“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” ― C. JoyBell C.
A Fear of Success.
Have you ever heard of this? Apparently I have it. I was sitting around last night doing a funny test online, when I suddenly found out that I have a fear of Success. The following is my result.
Fear of Success
You’re fairly confident in your abilities, but you balk at the pressure of maintaining success once you have it. You know that your achievements will breed higher expectations, and you worry that you won’t be able to meet them. You may even be experiencing what psychologists call impostor syndrome, the fear that those around you will discover you’re not really as talented or competent as they think. People who fear success often credit their achievements to circumstances rather than to their talent and other assets. The key for these people is to accept responsibility for their accomplishments.
It turns out a fear of success is more complicated and difficult to cure than a fear of failure.
Being a failure is easy. When you fail, everyone is nice to you, even if they think you’re stupid. Failing is comfortable. Your life will not change in any way if you try something new and fail. When you fail, everything will stays the same. Everyone rallies around the person who can’t get his or her shit together. When you are successful, people watch you, wait for you to trip up, scrutinize your spelling and no one will worry about you. Successful people essentially get left out of the community circle. Successful people are the ones who are called upon to help others, give advice, money, information, time, services for free…
I have these ideas about success that I have just made up -Pooof! – From nowhere! Yes, I defiantly have a fear of Success, as you can see. I made all of that up. I don’t know what it is like to be successful and I won’t know until I get over this stupid little fear I have. I am worried about I know nothing about. A fear of success is far worse than a fear of failure.
‘Procrastination is the fear of success.’ Chinese fortune cookie
These are the Fears
I will have to out-do my success with more success? Once you get successful you need to remain that success, right? Of course – So if this next project works, then I am going to have to come up with another better project after that or I’ll be just like Harper Lee and everyone will think my more famous and more consistently successful friend wrote my dam book for me.
Successful people are exposed, criticized? Successful people are often in the public eye or being recognised for great things they have done. Successful people are the ones that everyone else wants to bring down. You have done it yourself. I have. I have looked at a successful person and been certain that I would have made a far better outfit choice or I would have stood differently. ‘How did she pick that dress I’m mean really?’
Success will transform me into someone else? My friends wont like me anymore because I will be different. I am scared of becoming someone else – My partner fell in love with me when I was a very unorganized, slightly alcoholic, Art School student who never finished any paintings. He loves me for who I am right now – Not who I will be when I am successful…Ekk
When there is any kind of change, there is always a fear of loosing who you are and what you have. Instead os thinking as a change as a moving away from yourself, try to think of a change as you gaining more of yourself. Image you are adding onto your personality, your skills, your achievements – not away from who you are. You will still be the same person, just with new skills.
The truth is that being successful is probably easier than you think – For starters, you will have more money (If you haven’t picked it up already, I am talking about ‘Career Success’ not relationships or family crap)
If you can get by with not much money, as you have been so so long (as a writer I am guessing) then think of how easy it will become once you start getting paid more or get publishing in heaps of journals. J.K Rowling said it very well in her interview with Oprah. Once she became a successful writer, she realised that she could throw money are her writing problems. It was a relief for her to realise that she did not have to put up with writing at her kitchen table amidst the noise and mess of her home life.
So what can you do?
The Cure to A Fear of Success – Oprah –
Many of my clients find this simple exercise helpful: Think of a recent success—say, a new account that you won. Now make a list of the skills and qualities you drew on to win it—determination, intelligence, creativity, charm.… (If you’re struggling, ask a friend for help; others can often see your assets more clearly than you can.) Make this exercise a habit each time something goes well at work. Once you begin to see your strengths in action every day, you will recognize that you are, in fact, well-equipped to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.
If none of that works – Just remember that you are only brave when you are doing something that scares the shit out of you. Life is too short for first world problems …