judge them while feeling worse about ourselves than we really should.

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Through my work at Inspirer, I am fortunate to know many successful people.

I have found that my experience is similar to theirs; 99 percent of success stories came with good old-fashioned hard work, determination, and grit.

Nothing was freely given; they worked hard for what they achieved.

Since you typically don’t know the whole story behind success, I challenge you to NOT judge the successful people around you.

Not only is this unfair to them, it’s also unfair to you.

Think about this for a moment.

If you judge someone on their success, do you think others will judge you when it’s your time?

If you negatively judge others, are you not then susceptible to the fear of being negatively judged for your success?

Those negative thoughts that creep into your mind are holding you back because you fear being judged.

Unfortunately, haters gonna hate.

Perhaps you’re afraid of success because you’ve been judging someone else’s achievement negatively.

It is easy to judge others and diminish their success by being a “hater.”

My advice is for you to STOP.

Don’t be the reason why your own fear exists…turn this fear upside down and celebrate the success of others, no matter how big or small.

Don’t let your personal negative judgment sneak its way in.

The next time you hear about someone else’s success, celebrate it.

Look for the reasons why they earned or deserved it.

You find then that instead of fearing “haters”, you will look forward to the “celebrators” of your own success.

Success Resets the Criteria by Which You Are Judged

I own a successful business with my fiancé.

We have dozens of clients.

We are growing steadily every month, and we are in a happy place.

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Often times, my family or friends ask me questions about my success.

They want to know what’s going on in my business and how is it growing as fast as it is.

But not every month is perfect.

I sometimes feel like I am judged negatively if we have setbacks or challenges along the way.

At first, this really got to me.

I felt like I always needed to have some exciting news to share every time I sat down with family or friends.

It started to become a fear and a worry.

It stripped away my happiness and compounded my anxiety during the not-so-perfect months.

I realized what had happened: my previous successes had reset the criteria by which I’d now be judged going forward – and it was placing a new fear on top of the fear of judgement: the fear of pressurized judgement.

I don’t like feeling pressure, especially in business.

I find that good thing happen in their own time and it’s very hard to make them happen.

When you feel pressured or rushed, it’s easy to overcook the chicken.

But when you take your time to prepare and cook it low and slow, it comes out perfectly moist and delicious.

If you find yourself with these pressurized judgments because of past successes you have had, don’t let that entice you to overcook the chicken.

Your fear of being judged will be more detrimental to your success.

It will take away the joy that comes from those small and memorable moments in your career and life.

Rather than let that happen, celebrate YOUR small successes just as much as you would celebrate someone else’s.

Enjoy all moments of success, especially in the beginning.

Fear of Failure

No one likes to fail.

Failure is never something we want to welcome, strive for, or admit to.

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When you start to experience success, the pressure to continuously succeed becomes a burden.

Then the fear of failure, even small ones, starts to become overwhelming and scary.

Unfortunately, the chance of failure is higher than the chance of victory.

No wonder most folks are afraid of success.

But now I will tell you the things you’ve probably heard before:

  • Failure can power you to your future successes.
  • You can learn much from your failures.
  • Failure is not as bad as it seems.

But what I really want you to remember is this:

You may fail, but you are NOT a failure.

The failures are the ones who could have done what you attempted to do, but chose not to.

There is a BIG difference between failure and being a failure.

It’s difficult to get over this fear, but certainly not impossible.

Remember that you are not a failure as long as you try, and trying takes courage – the universal antidote to fear.

Success tip: Write down your fears, as journaling is one of the best exercises you can do to help find achievement, while also understanding why you may be afraid of success.

This will help you face your fears head-on, as well as move past them so you can focus on what’s important.

To wrap up, remember that celebrating success, whether it’s yours or not, is important.

Doing this will bring you happiness rather than disappointment.

Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t let failure stop you from trying.

Trying is the ticket to success.

Without a “try” you are insured to fail.

Lastly, enjoy the small successes.

Embrace beginnings.

Embrace all successes.

Keep these aspects in mind and your fear will disappear!

And remember, DON’T overcook the chicken!

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  1. Josh Steinberg

    November 1, 2018 at 4:50 PM

    Hey Nina,
    I had a similar experience with my website. I knew it was something I should work on, but I kept pushing it away because I was scared!
    I eventually built up the courage and started, and that’s all it really took to get the ball rolling.

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