We’re not afraid of failure, we’re afraid of success

I’ve been running my business for 3 years now. During the first year I was driven by fear of failure – the fear of not being able to survive and put food on the table. I worked hard – and the failure never came. I surprised myself – I earned more and enjoyed myself more than ever.

In Years 2&3, I still felt fear, but now it was the fear of success. It’s the fear that many of us don’t own up to, but which is holding so many of us back. We are not supposed to be afraid to succeed, but the truth is that many of us are. Psychologists explain that we associate the excitement of success with the same reaction to trauma, so we subconsciously avoid subjecting themselves to such excitement-inducing circumstances. People are also often conditioned to believe the hope of successmeans risks – and risks are the precursor of disappointment.

As I approach Year 4, I have overcome my fear of success. I’ve outflanked it by doing these 3 things:-

  1. Review the positive events in your day, every day. Many of us focus on the things that went wrong, when in truth so many things went right. When you start to think like this on a daily basis, the negative bias in your mind soon begins to dissipate.
  2. Tackle fears of uncertainty feeling out of control by telling yourself to focus not on the uncertainty that rapid success brings but instead on the values you practice in business each day – known commonly as doing the “right thing”. Focus on a good process and the end-product usually takes care of itself.
  3. Think about why you do what you do at least once a day: not the responsibilities, but the bigger purpose. A small amount of time each day on this will help you save lots of time through excellent decision making.

Ask yourself honestly whether you are actually afraid of success rather than failure. If you are, then it’s time to get to work and break down the barriers that hold you back.

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