I constantly say that I want to be successful and to make more money, but the moment that things start to change for the better, fear sets in. I have heard a lot about fear of success, but I didn’t know that it was a real thing, until I experienced it myself.
I’m not talking about the butterflies that I get right before I take the stage. I’m talking about a real fear. Every time I book a client and collect payment, a flood of self-doubting thoughts race into my mind. I think Oh crap! This person believes in me and is expecting me to deliver something amazing. I would never put myself out there, if I didn’t think that I could do the work and do it well. But for some reason, I feel anxious.
I work tirelessly to be sure that my client has the best experience and gets the exact results he/she was expecting or better. I haven’t had an unhappy client, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling fearful in the beginning.
So what is the fear of success? Susanne Babbel, a phychologist, believes that the feeling of the excitement of success can be very similar to the same feeling of trauma, and most people confuse the feelings and end up feeling “phobic” about success. She suggests recalling exciting experiences and taking note of the feeling that arises. Then, she suggests recalling an overwhelming experience and taking note of the feelings that arise from that.
I did this exercise and realized that the feelings really are similar. There is a rush of adrenaline, and when I come down, I want nothing more than to lie down and sleep.
A few years ago my husband and I were invited to meet with a record label. I asked him to keep the news quiet, but he was so excited that he told everyone we knew. People started surrounding us and congratulating us. We were in the spotlight, and I felt terrified. I remember sitting somewhere, and after so many people had approached me, I just started crying. I felt so overwhelmed. I had no idea that what I was initially feeling was excitement. It scared me, and I processed it as fear and overwhelm.
I imagine that this is why so many people cry when they’re happy. They feel overwhelmed with emotion, and even though it isn’t negative, their response looks that way on the outside.
How do we get rid of the fear of success?
For me, all it took was to know this information to release that feeling of fear. If something makes sense in my head, it is much easier for me to make it make sense in reality. (Side note: That’s why it was sooooo hard for me to grasp the concept of having faith.) If you need a little more, keep reading.
- Change the conversation that you have with yourself about what success means.What do you believe about people who are successful? How could that belief be holding you back from accomplishing what you want?
- Take inventory.Whenever you feel afraid, take inventory of the things that are going on around you and in your body. If you are experiencing success, then you should understand that you are confusing the feelings of fear and excitement.
- Be honest.Lying to yourself is worse than lying to someone else. If you really desire to be successful, you have to be willing to be honest so that you can identify the things that may be holding you back. Then, you can put in the necessary work that will truly help you to reach your full potential.
What things may have been causing you to experience fear of success?