The Most Cryptic Block to Your Success: Fear of Success

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If you were stoking a bonfire, would you douse it with water? Not if you knew that’s what you were doing. Many of us work on building our inspiration, motivation and passion (our fire) and then subconsciously douse it. Or we set a challenging personal or business goal and keep running into a glass wall. Most often, fear of success causes these obstacles; it is probably the most cryptic and prevalent fear that blocks success.

Here are four examples of fear of success:

  1. Sara, a 30-something entrepreneur, said, “I don’t think my family [of origin] will accept, or even love me if I’m wealthy.”
  2. Zoey, a 15-year-old female swimmer, was afraid to swim a senior national qualifying time, saying: “People’s expectations will be so much higher. I don’t want that stress.”
  3. Tom, in high-tech sales, was afraid to have a really great year because, “They’ll raise my goals, and I don’t know if I can sell this much again.”
  4. Hundreds of business executives I’ve talked with recently constantly worry about being successful in their business life and with their families. They see it as an either/or, black/white situation, “Either be successful at work, or be successful with my family.” This used to be almost exclusively a female fear, but now it’s both women and men.
Here’s the setup for fear of success. Success in achieving one of your important goals (your first goal) creates failure for another one of your important goals (your second goal). Thus, either consciously or subconsciously, you sabotage your success in accomplishing your first goal for fear of not being successful in accomplishing your second goal. This is especially true when the second goal is in your subconscious mind -” you aren’t aware, or fully aware, of it.

Let’s review our examples.

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