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Handling Fear of Success

Handling Fear of Success

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What is fear of success?
• Suppressing anxieties of not being good enough,
• Uniting all talents and virtues for a greater good
• Confronting and dismissing existing fears in an appropriate manner , Recognizing and welcoming the
• Chance to triumph over competition without feeling unworthy or undeserving
• Expressing views and opinions without hesitation. Setting
• Sights on a goal and achieving it with both sacrifices and rewards. These make up the rough climb, the seemingly impossible
• Steps that if completed always lead straight to success, rewarding those who persevere.
What is fear of success?
• Suppressing anxieties of not being good enough,
• Uniting all talents and virtues for a greater good
• Confronting and dismissing existing fears in an appropriate manner , Recognizing and welcoming the
• Chance to triumph over competition without feeling unworthy or undeserving
• Expressing views and opinions without hesitation. Setting
• Sights on a goal and achieving it with both sacrifices and rewards. These make up the rough climb, the seemingly impossible
• Steps that if completed always lead straight to success, rewarding those who persevere.

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Published by: theseductivecharacter on Jul 17, 2014
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Handling Fear of Success

What is fear of success?
• Suppressing anxieties of not being good enough,
• Uniting all talents and virtues for a greater good
• Confronting and dismissing existing fears in an appropriate manner ,
Recognizing and welcoming the
• Chance to triumph over competition without feeling unworthy or
undeserving
• Expressing views and opinions without hesitation. Setting
• Sights on a goal and achieving it with both sacrifices and rewards.
These make up the rough climb, the seemingly impossible
• Steps that if completed always lead straight to success, rewarding
those who persevere.
• Melissa M. Messina
Fear of success is the:
• Fear that you will accomplish all that you set out to, but that you still
won't be happy, content, or satisfied once you reach your goal.
• Belief that you are undeserving of all the good things and recognition
that come
your way as a result of your accomplishments and successes.
• Opposite of fear of failure, in that fear of failure is the fear of making
mistakes and losing approval. Fear of success is the fear of
accomplishment and being recognized and honored.
• Lack of belief in your own ability to sustain your progress, and the
accomplishments you have achieved in your life.
• Fear that your accomplishments can selfdestruct at anytime.
• Belief that no matter how much you are able to achieve or accomplish,
it will never be enough to sustain success.
• Belief that there are others out there who are better than you, who will
replace or displace you if you do not maintain your performance
record.
• Belief that success is an end in itself! yet that end is not enough to
sustain your interest and"or commitment.
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• Fear that once you have achieved the goals you have worked diligently
for, the motivation to continue will fade.
• Fear that you will find no happiness in your accomplishments! that you
will be perpetually dissatisfied with life.
What are the negative consequences of the fear of success?
Fear of success can result in:
• # lack of effort to achieve goals you have set for yourself in school, on
the $ob, at home, in relationships, or in your personal growth.
• %elfdestructive behavior& tripping yourself up to make sure you do not
sustain a certain level of success or achievement you once had in
school, on the $ob, at home, in relationships, or in your personal
growth.
• 'roblems making decisions, being unable to solve problems.
• Losing the motivation or the desire to grow, achieve, and succeed.
• (hronic underachievement.
• Feeling guilt, confusion, and an)iety when you do achieve success.
*his leads you to falter, waver, and eventually lose your momentum.
• %abotaging any gains you made in your personal growth and mental
health, because once you become healthier, a better problem solver,
and more +together,'' you fear that no one will pay attention to you.
,ou are habituated to receiving help, sympathy, and compassionate
support.
• ,our choosing to do $ust the opposite of what you need to do to be
happy, healthy, and successful.
• -einforcing your chronic negativity, chronic pessimism, and chronic
lack of achievement since you cannot, visualize yourself in a
contented, successful life.
• .enouncing your achievements and accomplishments! seeking ways in
which you can denigrate yourself enough to lose what you've gained.
