Personal Development, Self Evaluation

8 Signs You Have A Fear of Success

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No, not at all! You could never have a fear of success! It’s all right in front of you. The dream, the plan to get there, and all the action steps you have to take to reach your goal. You begin this journey feeling confident, feeling prepared, feeling perfectly unmovable.

And then it happens. You’re moved.

Suddenly, everything you ever aspired to do and/or become is just not worth it. Too much time, too much energy, just “doesn’t feel right anymore.

And that could be an honest realization, until you see someone else succeeding at the very dream you were shooting for yourself. Then you’re reminded that you could’ve been there. You should be there.

But you’re not.

What is it? What could it be? You know deep down you can do this, if you really put your mind to it. Why can’t you be like everyone else who makes it? They have even shared their tips with all of the internet!

They just maintained consistency, hard work, and stuck to a plan. All things that you know you are perfectly capable of! You should be where they are, if not, FURTHER.


So why aren’t you?

Perhaps you are letting your fear of success stump you from getting there. Now how would that be? If you knew you could attain success, you’d go for it wouldn’t you?

That would be the obvious thing to do! And that’s what most of us would do.

That’s what most of us DO.

So why do some of us stop?

Perhaps it’s that subtle conditioning that “some things are just too good to be true”. Is that a true statement for you?

Could something just as subtle be mentally anchoring your boat in the sea? Perhaps in your childhood, you were always made to believe you weren’t good enough. Maybe at work when you feel you get passed over for someone else for promotions and new positions. Or maybe it’s at home, and you just don’t seem to get the love and attention you deserve.

No matter of how trivial or dramatic, nor minor or major, all it takes is one seed to grow the tree that holds us back forever.

Sometimes, these words can save us… but most times, they stumble us. Here’s how to tell whether your words are saving you, or stumbling you.


You Mentally Cannot Move

You’ve reached it.

That dreaded rock and hard place.

You could have a content lifestyle as it is. But your mental rock and hard place is between your brain and your heart. Both of them seem correct and have very valid points, but you’re not sure which one to listen to.

You find yourself doing a lot of self-examination on the course you’re about to take (or dream about taking) and constantly turning it over in your mind whether this is the right thing to do.

Oh, if the Universe could just send you a flat out sign that says “YES! This is your path!”, that would be most helpful wouldn’t it?


You’re Already Compensating For Your Failures

… And you haven’t even failed yet.

You’re saying sorry for events that may or may not occur even a year from now! But in your mind, it’s all too real.

The stakes just seem so high, and you realize that eventually sales might fall. Eventually, people will stop loving your services, products, stories, etc. And so you compensate for those future failures.

You start telling yourself “well, if this doesn’t happen that’s okay” or “I’m pretty sure I’ll never reach THAT level anyway”.

Fear of success is definitely lurking around the corner. Don’t shoot your dream in the foot before it even jumps off the ground! I’m not saying to never compensate for your failures or that you’ll ever have to, but dooming the plant’s growth before you’ve even watered the seed is ridiculous.



Planning Is More Harmful Than Helpful

For many people, planning is the way to go. And I strongly believe in that too(You know, if the whole blog on planning didn’t give it away.)

Plans help you stay focused, help you figure out strategies, and help you create a road map to get to where you’ve got to go and how much time you’ve got to get there. So how could that be harmful?

The harm in it is over-planning, especially when you just start out.

Things get unpredictable. Sales can go one way or the other, meetings are missed, unexpected clients are obtained, not everything is always by the book as you plan it to be.

Perhaps you’re someone who scrutinizes your plan so much, you hardly make any action.

OR! Perhaps you hate to mess up a good plan, scribbling out so much of your hard-work. It can be discouraging if it’s not going the way you envisioned (and it won’t…trust me).

It might make you stand still for a while trying to re-evaluate what the new plan is going to be, which might also make you re-evaluate if this is something you want to pursue as well.

Try not to second-guess yourself. Don’t let your fear of success cause you to over-plan in the beginning. Planning in this way should be seen as the Flintstones car (yes, I said this lol). In the beginning, do a little more action to get the car moving, then let your plans carry you through. (YABBA DABBA DO!!)


Procrastination Is Your Middle Name… And First… And Last

You’ve a got a reason why you need to do this, this, and that.

But you’ve also got a reason why you ‘just can’t’ at the moment.

Everyone gets hit by the Procrastination Bug at least once in a lifetime (or once a week). And it’s no fun to arrive at the end of the day and realize that you have done absolutely NOTHING to launch you forward.

But the procrastination from having fear of success is CRIPPLING.

Talk about not being able to mentally move. You hold a fear of success so deep your body won’t even let you do one proactive thing toward it.

