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Are You Afraid of Success?

Quick . . . Give me an answer!  Are you? Most people say, “NO… absolutely not. I’m doing everything I can… making all the right moves to get what I want.”Ok then, the real question is… Do you feel suc...

Quick . . . Give me an answer!  Are you? 

Most people say, “NO… absolutely not. I’m doing everything I can… making all the right moves to get what I want.”

Ok then, the real question is… Do you feel successful?

You know what a lot of people say when I ask them that question? “Well… what do you mean by successful?”

We all crave it . . . we all strive to achieve it . . . but WHAT IS IT?!

The definition of successful: resulting or terminating in favorable or desired outcome


Now, you have to determine what that means to you. What does it take to make you FEEL successful and are you really reaching out in the right direction?

So, let’s get real about what YOU mean by successful. Do you really want it? Steven Berglas, a Harvard psychiatry professor, wrote a book called “The Success Syndrome: Hitting Bottom When You Reach the Top”. He says that “what you call success may have consequences that you don’t want.”

Are you sure about what the outcome will be if you get what you’re aiming for? Often times we have an idea of what success would be for us… what would make us feel successful. We see or hear from others what appears to be success. But, they’re just ideas and not rooted in reality. After all, what’s good and successful for someone else, may not be good for you. And may in fact, be toxic in your life.

A friend of mine is a highly educated lawyer. He’s also a very skilled painter. He came to me because he was feeling depressed, stagnant and “unsuccessful”. He felt that no matter “how hard he tried” he could not achieve the success he wanted as both a lawyer and an artist. After a lot of talking and dissecting the realities of his situation, we came to some big realizations.- He was not feeling “successful” at the law firm because he had not yet been made partner. But, in reality there were several things he had not done that were necessary steps to make sure he would become partner. Why?- Because if he was made partner, he would not have the time to put into his artwork. Ah… so, maybe he didn’t really want to be partner?- But, he didn’t feel like a successful artist either. Why?- Because he had not had his own show.... Ok… hang with me here….- Why hadn’t he had his own show? I knew he had enough great work to put together a show. His answer?- “Oh no… my work is no where near good enough. I haven’t had enough time to put into it to be good enough”.

So, in reality, he had set up his own limiting beliefs about himself and his achievements.

When he finally declared that it was OK that he didn’t want to be a partner in that law firm… that he didn’t want to put more time into the company in exchange for money; it freed him to feel successful at his present level in the firm.

Now, we needed to work on reevaluating what success as an artist means to him. Did he really want a show? Or was it enough that he just painted for himself? By writing a mission statement, he got back in touch with why he was an artist in the first place. He got in touch with the fact that his fear of success was sabotaging his intention to express himself. He was actually afraid that his work was so good, that it would hurt some of his other artist friends if he had a show. So, he was making all kinds of excuses not to do it. 

Does any of this sound familiar? Are you striving to achieve something that deep down you're not sure you’ll like or even be able to handle? Or perhaps you’re limiting yourself because you just don’t really want to confront the ideas you’ve had about your own success.

Try these statements on… see if any ring true:

Sometimes I don’t try as hard as I can because I don’t want to threaten anyone.

I get anxious if anyone regards me as the best in my field.

I often don’t do things to the best of my ability.

I am often more comfortable failing than succeeding.

I often let others win if it makes them more comfortable.

I’m not comfortable with others expecting too much from me.

If I’m too good at something, I worry about judgment from others.

Your candid answers to these questions can often reveal where and how you are getting in your own way. Be aware of these limiting beliefs. Be aware if you are giving away your power and then stressing that you aren’t achieving what you want. If you have these obstacles, it doesn’t really matter how much time and energy you put in… you won't feelsuccessful. 

It’s time to bust your own myths. Come out of your comfort zone and take a good look around.

Are you sure you want that promotion? Do you want to work longer hours, see less of your family, be the president in charge of the company? Are you sure that when you achieve the success idea that you have for yourself … that it will make you happy?

It’s ok and in fact vital, for you to reevaluate these ideas of success and adjust them to suit your realities. Be clear that your goals motivate you; not terrify you or shut you down. Work hard on your intention and focus on what you really want and why you’re here. And don’t let yourself be afraid of being everything that you are!

Because the fact is you are successful! You live a successful life everyday. Accept your success… embrace it … don’t let your unfounded fears unconsciously strip you of your goals and achievements.

Declare your successes for yourself everyday . . . and be clear that you will hit the topHealth Fitness Articles, when you reach the “top”. 

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I have been a professional artist and artist coach for 15 years.  I have established a website for the creative community.  I offer free articles, stories and online coaching for creative personal development.  www.creative-personal-development.comEveryone is creative... it is you who creates your life!

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