What do those who fear success believe?
• / have worked so hard to get this far, yet / need to keep on working
hard! /'m not sure the effort is worth it.
• / know people care about me when / am down and out, but will they
like me when / am on top and successful0
• /'ve never been happy before, so how can / be sure /'ll be happy once
/ achieve my goals0
• / am nothing, and / deserve nothing.
• 1ow can people like me if / succeed in reaching my goals in life0
• / can't sustain the momentum / would need to achieve my goals.
• 1ow can / be sure that my good fortunes won't go sour and be
destroyed0
2
• *here are always more demands and more needs that have to be met
in order for me to be successful, no matter what / do it will never be
enough.
• *hey are all better, brighter, smarter, and more talented than / am. /
really don't deserve to be successful.
• /t's hard to be at the top2
• 3veryone is out to shoot down the head man2
• 4o one really likes a winner.
• 3veryone goes for the underdog.
• / am happiest when / am under pressure and challenged.
• 1ard work, no play, and constant effort make me happy. 5hat would /
do if it were different0
• / feel so guilty when / realize how much / have been given in my life.
• /'m always afraid /'m going to lose it all.
• %tarting over again gives me meaning and a sense of mission and
purpose.
• /'m so bored with what /'ve accomplished. 5hat's left to do0
• 3veryone has the right to fail in life, and / have the right to choose to
fail if / want to.
What new behavior patterns can help in overcoming your fear of
success?
• Learning to reinforce yourself for the hard work, effort, and sacrifices
you've made to achieve success
• Being able to honestly appraise your level of achievement, success,
and accomplishment
• #ccepting yourself as being healthy, +together,'' happy, successful,
prosperous, and accomplished
• 4ot giving yourself any e)cuses for being unsuccessful
• 6iving others in your life permission to give you honest, open, candid
feedback when they see you selfdestructing or backsliding
• 7onitoring your level of commitment and motivation to reach your
goals
• 8isualizing your life when you are successful
• 6iving others credit, recognition, and support for their personal
achievements, successes, and accomplishments
• 1onest, open, realistic selftalk that encourages you to work your
hardest to achieve the goals you have set for yourself
• #ccepting the compliments and recognition of others with an open
heart and mind
Steps to overcoming fear of success
Step 1: ,ou first need to identify the fear of success in your life. *o do this,
answer 9uestions ::a'' through ::$'' in your $ournal for each of the following
twelve areas&
• at school
3
• on the $ob
• with family
• in marriage
• in relationships
• with friends
• in your career
• in your emotional life
• in your hobbies
• in sports
• in your physical health
• in your spiritual life
a. 5hat do / think will happen if / achieve success here0
b. 5hat would success in this area of my life look like0
c. /n what ways do / feel undeserving of success here0
d. 5ho am / afraid of hurting or intimidating if / achieve success here0
e. 5hat do / think is lacking to keep me from sustaining success in this
area0
f. 5hat are my biggest concerns about succeeding in this area0
g. 5ho do / believe is more deserving of the success / have or will achieve
here0
h. 1ow motivated am / in the struggle for success in this area0
i. /n what ways do / think that once / achieve success here that / will lose
focus or direction in other areas of my life0
$. /n what ways do / think that /'ll be unsatisfied or feel unworthy if /
achieve success in this area0
Step 2: Once you have completed %tep ;, answer the following 9uestions
for the same twelve areas&
a. 5hat evidence is there that / have not sustained enough effort to
achieve my goals in this area0
b. 5hat are my long range goals for this area0
c. /n what ways do / selfdestruct achievement and success here0
d. 1ow much of a problem do / have in making decisions here0
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e. /n what ways has my motivation been diminished in this area0
f. /n what ways have / been an underachiever in this area0
g. 1ave / ever felt guilt, confusion or an)iety when / did achieve a level of
success here0
h. 1ave / ever feared losing people's attention, sympathy, or concern if /
achieved success here0
i. 1ave / ever chosen $ust the opposite of what / needed to be successful
in this area0
$. 1ave / ever put myself down for achieving success in this area0
Step : #fter looking at the negative conse9uences of the fear of success in
each areas of life, identify the beliefs that lead you to fear success. Once you
identify the beliefs for each area, refute them if they are irrational, and
replace them with rational beliefs. /f your beliefs are negative selfscripts,
replace them with positive selfaffirming scripts. <se the Tools for Coping
tools to assist in this.
