There have been lots of guides and lessons on conquering the fear of failure — after all, it’s one of the most common hurdles that everyone eventually faces. Learning how to turn failure into success has become a mantra that most have heard at some point.
Fear of failure is rooted, of course, in wanting to achieve total success, and everybody wants to succeed. But it’s also ironic how victory can scare others. Unlike the fear of failure, which can be easily spotted nowadays, fear of success is more subtle, harder to recognise, yet is more real than you’d like to believe. It seems counter-intuitive to fear achieving what we were working hard for, which is why many often do not identify the signs they exhibit.
But why do people fear success — the very thing they want to happen to themselves?
The most significant reason for this is that success, to them, equates a monumental change. Suddenly you’re in uncharted waters, required to do things that you never did before. Your lifestyle changes. Your work behaviour must change. You suddenly have more responsibilities, with more people depending on you and listening to your every word. And then you start asking yourself, “Was I that good enough to push through, or was I a fluke?”
It’s this metamorphosis that scares people. When we fail, even if we don’t appreciate the outcome, we can safely slip back to our comfort zone. But if you want to succeed, you must take a blind leap of faith, and you’re not sure what will happen when you do. Failing at a task is much more comforting because at least you know what will come next.
But when you achieve success, suddenly you must become a different person, or cope with different situations that you’ve never encountered before.
Why shouldn’t you fear success, and what can you do to address it?
If you find yourself having doubts or anxieties over what happens when you succeed, stop. Take a deep breath. Recognising that you’re afraid of success is already half the battle won, but you shouldn’t stay there. You need to understand what it is that you fear the most about success — not being able to cope with it, the possibility of selling out, or morphing into someone you couldn’t recognise — and tackle it head-on.
First, remind yourself that success brings you more: a boost in confidence, a more powerful, expanded network, a healthier bank balance, and a better reputation that opens new opportunities. A self-defeatist mindset won’t help with your fear of success. Keep positive, and always focus on the good that your success means for your life.
Next, hold on to the reality that you can’t please everyone — and that this shouldn’t be your goal, anyway. You don’t need to let go of your values or beliefs to climb the corporate ladder, because there will always be another way to maintain your success with integrity. And remember that backbiting is always a part of the price of success, and while you can’t do anything about it, you don’t have to take it to heart, either.
Finally, accept that success means you’ll change, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Change doesn’t equate to completely abandoning your current self in favour of a persona that no one can recognise. Success-driven change only means that you’re improving yourself, doing things that you thought you could never do, but still retaining the subtle nuances that call back to who you were before your big achievement. Success can bring out different facets of yourself that you never knew you had, and it’ll contribute to your overall growth.
It’s time to stop cowering in the face of success and just run straight into it. The future after your big triumph may be uncertain, but it also means that the future is yours to shape however you please.
Contact Business Coaches Sydney today at 1300 833 574 to learn more about our Business Coaching and Marketing Training.
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