Your mind demands that you daydream about being a CEO, instead of actually motivating you to make steps to get you to that point. Maybe your body demands you sleep in an extra hour instead of getting up and hitting the gym.

Your mind will work HARD to try and defeat you.

So take note from your mind, and work twice as hard to shut it up!


You’re Learning Helplessness

Perhaps you’ve gotten to a point where you’ve failed over and over and over again. The last time you got up from the fall, you just shrugged your shoulders and thought “Why bother?”.

But as soon as you saw someone else living the dream you wanted (and knew you could have at that), you suddenly got a rush of “That could’ve been me” fever?

You definitely SHOULD bother, because you are absolutely worth it.

Failing is not fun for anyone, but giving up is nowhere near much better. Fear of success will cause you to develop a “why bother” mentality. This is the first step in leading a greyscale life. Because now everything looks bleak.

You seem to not have much interest even though you try to. You enjoy a few things, you laugh, but deep down, you know you’d love to go back to following your dreams. It feels you with more happiness, more satisfaction in knowing you’re actually making steps toward the life you really want to live.

Of course, nobody loves to fail. And I’m sure not too many people (if any) love doing it constantly. But failing is not done to keep us down. Our buildings are not torn down for nothing.

It’s to help us realize that our buildings can be much taller than we originally thought.


You’re A Little TOO Aware Of The Realities

So you’re a fresh face who realizes that no success comes without it’s challenges.

But could you be… too aware?

Are you too aware of the problems? The disgrace? The shaming? The insults? The loss of profit? The independency? The loneliness? The whatever else you can come up with?

Are you so aware of it that it’s keeping you in the same spot day after day?

You have done your research (probably from over-planning) and you can’t stop thinking about the negative outcomes. Fear of success is driving you to only think about the horrible ways this new adventure could go. The only positive you can conjure up is that “you’ll make it“.

But it’s crowded out by everything you could possibly lose.

You immediately connect your current struggles to the struggles that you are “guaranteed” to face when you go for your dreams.

Deep down, you feel you are used to failing. That it’s probably your destiny. And the idea of failing in such a HUGE way is absolutely mortifying. So ummm… why bother?

There’s A Fear You Need To Face That You Aren’t Facing

Sometimes, a fear of success can manifest because you know that there is that ONE thing you need to do that you just aren’t ready to commit to.

This comes in all shapes and forms. You know exactly what you need to do to get started, but you’re just not ready to start working at it yet.

Everything else to do with your goals get accomplished. Well, everything except that one tedious little task. And it is probably the one thing that could propel you far into your dream chasing.

It could be something as simple as practicing a new skill. Or something a bit more complicated like conquering your fear of public speaking. Flying on a plane or learning how to forgive and let go of someone that’s hurt you.

It could be anything!

But it’s something you certainly don’t want to be doing. And it keeps you from moving forward.


Or Actually… You Can Really Do It

And lastly, perhaps you have read this entire article and none of it affects you.

You feel you have no fear of success because you’re not mentally stumped. There’s been no procrastination and over-planning, you aren’t compensating for fake failures, none of that.

You know you can do it. Seriously, you can without a doubt get there!

But that’s the problem.

And it leaves you immobile.

Because… what if you really do make it? You feel like you can’t ever turn back.

People will know your name, they’ll be able to recognize your brand just from flashy colors or a fancy jingle.

It all starts to hit you that once this really takes off… you won’t be normal anymore.

There will be no casually strolling the streets without someone shouting out your name. Forget commenting on videos and blog posts without someone recognizing you and receiving a hundred comments!

And perhaps, it doesn’t even stop there.

What if you mess up? How daunting it is to know how unforgiving the internet can be. Will you be able to handle that kind of pressure? The dark side of being a public figure?

It can be a lot to think about. And perhaps is the most important one to think about. Is your fear of success actually being successful?


Just in case you needed a reminder. 🙂



This post managed to get a little deeper than I intended. So I will most likely make a follow up post on ways you can combat your fear of success.

But until then, just know that you truly are not alone in this thinking. Many people fail for different reasons, but it all leads back to some string of doubt that just won’t let you break through.

It really isn’t as simple as saying “well, I have figured out my fear, I just have to work harder!”.

You most likely have a fear of success because of a very strong belief that you haven’t addressed yet.

Going for your dreams sometimes is a lot more complicated than you think. It will bring out a lot of emotions in you because it’s the one thing you hold closest to you.

Who wants to fail at the one thing they could ever want in life? It’s scary, I know.

But you know what’s even scarier?

Not even trying.



Comment down below! Do you (or did you) harbor a fear of success? What is helping (or has helped) you to cope?

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