Step !: #fter you have identified your irrational beliefs and replaced them
with rational beliefs and selfaffirming scripts, identify what new behavior you
need to develop in each of the twelve areas. #nswer the following 9uestions
in your $ournal&
a. 1ow can / improve the ways in which / reinforce myself0
b. 1ow can / make a more honest appraisal of my accomplishments0
c. 1ow can / accept myself as being successful0
d. 1ow can / eliminate all e)cuses for being unsuccessful0
e. 5ho needs to have permission to give me honest feedback when they
see me selfdestructing0
f. 1ow can / monitor my level of commitment and motivation to succeed0
g. 1ow can / improve the ways / visualize what it will be like when /
achieve my goals0
h. 1ow can / improve the ways in which / offer others reinforcement and
praise for their individual success and achievements0
i. 1ow can / improve my selftalk to assist me in achieving my goals0
5
$. 1ow can / learn to accept the compliments and recognition of others for
my success0
Step ": Once you identify the behavior traits you need to develop in your
life, make a commitment to accomplish this. /f you continue to have a fear of
success, however, return to %tep ; and begin again.
#nderstanding $he Fear %f Success
by Taeshia !rooks
%uccess means different things to different people. /t is something to which
we all aspire. Or is it0
.o some of us intentionally ruin opportunities to reach our goals0 .o we find
ways to fall $ust short of obtaining shortterm or even longterm goals0
Believe it or not, some people may $ust do so. %uch actions may actually be a
part of a fear of success.
Fear of success can take on many forms. #ccording to the authors of
(oping.org, fear of success can be a =lack of belief in your own ability to
sustain your progress> or =fear that you will find no happiness in your
accomplishments.> /t can also be caused by several other factors.
=/ think the fear of success is when you have insecurities about who you are
and what you feel you are capable of doing,> says %hirley Labbe, the
assistant director of the (ounseling (enter at ?avier <niversity of Louisiana.
=/nstead of challenging your fears, you give in to them.>
%everal ?avier students shared their thought on the fear of success also.
.etroit, 7ich., native -obin .illard says that she thinks fear of success is the
fear that one will not succeed. =/ think it@s the fear of becoming too big,> says
the $unior political science ma$or. =/t@s the fear of not being able to handle the
responsibility of success.>
Aunior 3nglish ma$or Bakiya Farris has a similar thought. =/ think it@s fear of
reaching a point or doing something that you feel you can@t handle,> she
stated.
=/ think it@s being afraid of taking risks and going to the ne)t level in a
business sense,> says 7arvelous 7iles, a $unior mass communication ma$or.
=#s a result you don@t put forth enough effort.>
%enior 3nglish ma$or -a9uel Franklin thinks that fear of success is being
afraid to disappoint people or being afraid of losing their success. =<sually
people who are successful are afraid they can@t maintain it,> she said.
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#ll of these are very valid analyses. 1owever, fear of success has additional
implications when applied to #frican#merican college students. *he sub$ect
becomes even more complicated for #frican#merican females.
