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Fear of Success Due To Fear of Change

By February 19, 2013Blog
fear of success, fear of change

Whilst preparing for an impending presentation due this week, I found myself again pondering one particular reason that people don’t achieve big changes in their life.

I recall reading a book many years ago that covered the topic of how people can fear success.  At that time I thought it a peculiar term.  Why would anyone fear success, I thought to myself.  Upon reading the chapter of this book, I thought to myself, yep, that’s so right.  There are so many reasons why one might fear success, they just hadn’t been concerns that I had experienced myself.

Now, as a coach and speaker, I see this fear of change hinder people to the point where they sabotage their own happiness without realising why they are doing it.  Some people don’t want to upset the apple cart, so to speak; not for themselves, but for other people!  That’s right.  Sometimes people won’t go after their dreams and goals because it might negatively impact the people around them, the people they love and/or the people they spend so much time with.  They keep themselves in an unhappy place, sometimes without consciously realising why they’re doing it, just so that they don’t make other people “unhappy” by becoming happy and successful in a given area of life.

Maybe you are doing the same…

  • “If I stay fat, my husband won’t be uncomfortable being the only fat person in the house.”
  • “If I set up a business, my friends will resent me because they have to answer to a boss and I would rather they didn’t resent me.”
  • “If I become famous, people won’t see me in the same way anymore, they may not be able to relate to me.”
  • “If I change the school I send my kids to, the other mums night feel alienated and take it personally and stop involving me and the kids at their kids’ birthday parties.”
  • “If I become more attractive, my partner will become jealous of the extra attention I get and will argue with me because of it.”

…The list goes on and on.

The reasons we can hold ourselves back can sometimes stem from the selfless act of wanting to protect others and from the self-preserving act of wanting to protect ourselves.  I can’t say I ever thought about not achieving something because I was afraid of the repercussions on other people’s feelings, but I can tell you, that I have experienced them.

Since the release of my book into the marketplace, and since beginning my career in the field of helping others as a coach, I have experienced some serious backlash.  I mean shocking, rude, aggressive, hurtful behaviour towards me, jealous animosity towards me, even personal attacks on my core skills as a way of kicking me when I’m up so as to try to bring me down.  Wow!  I did not see any of that coming!

I share this with you so that you understand that I am not here to say that those fears don’t ever become real case scenarios.  Usually we have anxieties about things that never happen, sometimes we have anxieties about things that can and do happen.  I had no such anxieties but those repercussions to my achievements did happen.

It’s funny because I downplay everything I achieve, partially because in my heart, no matter who I was, who I am or who I will become in terms of my career and achievements, I’m still just me, “little me”.  Ask anyone who really knows me, and they will tell you that I am just a down-to-earth person who loves people and loves to help others.

Would I change my life and my achievements to have avoided some of the major and minor, nasty backlash I have received from some people?  Not for a second!

You need to be happy within you.  Whatever goals you need to achieve for you to be truly happy and peaceful, you need to go after them with all your might!  When you are happy and satisfied, you positively impact others around you.  If you are unhappy and dissatisfied, you negatively impact others around you.  Do you want to positively impact those around you, or negatively?  Do you want that ripple effect to make your spouse, children, parents, friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow men, happy or unhappy, stressed or relaxed, angry or peaceful?

You need to realise that the ones that really matter are the ones that really care deep down for you and your happiness.  If your happiness makes them unhappy, then are they caring about you?  No, they are not.  So why care about people who do not care about your happiness?  Do you think the people that genuinely care about you and your wellbeing and your happiness will be unhappy when you achieve your goals?  Of course they won’t!  They may come to realise that they need to achieve more things for themselves; fantastic!  They may even get slightly “bent out of shape” for a little while because your achievements have highlighted their disappointment within themselves for their current lack of achievement which they can go on to fix; even better, you’ve helped them to propel their own life towards a greater sense of self-satisfaction and happiness.  Once the dust has settled, the ones who you truly want in your life (and deserve a place there) will show up.  Those that don’t care for you, will usually distance themselves somehow.

So don’t worry that by achieving your goals you will lose the important, genuine, loving people in your life, you won’t, if they really are all those things.  Plus, new people will show up in your life because they too are important, genuine, loving people who are meant to share your life with you.

The only question you first need to ask yourself is: What date are you going to achieve your goal by?

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