Fear of Success; not the first thing that comes to mind when you consider the roadblocks to success. However, there are indeed many reasons to fear success. Subconsciously, or perhaps even consciously, these fears may be holding you back. One of the elements of success that is often overlooked is the vacuum that it creates. After working hard and attaining your goal, whether it’s the dream job, significant other, weight or fitness goal or just about any other major life goal, you can get stuck feeling directionless. Until you have arrived at your goal, there was a strong motivating force keeping you on track and feeling positive. Now that you have fulfilled your goal, you may paradoxically begin to feel unfulfilled.
This is indeed a frightening thought. You mean to tell me that after I reach my goal, I may feel less satisfied than before? And that this thought might be discouraging me from reaching my goal, out of the fear that I will not know what to do with myself if I actually make it to the finish line, is truly daunting.
This reality presents itself in many symptoms. Doctors have one of the highest suicide rates. Yet, this happens more after they have completed all the necessary steps to establish a practice, and far less often on the way to this point. Divorce can occur when the focus of the marriage was simply to accomplish the goal of getting married. Highly successful individuals often fall into states of depression and suffer from clinical anxiety. All of these phenomena may have other causes. However, research indicates that at least part of the problem here is actually caused by the attainment of goals and the achievement of success.
Knowing this challenge, there are things that you can do to avoid fear of success, and prevent the negative effects of “goal-less-ness.” First, establish a mindset that you intend to improve, grow and learn for the rest of your life. You will not need to worry about lack of future goals if you make it clear to yourself that you will continue to improve indefinitely. The simplest way to do this is to read new books regularly. As you absorb new ideas, you will realize that you have a lot to learn and that there is no end to how much growth is possible. Second, whenever you think about one of your goals, also consider what an even bigger goal might look like. For example, if you are losing weight, imagine not only reaching your weight goals but also adding another form of personal control, such as meditation, to your life. If you are studying and working towards professional credentials, imagine having goals relating to the service itself. For example, establishing a practice with a client base of a certain size. Third, once you have reached a goal, return to the reason for the goal in the first place, and see what else you can do in that direction. For example, if you wanted to build muscle by working out, and you have accomplished this, now work on building endurance through cardio. Both of these should improve your overall fitness, which may have been the reason behind your original goal.
Now you have some tools to help combat your fear of success. Give them a try, you may be surprised by the power of these simple ideas. Tell me about your goals and any questions you have about the fear of success. I love to hear from you.