=/ think it affects C#frican #mericansD in a way of not being sure of who they
are and why they@re doing what they@re doing,> says Labbe. =*hey may settle
for things that they feel are acceptable, putting their dreams on hold of
fulfilling their goals because of that fear of trying and making mistakes.>
=/f they make a mistake, they feel that they@re not good enough, but
normally when you make a mistake, it tends to make you want to do better.>
Labbe also has seen the ways fear of success particularly affects #frican
#merican female college students. =/@ve noticed that academically intelligent
#frican#merican females tend not to want to be smarter because it looks
like a put down in front of a guy,> she says. =5e mask who we are because
we want our men to outshine us.>
7iles looks at the effects of fear of success from a societal conte)t. =/t keeps
us at entrylevel $obs,> she says. =5e become content with making a certain
amount of money rather than tapping to the ne)t level.>
%he feels that #frican#merican women are more susceptible to fear of
success because men make more money and dominate the workforce.
=#frican#merican women may be reluctant to go in maledominated fields
and ac9uire certain status levels,> she says. Farris, on the other hand, does
not think fear of success affects #frican#merican female college students
more than #frican#merican males. =/ don@t think it@s true, especially when
you see all the #frican#merican women in school, which is considered a
success,> she says. ='erhaps it is Csomething to itD because #frican#merican
women have two strikes against them.>
=,ou feel pressured, especially here at ?avier,> says Franklin. =/@ve heard
people say, E/f / make good grades this semesterF@
6rades overshadow learning. EAust give me a good grade.@>
Franklin also places #frican#merican women@s fear of success within a
societal conte)t. =/t@s probably because if you look at the corporate world,
men dominate in high positions,> she says. =Black women work e)tra, e)tra
hard to even get there.>
.illard says, =5omen already have a double strike against them. *heir view
of success is already shaded.>
Labbe thinks that environment is one of the leading contributing factors to
the fear of success. =%ome people are submissive,> she says. =%ome people
believe that they should be assertive. %ome people feel that if they are
7
assertive that means that they are aggressive.> %he also e)plains that there
is a tendency to look at #frican#merican assertiveness or aggressiveness as
being crude or rude and to no see the real person.
*he students have other ideas. =7aybe no self assurance in oneself and not
believing in oneself will lead to fears,> says .illard.
Franklin feels it mostly boils down to peer pressure.
#ll the women agreed that competition plays a role in fear of success.
=#frican#merican women will have to compete with white men then white
women then black men,> says .illard. =*hey@re afraid they will not be
successful.>
=/ know one girl who had older siblings who went to college, and they all did
well,> Franklin recalls. =%he was e)pected to do well also. %o there is family
pressure. *here@s also societal pressure saying if you don@t have a degree,
you won@t be anything.>
=/f you feel like you can@t compete with someone, you@ll feel more like a
failure,> says Farris. =,ou@re fearful of incompetence.>
Labbe also feels competition contributes to fear of success. =/ find that we
don@t trust each other,> she said. =/ think because we have a lot of insecurity
about who we are, we have the tendency to shut each other out.
=5e don@t understand how to share. / have this little philosophy that /@m
trying to develop that we $ust want a hand up. 5e don@t want a hand out.>
Labbe advises students to be the best they can. =#s long as it@s what you
want, you should do it. ,ou have to be positive.
3ven if there are setbacks, you must continue.>
&oving 'eyond the Fear of Success
by aren "ohnson
Copyright # $%%&
%uccess has been a motivator since the beginning and man has been on an
ongoing 9uest ever since. 7ost of us want to be successful. .o you0 %o
what's stopping you0 5hy is one person successful and another not0 5e all
want /* but somehow for some of us it keeps eluding our grasp. %ome long
for a better present but spend their time living only in the future... e)isting
mainly on the promise of tomorrow.
8
WH($ )S S#**+SS
%uccess is nurtured. %uccess is freedom. /t's allowing you to be who you
are and e)pressing what you need to e)press and what you've come here to
do. %ometimes the most difficult or darkest part of the $ourney is actually
finding our way through the maze of obstructions we create, attract, or
magnetize towards ourselves.
%'S$(*,+S
5ill / be accepted if /'m truly successful0 5ill people still like me0 5hat if /
allowed myself to truly step into my own power, what would the world look
like them0 5ithin yourself take a moment and think about success and what
that feels like. But for some, success or being successful is an unknown
outcome& they have no blueprint for it.
