I know that it might sound strange, The Fear of Success, but believe it or not many people struggle with it. Some people actually have the Fear of Failure and The Fear of Success at the same time. Talk about feeling paralyzed.
The Fear of Success is expressed in a number of ways including feeling guilty of one’s success, feeling unworthy of one’s success and even downplaying one’s success so as not to draw attention to one’s self.
Many years ago I had an interesting experience when a couple of friends stopped by my office one day after they had seen me being interviewed on T.V. about the success of my business.
They made a comment regarding my “New” truck outside. At the time I bought it, it was already 10 years old but it was in good shape and New To Me. I had to buy a new vehicle as the seat in my 1972 Jeep Commando broke through the rusted out floorboards while I was taking a corner on my way to work one morning. Nothing like being able to see the road while you’re driving. Reminded me of Fred Flintstone’s car.
The comment that they made was “Wow, must be nice being all successful and being able to buy a Brand New Truck”. I replied with the story of my Jeep and how the truck was actually 10 years old and I didn’t Own it, the Bank did.
Seemingly unaffected by my story they went on to say “I guess that’s why you never call us anymore…since now you’re a Big Shot”. I replied with “No, actually I’ve been working 7 days a week and 14 to 16 hour days trying to make my business successful”. Their response? “Ya, sure thing, Rich Boy!
And with that, they left. And I never saw them again. Why? Because I worked very hard to build a successful business and I wasn’t about to let them or anyone else try to make me feel guilty about being successful.
As many of you know, Success has a heavy price tag!!
The best method of combatting the Fear of Success is to have the self awareness that you have worked extremely hard to achieve your level of success and to not let anyone guilt you into believing otherwise. If you catch yourself feeling guilty or downplaying your success to others, remember all the days that you woke up at 5:00 A.M. and all the days that you worked until midnight or until the job was finished. That should set you thinking straight again.
“Crush Your Fear, Rock Your Success”—David Bastin