Why Are You Afraid of Becoming Successful?

If someone told you that their biggest fear is fear of success, that would probably sound rather self-confident and bold. For many people, it may not look like a real problem. However, the truth is that fear of success is real. Moreover, it can have a significant negative impact on your life and hold you back whenever you try to make any improvements.

Of course, most people aren’t afraid of success itself but rather various things associated with success, whether it be facing social pressure, making sacrifices, or overcoming difficulties. It’s also important to keep in mind that isn’t necessarily rational, as it’s based on your beliefs of what success might look like rather than the way things really are.

What Makes Success so Difficult

We live in a world full of competition, and success is one of the most desirable things for the vast majority of people. The popularity of social media influencers and lifestyle coaches proves that the concept of success is the cornerstone of modern people’s understanding of happiness.

Whenever we say “success,” we imagine wealth, influence, fame, and many other things that can make life simple, beautiful, and enjoyable. However, if you think about it, the concept of success is much more complex. In fact, it’s accompanied by many factors that can make you shy away from it.

Increased Anxiety

To understand how to overcome your fear of success, you should first think of what might make success intimidating for you. Perhaps, the main reason why people are afraid of success is that it involves change. The more you succeed, the more your life will change compared to what you have now. This factor alone can boost anxiety so it’s a big problem for those who already experience its symptoms.

Although anxiety won’t kill you, it can have severe consequences for your mental and physical health, and it can prevent you from achieving your goals. The best way to figure out whether or not you have anxiety is to talk to a licensed therapist. You can also take an online depression and anxiety test and discuss your results with a professional.

Changes induce anxiety because people tend to seek comfort in their regular routines and habits. We may avoid changes even when they are clearly beneficial simply because certainty feels safer than uncertainty.

Too Much Responsibility

Success may also mean more responsibility. For instance, if you get promoted at work, the chances are that you will deal with more tasks that involve decision-making, and if you don’t want to risk, you may find yourself avoiding promotion opportunities just so that you can avoid the responsibilities that come with it.

Increased Visibility

Success also often comes with increased attention from others. While some people may dream about fame and recognition, not everyone may enjoy the spotlight. Many people may find attention distracting and uncomfortable so they may choose privacy and the feeling of security over success.

Fear of Failure

It’s easy to confuse fear of success with fear of failure because both of these fears can have similar consequences for your personal and professional growth. While fear of failure may also stop you from working toward achieving your goals, there is a big difference between beating yourself up when you don’t accomplish something and being afraid of success.

Fear of success focuses on the possible consequences of your achievements and often revolves around the way others may react to it. In this case, a person may be afraid of succeeding more than failing. Moreover, they may intentionally or unintentionally sabotage their own efforts. In both cases, however, you might need to overcome self-doubt.

Fear of Success: Examples

Obviously, everyone experiences fear of success differently. A lot depends on what you do, what your goals are, and how you imagine success. Nevertheless, there are some particularly common problems that may have an especially strong impact on the lives of people who are afraid to become successful. Here are some of them:

  • Quitting

If you feel nervous about various things that you may experience after you accomplish your goal, you may simply quit. Fear of success can make you find many reasons to stop pursuing your goals so it’s important to keep in mind that some of your expectations may not reflect reality and be simply a product of your fear.

  • Procrastinating

One of the easiest ways not to get things done is not to start at all. If you have to work on an important project and you suddenly realize that you’ve spent a few hours scrolling through social media or chatting with your friend, that means that you’re familiar with procrastination, and you may already know how easily it destroys opportunities.

  • Setting the Bar Low

You can stay in your comfort zone by simply curbing your ambitions. No challenges, no changes, no uncertainty — and no success. If you often set the bar low, you might be afraid of success or failure. Just ask yourself, what if you deserve better?

  • Perfectionism

Wait, isn’t perfectionism helpful if you want to succeed? Well, the truth is that it can actually do more harm than good. When you’re a perfectionist, you may not be satisfied with any results that you get. If you always see everything you do as “not good enough,” it will be incredibly difficult for you to finally get things done.

Wrapping Up

If you keep asking yourself, “Why am I afraid of becoming successful?” then you’re likely not afraid of accomplishing your goals but rather some side effects of success. For example, you might be afraid of new responsibilities, attention, or changes you’ll need to go through if you succeed.

People might be afraid of success for different reasons, so there’s no universal explanation or solution that would apply to everyone. Therefore, if you realize that your fear stops you from achieving what you want, the best approach is to talk to a licensed therapist.

A professional can help you figure out what exactly prevents your success and suggest effective solutions. Therapy can also help you learn the importance of being proud of yourself. A great thing about therapy is that it can be delivered remotely so you won’t even need to leave your home to talk to a professional from your state.

Online therapy platforms like Calmerry enable you to get the necessary help and support from virtually anywhere without commuting to a therapist’s office. Learn more about therapy to get ready for your first session.

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