5e all believe that we want success. But do we really0 5e want it. 5e
crave it. 5e often fear it. %uccess in itself sometimes leads us into self
defeating prophecies. 5hat will we do when we have success0 %ometimes
we feel an unconscious need to make amends for real or imagined sins.
Other times it's as if we're almost handcuffed to our family with a deep
seated unconscious belief or even fear of e)ceeding their level of success.
5e've all have had the e)perience of doing things wrong. 7aybe we've
heard someone say 'who do you think you are0' when we tried to do
something different to stand out from the '*ribe'. /t may bring up huge
patterns of belief, self worth, or even deservability issues.
By the time we reach age two or three we have already encountered failure.
/n a toddler's world it may begin with an inability to be understood. By the
time we start school most of us will have e)perienced some degree of failure
each of us finding strategies of coping or not. 5e are all familiar with such
patterns. /t may be selfsabotage programs, selfpunishment, selfhate, self
esteem or deservability issues.
1ave you ever found yourself $ust going along with life, and life is good.
,ou're feeling happy, contented and suddenly you think +this is too good to
be true+ ...before long, it is. 5e have set up a network of selfsabotaging
programs that protects us from moving into this arena 'success.
For many, hidden in their belief system, is a hierarchical structure of
programs protecting them from being successful. 5hat some of us have
9
more difficulty with than failure is actually accessing the rhythm of success.
7any of us have not had preliminary groundwork set in place to help us deal
with this e)perience.
H)--+. '+.+F)$S
*here are benefits to living under the 'reign of fear of success'. ,ou can stay
in the same place or even move backwards. *here is no need for
accountability or responsibility. ,ou can look to other people to take care of
you. ,ou won't be seen as a threat. 'eople will like you.
%ometimes, we are own worst enemies. /nstead of looking over your
shoulder to see who is sabotaging you or what malevolent force is trying to
take away your power, perhaps it's time to look a little closer to home. Fear
of success can set up a pattern where we will do anything to avoid success
regardless of the cost or conse9uence.
#lthough we may get close, under no circumstances will we allow ourselves
to become successful. 1ave you ever been in a situation where you achieved
your goal and then ended up messing it up, throwing it away, doing
something that resulted in your success disappearing, dissolving, fading
away... self sabotage.
-emember, some of us may be unknowingly holding on to some unspoken
grief, unresolved issues or things that no longer vibrate or resonate at the
fre9uency we're at! that we've somehow been carrying along with us on our
$ourney. /t may be the time to say goodbye or to release what is no longer
serving you so that you can make space for success to enter your life.
*here may be some limitations that distorts our vision and our mission or
purpose, but we can and do achieve great success, we have great potential.
$H+ /0%*+SS
5hile thinking you're aligning with success, or the fre9uency of success, have
you been actually aligning with the 'fear of success', fear of scarcity, fear of
being seen, fear of not being good enough...
5hen was the first time you can remember feeling this fear. 5as it as an
adult0 #s a child0 1as it always been with you0 'erhaps you grew up in an
environment that fostered fear0 'erhaps you came in with it0
10
Facing our fear of success may feel overwhelming. %imply put one foot in
front of the other. *ake a breath. -emember, as in all things, success is an
energy& you either align with that energy or you don't.
1ow do you change0 .o you need to spend years in therapy0 *hat is an
option, or you could choose another route. ,ou have the power to make this
e)perience as difficult or as easy as possible& $ust choose and align yourself.
'erhaps, for you it will happen in an instant. Aust be hearing this
information, it will shift you. Or perhaps, you'll need someone to guide you.
Be open and receptive, and know that it will unfold as you need it to.
