It sounds ridiculous, almost to point of abject laughter. Who in the hell is afraid of money? Well, uh..me.
Obviously I’m not afraid of the physical bills, although paper cuts do sting something awful…No, it’s what money itself represents to me.
Do I want to be successful? Yes. Do I want to be independently wealthy? Yes. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to become what I consider successful? Yes.
So what’s the problem?
I have an overwhelming fear of succeeding and it’s been holding me back for a long time now. Yes, the fear of success is actually a real thing as odd as it sounds. Many people are afraid of failing, but not me. No, I’m OK with failing because I have come to expect it, if not embrace it.
A Scary Word
The word success holds different meanings for different people and in my case it represents being held to a higher standard after achieving something great. It means getting what I want in life and actually being happy. And subconsciously, I don’t feel like I deserve it.
Being successful means I can no longer hide in obscurity, fly under the radar, or be insignificant. And that is a scary thought.
As I’ve said in the past, I have an poor relationship with success, especially it’s physical counterpart, money.
I feel bad about taking money from people even when I know I am providing more than enough value to warrant the cost. I have turned down many opportunities to earn more money and have been a master of self sabotage when it comes to building any sort of significant income.
And the worst part is that I have done virtually nothing to correct this issue up to this point.
The Fear Of Success Sucks
Believe me, I’m not happy that I feel this way. It sucks to feel like you’re not worthy of greatness (or even goodness) and is something that I have to deal with immediately. If I don’t, I will continue to flounder in a sea of wishy-washy mediocrity and probably will be having this same conversation in 2 years.
That cannot happen.
Here are some of the characteristics of the fear of success:
- Fear that I will accomplish all that I set out to, but that I still won’t be happy, content or satisfied once I reach my goals.
- Belief that I am undeserving of all the good things and recognition that come my way as a result of my accomplishments and successes.
- Opposite of fear of failure, in that fear of failure is the fear of making mistakes and losing approval–Fear of success is the fear of accomplishment and being recognized and honored.
- Lack of belief in my ability to sustain my progress, and the accomplishments I have achieved in my life.
- Belief that no matter how much I’m able to achieve or accomplish, it will never be enough to sustain success.
- Belief that success is an end in itself; yet that end is not enough to sustain my interest and/or commitment.
- Fear that once I have achieved the goals I have worked so hard for, the motivation to continue will fade or disappear.
- Fear that I will find no happiness in my accomplishments–that I will be perpetually dissatisfied with life.
All these things are very real for me. I’m not going to blame my parents, childhood, or anything else because I don’t really understand why I feel this way.
I’m intelligent, caring, charismatic, honest, and consider myself a good person. I have all the tools I need to be massively successful and realize my dreams. I’m just scared shitless to actually do it..
This is how it manifests itself in my life:
- A lack of effort to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself. From school, my jobs, at home, in relationships, and in my personal growth.
- Self-destructive behavior, such as tripping myself up to make sure that I don’t sustain a certain level of success or achievement.
- Problems making decisions. I have been plagued by indecisiveness my whole life.
- Losing the motivation or the desire to grow, achieve and succeed. I go through stages where I put 100% of my efforts towards reaching my goals and then doing virtually nothing and losing all the momentum/gains I had made.
- Feeling guilt, confusion and anxiety when I actually do start to achieve success.
- Sabotaging any gains that I have made with personal growth and mental health, because once I become a high achiever and more “together,” I fear that no one will pay attention to me. I’m habituated to receiving help, sympathy and compassionate support. I didn’t realize this until I read it but it’s so true. Sad,but true.
- Choosing to do just the opposite of what I need to do to be happy, healthy and successful. Again, this is spot on. I find myself purposely wasting time and doing menial tasks when I have something important or significant to do.
- Reinforcing my chronic negativity, chronic pessimism and chronic lack of achievement since I’m unable (and unwilling) to visualize myself in a contented, successful life.
- Denouncing my achievements and accomplishments, or seeking ways in which I can denigrate myself enough to lose what I’ve gained.
When I started writing this post, I honestly had no idea exactly how much this was affecting me. The above mentioned points are facts, not something I just wrote myself. This is a real issue and I am starting to understand the long-term impact it’s had on me.
Why This Is So Relevant Now
The reason I need to address this now is because I am on the eve of one of the biggest undertakings of my life. I am preparing to launch a life changing venture on this blog in just a few short weeks and as the time draws nearer, I am feeling the anxiety of what lies ahead.
I am already shutting down mentally, creatively, and emotionally. I recognized this last night and called my friend Danny to talk some sense back into me.
What if my project is wildly successful? What if it actually does change my life for the better? What if people are impacted significantly by this? What will people expect from me when I am successful?
Of course I want these things. But deep down, I’m afraid to have them. I don’t feel worthy to have them. It’s absolute bullshit and I know this but it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s how I feel.
So as I am starting to get my project rolling, I’m starting to withdraw from it. At a time I should be pressing full steam ahead, I’m procrastinating. It’s frustrating because I know all of this and yet I am still choosing to allow my feelings of insecurity stop me.
Well, almost stopped me..
I Have No Option
What I can tell you is that regardless of how I feel right now, I honestly feel like I have no option other than to proceed with my project. It’s not about building a blog or an online business. It’s about changing my life permanently. It’s about becoming a better person and a happier person.
I have to make these changes for myself, my family, and my sanity!
So I’m taking all this information and limitation bullshit and doing something about it.
And here’s what I need to do:
- Figure out where these feeling stemmed from and then identify my underlying beliefs about success.
- Be crystal clear on my goals and the steps I have to take to achieve them.
- Have a strong enough “why” in order to get through my bouts of self doubt.
- Understand that I will never get out of my current life situation if I continue doing the same things I have always done.
- Stop worrying about what might happen if I succeed. Too much pressure, being in the spotlight, and drawing positive attention are all things I think about. The funny thing is that nobody really cares all that much. It’s more in my head than anywhere else. Once I get over that fact, it will become easier deal with.
The Next Step
First off, I appreciate everyone’s patience with me here. As many of you have seen, I am battling a number of emotional issues, feelings, and personal hurdles.
All I ask is that you stick with me for a little while longer and come January 2, you will know what I have been up to for the past few months.
I’m super excited about what is coming and can’t wait to share it with you all! And believe me, this is going to be awesome!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. To be honest, I have met very few people with the fear of success and am very interested to know just how prevalent this is. Are you dealing with similar issues?