10 Sure-Fire Ways To Conquer The Fear Of Success

Fear of Success

When I was in elementary school, I played in a tetherball competition with the girls in my 5th grade class.

After beating several other girls, I was paired with the most popular girl in the class. All of the kids were standing around us watching our match, and I was ahead for most of the game.

It was thrilling to be kicking the butt of the most popular girl, especially since I wasn't much of an athlete.

But as the match went on, all of our classmates started cheering for my opponent. Every time she scored, there was wild enthusiasm. When I scored, there was silence.

So I threw the game -- I purposely messed up to allow her to score the winning point.

At the time, I wasn't conscious of my reasons for purposely losing. It was a quick decision, but a decision triggered by an accumulation of experiences and beliefs about myself.

I was afraid of succeeding because . . .

  • I would have undermined the social hierarchy in our class -- the popular girl is supposed to win.
  • I wasn't a natural athlete, so if I won, I'd be challenging the perceptions of all of my classmates.
  • Maybe I was more athletic than I believed, and by winning, I'd have to challenge my own beliefs about myself.

These things didn't run through my brain in the moment, but in retrospect, I see how my fear of success was fueled by a fear of rejection, shame, and discomfort.

I didn't want to tinker with the status quo.

Have you ever had an experience where you sabotaged your own success, even when you longed to be successful?

It's a strange and disconcerting situation in which to find yourself. On the one hand you dream of accomplishment and glory. On the other, you overtly or passively subvert your every effort.

Why do we have a fear of success? Here are a few of the reasons:
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