5e look to e)ternal sources as being key to our success. -emember, we've
$oined together on this $ourney to discover more about ourselves. 5e are all
creators and each of us is individual. /t makes sense then that each of our
$ourneys will be uni9ue. <nderstand, that you are where you need to be and
remember, where you are changes with every minute. ,ou must always
honour your own process.
S%,#$)%.S
#sk for help. /f you don't know what to ask for help with, ask for help in
figuring it out. -ela) and have fun. /t's all part of the development process.
#llow yourself to make mistakes. /n order to be successful, you need to be
fluid. %tretch, stretch, stretch and listen to that inner guidance system.
%tart with simple steps, and each step will create a building block in your
foundation. ,ou are laying down new pathways for yourself& new ways to
move in the world. (reate an environment that nurtures you. %urround
yourself with people who support your visions and believe in you.
*ake a breath and ask yourself, what is stopping you from being successful.
/f success is a fre9uency then why not tune into that fre9uency0
$his article was originally written by 1aren 2ohnson for:
The Meta Arts Magazine, 'ew (ork, September $%%&
# $%%&, $%%) aren "ohnson, C*t. +*t. ,ll rights reserved in all media.
Karen Johnson is an internationally renowned expert in the field of *uman
-otential .evelopment an area where she has been a leader for the past
decade. , well known /nergy +edicine -ractitioner, +aster *ypnotherapist,
11
Spiritual and +etaphysical *ealer and ,uthor.
She also runs an international 0ntuition Consultant business1 consulting and
mentoring for individuals and small businesses. She can be reached at
23).2)).)$$& or www.awakeningheartandsoul.co.
$en Steps to %vercoming Fear of Success3
by Loral Lee Besola
4ot everyone understands the concept of Fear of %uccess, but many people
know e)actly what that means. Others recognize it once the symptoms are
described to them. /t's something that affects an e9ual number of men and
women, boys and girls.
7ost theories suggest that this fear starts in childhood. 'arents and siblings,
teachers and friends, religious leaders and other family members can all play
a role in the development of this fear. /f #nne Ga hypothetical childH e)cels at
drawing, for instance, her family may be proud yet threatened by her
e)cellence. %o they send her an mi)ed message, namely, +/t's ok to make us
proud but don't you dare become too accomplished.+ /f she ignores this
message and e)cels beyond the level they unconsciously set for her, their
disapproval is shown in myriad waysovert or covert displeasure, re$ection,
even punishment.
%imilarly, schools create this fear by the messages they send. +3)cel, but
make sure you don't make any of the slower or lazier children feel bad about
themselves.+ /f #nne is at the top of her class, the other children Gor even
teachersH, may tease her, make fun of her, or avoid her. *he boys may feel
threatened by her and keep their distance. *he teachers and counselors tell
her to keep her grades up so she can get into a good college, but may steer
her in the direction of lower level math and science and encourage her to
think +realistically+ about how difficult it is for a woman to balance both
career and familythat she'll be forced to make a choice at some point in her
life.
-eligion can create this fear. +%uccess is money and money is evil.+ %ome
religions foster the belief that our life purpose is hard work, selfsacrifice, and
martyrdom, which means, of course, that the happiness that comes from
living our ideal life Gi.e., %uccessH, is worldly and of the devil.
3ven as adults, we get this from family, friends, work, and society at large.
%ome of us buy into this, subconsciously but thoroughly. Fear of success
manifests itself in many ways. 5e deny our competence by saying it was
luck, a miracle, the help of others. 5e become preoccupied with being
evaluated by others. 5e feel intense an)iety at the thought of being in
competition or conflict with powerful or important people.
12
5e may have chronic feelings of inade9uacy, and if we get too close to our
%uccess, we feel like a fraud or phony, and we fear being found out. 5e lack
selfconfidence although we may put on a show of bravado. 5e're afraid of
asserting our rights or desires for fear of inconveniencing, hurting, or
depriving someone else. 5e may feel suspicious, inhibited, or guilty. 5e may
be overcontrolling or overcompliant Gat least on the surface.H 5e self
sabotage when we find ourselves uncomfortably close to achieving our
desires.
