What is holding you back, Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Are you frustrated at your lack of productivity? Do you feel like you are not able to accomplish your goals because you fear failure? Ask yourselves this: Is it really a fear of failure or is it a fear of success?

Having dropped that heady question, let’s elaborate a little. Most people are reluctant to invest their all in a business because they are afraid of failure. Fear of failure has to do with a sense of rejection which is well talked about in our society.

But then there are those entrepreneurs who are so passionate about their business ideas and work hard to achieve success and then subconsciously start fearing their success and start holding themselves back. When you say it out loud, it seems kind of strange doesn’t it? Why would you work so hard to get to a place where you want to be, only to start sabotaging yourself? Seems ridiculous, but it’s not.

In today’s success-oriented society, not much thought is given to the fact that success can be scary. The enemy at the forefront of our minds is failure, so success remains behind as a subtle fear, occasionally surfacing in the form of careless mistakes or reckless decision or a comment in a business meeting that makes us cringe inside and think “What’s wrong with me today?!”

Here are some thoughts one might have that are classic examples of fear of success:

“Will I be up to the challenge?”

Fear of success has to do with a fear of working too hard, or as it is more aptly put, a fear of biting off more than they can chew. This type of person will do all their research, come up with a business model and everything else there is to do but when it comes to the execution point, they either don’t move forward or they get discouraged easily. They are comfortable in a familiar situation and hesitate to expose themselves to new pressures and demands.

“Will I lose myself?”

We tend to put successful people on a pedestal, and achieving success for some means turning into one of them and having people throw the dreaded “you’ve changed” line at them. Most people fear change in the people and environment around them and this fear manifests itself in thoughts along this line.

“I feel guilty for parading my success in front of others who have tried and failed”

Then there are some people who tend to procrastinate when it comes to their goals to avoid conflicts within family and friends. They also avoid telling people about their success for fear that people will call them a show-off. This kind of guilt subconsciously holds them back from achieving their maximum potential. They think they don’t deserve to succeed or that if they do, they won’t be able to sustain it so they don’t bother.

Here’s how you as an entrepreneur can battle these negative thoughts:

  1. Accept that you will never please everyone. Make sure you are comfortable with the choices you are making and move forward from there. If people react negatively to success, think again about the kind of people you let into your life.
  2. Remind yourself of why you’re doing it in the first place. Think of the positives that you will get out of the success.
  3. Think less do more. The more time you’re spending thinking, the less you’re doing. The only way to move forward is to throw yourselves into the work you have to do. Address your fears instead of avoiding them by addressing your workload. When you will have a handle on the amount of work you’re doing, you’ll feel more confident. Don’t look at what you fear will happen but focus on what you hope will happen and watch your success bloom.