Usually when we discuss goals and success in life, we talk about the fear of failure that is holding us back. The fear of failure can hold us back from trying new things because we might fall short and (god forbid) lose face.
Fear of failure stems from doubt of our abilities and from setting ourselves high standards. There is another fear however, that hinders our performance and achievement of goals. Fear of success.
It seems strange, you might think, to fear success. I mean who doesn’t want to succeed in life? There is a big difference between wanting to succeed and allowing yourself to reach success. Firstly, getting what we really want can mean change and while we don’t like to admit it, most of us are resistant to change. It’s a basic human instinct really, novelty has the potential to be a threat.
Success can mean more responsibilities, a successful candle store is going to need more candles! Maybe it means you are more independent and autonomous and who are you to be given control over your own life!!!! It also means a redirection of the energy that was previously being used to succeed, it’s the ‘what now?’.
So ask yourself about a goal you have that you may be self sabotaging and ask yourself these questions about what it means to NOT succeed:
- What do I get to avoid?
- Who/what do I get to punish, blame or love?
- What emotions am I able to hold on to? Guilt can be a comfort.
- Am I manipulating myself and others with my self pity?
- What guarantees am I holding out for?
- What am I afraid of losing if I succeed?
- What relationships do I expect to change if I succeed?
If we take time and write down our answers we might just find that while success is great, there is a lot we must lose to attain it. We need to remind ourselves that these are positive changes.
Once we’ve identified our fears, we can set about letting them go. First we must forgive ourselves for our fears and stay positive about our ability to succeed. Then we can break down these fears. One way is to imagine your fears being played out, when we do this we may realise that they aren’t as bad as what we’ve dealt with before and maybe, just maybe, we could handle it. For example, if Ange’s finally finishes study and lands her dream job, she realise’s that she can pay her own rent and finally be self sufficient. Whilst the prospect is scary, no more support from her parents, she envisions what it will be like to have ownership of her finances. Save for things she has always wanted. Maybe it won’t be so bad, I mean a lot of people have done it before.
Sometimes just becoming aware of what our underlying fears and anxiety are enough to let them go. When we are able to recognise why we might behaving in a self destructive way we can change.
So ask yourself what’s holding you back. More than likely the answer is you. But that’s cool, because you control you. Hooray!