5e feel somewhat ambivalent about %uccess. #nd who could blame us, since
in the past it brought both $oy and punishment0 1ow, then, can we overcome
this fear and allow ourselves to push forward and en$oy our %uccess0 *ry
working through the following steps, either alone, or with a therapist or
coach who understands this fear. ,ou'll be able to face your fear of success
and destroy it. ,ou'll be able to attain and maintain higher levels of success
than you ever dreamed possible. Living well is the best revenge2
$en Steps
;H /dentify your fear Gin this case, fear of successH.
IH /dentify your underlying beliefs about success. /t might be helpful to write
several endings to the following sentence stems, spending a few minutes
every day for a week on this e)ercise&
aH %uccess means . . .
bH /f / e)perienced total success . . .
JH /dentify where those beliefs originated. ,ou didn't $ust make them up out
of thin airyou got them from somewhere. %earch your mind and soul for
their origins.
KH (hallenge each belief through the rational eyes of an adult. 4ote where it
came from and what that person's or organization's agenda likely was.
LH .ecide which beliefs to keep, which to remodel, and which to throw in the
dumpster. For those you toss out, be sure to create a healthy belief to adopt
in its place so you don't leave a vacuum.
MH 4ote the successes you've backed away from during your life. /n each
case, was it because you were uncomfortable with that level of success, or
was it a case of covert rebellion against achieving someone else's definition
of success0 For e)ample, some women love being a receptionist and would
absolutely despise having to be a manager or director, so they sabotage their
chances. *hat's not a bad thing. Aust learn to make conscious choices.
NH /ncrease your selfesteem so you can tolerate greater levels of happiness
and success. For help with this, try working through *he %i) 'illars of %elf
3steem, by .r. 4athaniel Branden.
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OH Find a less threatening area of your life to become successful in. *his way
you can practice living peacefully with success before e)panding it to the
other areas of your life.
PH (reate a great support system for yourself Git doesn't have to include
family if they bring you down.H # great support system is comprised of
people who bring you up, bring out the best in you, and encourage, even
re9uire, you to be your own best self.
;QH .ecide what your own ideal level of success is, then reach and maintain
it, letting everything else go. #lso, remember that what you want at this
stage of your life could change, so your ideal life is certainly not written in
stone. #llow it to change as you grow.
*his is a lot of work. /t takes time. %ometimes it's easier to do this type of
work with someone else, so feel free to ask for help from a trusted friend or
a helping professional like a therapist or coach.
Understanding The Fear !f Success
%uccess means different things to different people. /t is something to which
we all aspire. Or is it0
.o some of us intentionally ruin opportunities to reach our goals0 .o we find
ways to fall $ust short of obtaining shortterm or even longterm goals0
Believe it or not, some people may $ust do so. %uch actions may actually be a
part of a fear of success.
Fear of success can take on many forms. #ccording to the authors of
(oping.org, fear of success can be a =lack of belief in your own ability to
sustain your progress> or =fear that you will find no happiness in your
accomplishments.> /t can also be caused by several other factors.
=/ think the fear of success is when you have insecurities about who you are
and what you feel you are capable of doing,> says %hirley Labbe, the
assistant director of the (ounseling (enter at ?avier <niversity of Louisiana.
=/nstead of challenging your fears, you give in to them.>
%everal ?avier students shared their thought on the fear of success also.
.etroit, 7ich., native -obin .illard says that she thinks fear of success is the
fear that one will not succeed. =/ think it@s the fear of becoming too big,> says
the $unior political science ma$or. =/t@s the fear of not being able to handle the
responsibility of success.>
Aunior 3nglish ma$or Bakiya Farris has a similar thought. =/ think it@s fear of
reaching a point or doing something that you feel you can@t handle,> she
stated.
