The Fear of Success

The Fear of Success

by , It seems an unlikely concept because who wouldn’t want to be successful? What is there to fear? Fame, fortune, doesn’t everyone want that?The real question that drives the fear is “Am I good enough?” And, if I am now, will I always be? Can I meet the expectations of others? Can I meet my own expectations? Then there are additional demands, obligations, personalities and new issues that I haven’t encountered before. Can I handle that?The fear of failure, not being good enough, is universal. Many of us are under the disillusion that we are NOT good enough, so why try for more? I don’t want to fail so I won’t try. Fear of success is a little different, and the fear is the accomplishment, of being recognized and rewarded. Do I deserve this success? How will my life change if I am successful? And, what about the tapes that run through my head, telling me I am not as good as I think I am, and all this success is just a sham. This fear can stop you from moving forward, perhaps tolerating a situation you are unhappy with, or not reaching for the next step in the career ladder. The result is lost potential and not being all you can be.I was in this situation not too long ago, worried that I couldn’t perform up to the employer’s expectations, let alone my own expectations. It was a sinking feeling, frustrating, making me even more anxious about my performance. I almost quit. I finally had to sit and evaluate the situation, look at my performance and that of my competitors objectively, and consider the feedback I’d already received.Once I did that, I discovered my fears were unfounded. I was just out of my comfort zone. If I could determine the situation and define the problem, I could change my behavior. I did, and now I look back and wonder what I was worried about.This is the definition of personal and professional growth.There is always a period of uncertainty as you try something new, and the resulting tension can lead to questions of credibility and ability. We have a choice to make at this point. We can continue to stay where we are, or we can reach past our comfort zone and test our abilities. Once tested, and meeting expectations, you can look at new opportunities differently. You passed the last test, and the next one won’t be hard either.I urge everyone in a transition to

  1. Objectively assess your skills, abilities, and interests to determine where you belong
  2. Ask others to give you their impressions of you and your strengths. This may be difficult to approach but the information is invaluable
  3. Accept and accentuate your strengths by pushing past your comfort zone
  4. Determine weaknesses and make a plan to address these issues, especially if it directly impacts your career choice
  5. Try something new and push yourself past your comfort zone

Believe in yourself. There is a place for you out there, where you belong and will thrive.

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