A man comes from home work and says to his wife, "I quit my job". She says, " Why?" His answer, " They tried to promote me". While there is a mountain of research related to fear of failure, there is considerably less about fear of success. This essay will explore how people sabotage their success using the following behaviors:
* Impostor Syndrome, People suffering form fear of success experience an imposter's;s mentality ruining their success and accomplishments. Although competent, they feel unqualified and unskilled to deserve success they have achieved. This feeling results in guilt and living in fear of being discovered unworthy. in some cases, the person is reluctant to go forward and take on new challenges.
* Discomfort with change. At a workshop I taught, a participant asked me if successful people ever felt uncomfortable. My response: Successful people are comfortable being uncomfortable. Expanding our comfort zone discomfort accomplished risk taking. People with a fear of success lack adaptability. Their confidence is limited to familiarity and repetitive tasks. Their needs are fixated in the security of the status quo.
* Good luck illusion. People experiencing fear of success frequently believe that luck plays a great role to success. Luck, to me, is associated with winning the Lottery and returning home from a casino with more money than you left with. With what was just described, luck has nothing to do with accomplishment. People who adapt well to success feel they control many of the elements required to achieve success. When goals are attained, successful people change strategy and take accountability without blaming circumstances and bad luck.
* Loser mentality. Doctor Joyce Brothers said, " Often, people who can't stand success are holding on as a loser to a position that brings them a great many rewards in self pity, dependency or complacency due to underemployment or a lack of challenge. Not everyone is motivated by stretching his abilities, many are more comfortable with less effort, even if it means less success and fewer financial rewards".
* Fear of greater expectations. When we succeed, those above us expect more of the same results in the future. People who are obsessed with success want the world to know of their greatness. At the other extreme, there are people afraid to risk leaving their comfort zone and safety net. Their low expectations produce nothing but the possible disappointment of not reaching a goal that stretches their capacity.
How do we know if are suffering from a fear of success? Suggestion: By either not setting goals or setting them low enough to meet our comfort zone. Success and failure are often thought of as opposite experiences. Both, however, are the same in one regard. Neither is final!