It’s hard to believe anyone could be afraid of success. But when you consider all the things we do to sabotage success, I’m thinking it just might be true.
Why is that, do you suppose?
It’s really not that complicated. To be successful in any pursuit means our lives will change and as much as we might like success, we’d just as soon have success without the change. It’s kind of like winning the lottery.
I’d like to win the lottery but only up to a certain amount of money, maybe ten million or less. But five hundred million or more (as the most recent lottery winner can add to his bank account), I don’t think so.
I mean that. (My husband doesn’t agree.)
I wouldn’t want the responsibility and I wouldn’t want the fame, the headaches, and the time that would no longer be mine to spend as I like. My life would be consumed with managing all that money.
Success always means change.
When my husband started traveling internationally, we were really excited at first. But then we noticed how family and friends viewed what they considered our sudden success. It was as if we’d won the lottery. They eventually adjusted and realized we were the same people we always were.
It was fun to accompany him at times but there were also those long absences. It was hard work for both of us. We’re much happier now that he is not traveling so extensively. I guess this wasn’t a case of being afraid of success as we had no time to get afraid because it happened so fast.
My blog might be a better example. Do I want it to succeed? Yes, I think so. This seems like a lot of work for me to want anything less, but if it’s a lot of work now, what would it be if it really took off and I had like ten thousand followers? Would I feel as free to write what I wanted? Would it become a burden and not something I really enjoy? (Which, I do. A lot.)
What if the book I’ve written (yet to be submitted to a publisher) that prompted this blog were to get published?
What if people actually read it?
What if it showed up on Amazon?
Would people think of me differently?
Yes, I would love seeing my book on the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble, but I would be afraid of what might happen next. What if family and friends read it? What would they think of me? Seeing as the book is about my struggles with depression that I kept hidden for years, would that change their opinion of me? What if they started to treat me differently? What if they were embarrassed by what I wrote?
It’s interesting that we don’t ask ourselves the other questions that are just as likely to be true. What if our family and friends were proud of us? What if no one thought differently of us? What is our success would be celebrated by all we knew?
Fear of success is just as powerful as fear of failure.
Another way of saying this might be:
We’re afraid we will fail at success.
It’s why I’m afraid to submit my book proposal. It’s why I’m afraid to try and sell one of my paintings. I would probably feel like it was a mistake, that it was a fluke. What would I do with success? What would I have to change? What would I have to give up?
Here’s a post about fear you might want to read.
Fear is not innately a negative emotion. We always think it is but it doesn’t have to be. What are you afraid of? Is it failure or could it be success? When we answer those questions, we might find the direction we need.
But wait, maybe failure is the first step to success. What do you think? More tomorrow.
God bless and have a good day.