Are you afraid of success?

I am going to go out on a limb and say that most people think that they are afraid of failure, BUT what they actually fear is their own success. 

Fear of failure is what keeps a lot of people from starting in the first, but once you push past that and start making traction towards your goal(s), the fear of success is what actually starts to kick in and mess with your nervous system.

If you are thinking, ‘Kayla, why the heck would I be afraid of achieving everything I have ever desired?  That’s all I want!’  Hear me out…

Fear of success manifests when you visualize the achievement of your goals AND in doing so, it will bring into your awareness what is required of you to uphold that level of attainment.

How fear of success is commonly expressed 

1. Focusing on the burdens your blessing will bring

I listened to an excellent podcast the other day by Joel Osteen called The Blessing And The Burden.  In his sermon, he highlights that with great success comes new burdens.  Many people tend to focus on their burdens instead of the blessing that came to pass.

From my own personal experience and from speaking with some women I work with, I have noticed that many people start doing this BEFORE we even start working towards achieving our goals!

Here are some examples how fear of success is manifested:

If I start a business, what if I screw up my taxes?

If I start and grow my side hustle so big that I am able to leave my job, will I be able to uphold the grind and motivation it took to replace my income?

If I start getting more orders, I will have to spend more time putting them together and sending them out.

If I gain more followers on social media to help me grow my business, that will lead to more chances to be criticized.

Some of these may sound silly to you, but they actually bring up many deep and REAL fears for people that block them from starting and/or achieving their goals, subconsciously.  They may not even know they are self-sabotaging or in fight or flight mode (trying to protect themselves) and get frustrated their not in a better place with this goal.  It is important to bring awareness to these potential roadblocks so we can push through them and achieve our goals.

2. Outgrowing loved ones

When you start doing things differently than you always have, it is going to shake up a lot of relationships in your life.  As humans, we want to be loved and accepted by our community.  If we aren’t, we can retreat on what we are doing and resort to staying the same so that we don’t rock the boat.

Here are some examples of how we can stop ourselves from achieving our goals due to relationships:

1. You decide you want to stop people pleasing and start setting boundaries.  This makes your family members feel very uncomfortable, mad and resentful.  They don’t understand you. They tell you that you think you’re better than everyone else for doing this when in reality you just want to feel peaceful and happy.  This makes your personal development goal even more difficult.  It is easier to just throw in the towel and let people walk all over you instead of achieving your goal of upholding strong boundaries.  The fear of success is you upholding strong boundaries, but everyone you love could hate you.

2. You want to start eating healthy, going to the gym and lose weight but your partner doesn’t want to give up their unhealthy lifestyle.  Not only is it more difficult to do something with an unsupportive partner, but it can really bring up a lot of fear that you are going to outgrow them.  If you get fit and healthy and put your life on a different trajectory than being lazy and eating potato chips on the couch watching TV all night then you are your partner may not be a great match for each other anymore.  This can be very scary because you love them and don’t want anything to happen to your relationship.  Your fear of success is achieving the body and vitality of your dreams but losing your partner of a decade. This can stop you from starting your health journey in the first place.

3. You want to stop drinking but that’s the only thing your friends want to do on the weekends.  This was something I went through in my early 20s.  I really wanted to spend my weekends doing olympic weightlifting, being productive and enjoying my life instead of being hungover and blowing all my money.  I wanted to enjoy a drink here and there but not have it be my identity anymore.  I was terrified that if I stopped going out all the time, that I wouldn’t have any friends or they would talk crap about me.  Some of them didn’t mind but some of them did exactly what I was afraid of and it was painful.  BUT the pain was temporary.  Now on the other side, I am so glad I pushed through that fear and started working towards a better me.  It truly sent me on an amazing trajectory.  My fear of success was losing all of my friends that I’ve had since childhood and being judged.

Closing thoughts

Fear of success isn’t actually about achieving your goals.  It is about the potential burdens and/or shedding of your old life that can be absolutely terrifying.  Bringing these subconscious thoughts to the forefront of your mind can be very helpful in pushing through the pain and fear because you have awareness of some roadblocks in not only your mind but in your body that is trying to keep you ‘safe.’

How does the fear of success show up for you?