=/ think it@s being afraid of taking risks and going to the ne)t level in a
14
business sense,> says 7arvelous 7iles, a $unior mass communication ma$or.
=#s a result you don@t put forth enough effort.>
%enior 3nglish ma$or -a9uel Franklin thinks that fear of success is being
afraid to disappoint people or being afraid of losing their success. =<sually
people who are successful are afraid they can@t maintain it,> she said.
#ll of these are very valid analyses. 1owever, fear of success has additional
implications when applied to #frican#merican college students. *he sub$ect
becomes even more complicated for #frican#merican females.
=/ think it affects C#frican #mericansD in a way of not being sure of who they
are and why they@re doing what they@re doing,> says Labbe. =*hey may settle
for things that they feel are acceptable, putting their dreams on hold of
fulfilling their goals because of that fear of trying and making mistakes.>
=/f they make a mistake, they feel that they@re not good enough, but
normally when you make a mistake, it tends to make you want to do better.>
Labbe also has seen the ways fear of success particularly affects #frican
#merican female college students. =/@ve noticed that academically intelligent
#frican#merican females tend not to want to be smarter because it looks
like a put down in front of a guy,> she says. =5e mask who we are because
we want our men to outshine us.>
7iles looks at the effects of fear of success from a societal conte)t. =/t keeps
us at entrylevel $obs,> she says. =5e become content with making a certain
amount of money rather than tapping to the ne)t level.>
%he feels that #frican#merican women are more susceptible to fear of
success because men make more money and dominate the workforce.
=#frican#merican women may be reluctant to go in maledominated fields
and ac9uire certain status levels,> she says. Farris, on the other hand, does
not think fear of success affects #frican#merican female college students
more than #frican#merican males. =/ don@t think it@s true, especially when
you see all the #frican#merican women in school, which is considered a
success,> she says. ='erhaps it is Csomething to itD because #frican#merican
women have two strikes against them.>
=,ou feel pressured, especially here at ?avier,> says Franklin. =/@ve heard
people say, E/f / make good grades this semesterF@
6rades overshadow learning. EAust give me a good grade.@>
Franklin also places #frican#merican women@s fear of success within a
societal conte)t. =/t@s probably because if you look at the corporate world,
men dominate in high positions,> she says. =Black women work e)tra, e)tra
hard to even get there.>
15
.illard says, =5omen already have a double strike against them. *heir view
of success is already shaded.>
Labbe thinks that environment is one of the leading contributing factors to
the fear of success. =%ome people are submissive,> she says. =%ome people
believe that they should be assertive. %ome people feel that if they are
assertive that means that they are aggressive.> %he also e)plains that there
is a tendency to look at #frican#merican assertiveness or aggressiveness as
being crude or rude and to no see the real person.
*he students have other ideas. =7aybe no self assurance in oneself and not
believing in oneself will lead to fears,> says .illard.
Franklin feels it mostly boils down to peer pressure.
#ll the women agreed that competition plays a role in fear of success.
=#frican#merican women will have to compete with white men then white
women then black men,> says .illard. =*hey@re afraid they will not be
successful.>
=/ know one girl who had older siblings who went to college, and they all did
well,> Franklin recalls. =%he was e)pected to do well also. %o there is family
pressure. *here@s also societal pressure saying if you don@t have a degree,
you won@t be anything.>
=/f you feel like you can@t compete with someone, you@ll feel more like a
failure,> says Farris. =,ou@re fearful of incompetence.>
Labbe also feels competition contributes to fear of success. =/ find that we
don@t trust each other,> she said. =/ think because we have a lot of insecurity
about who we are, we have the tendency to shut each other out.
=5e don@t understand how to share. / have this little philosophy that /@m
trying to develop that we $ust want a hand up. 5e don@t want a hand out.>
Labbe advises students to be the best they can. =#s long as it@s what you
want, you should do it. ,ou have to be positive.
3ven if there are setbacks, you must continue.>
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