Shut Down the Fear of Success Pt 1

Is it ok to be successful? Now and then I love to ask people this question. As a person of faith, I am always amazed how many Christians have a tough time answering that question without qualifying their answer. Many of my more secularly minded friends were less likely to try and qualify their answers. I will talk about that in another article.

Second question; How do you define success?

One of the leading fears I discovered while working on The No Fear Entrepreneur, was the fear of success. I had heard about this, and have had my challenges with this fear.

The Difference Between Fruitful and Unfruitful People

One of the significant differences between people who are fruitful and those who are unfruitful toward a goal. Any little win or small victory seems to fire them up and push them toward their goals and dreams.

People who fear success focus on their lack of success. Any slip-up or misstep seems to fuel their fear of success. They read the blackmail of fear which says something like, “You will never measure up.” This leads them to think, “See, I cannot do this, I am hopeless, I will never amount to anything.” As a result, they lay their life, hope, and dreams on the altar of fear.

While this may seem odd to many, it is a form of self-sabotage that can make things fearful. From getting hired, messing up a relationship, or missing opportunities that come your way, we can sabotage our plans.

Key Thought: Kill Fear

To kill fear, you must identify it, call it by its name, and cut off its fuel source. Rather than passively feeding the fear, you need to get crystal clear about the dream God has given you and make sure you are adding fuel to the fire of your dream!

The fear of success is very much like the fear of failure. Both prevent the individual from achieving their dreams and goals. Many people get so accustomed to this mindset that they convince themselves it is okay to never think about getting ahead in life.

Here are a few of the behaviors of Success-Fearing People:

  • You do not complete your projects at home or work.

• You talk about what you’re going to do more than what you do.

• You work as a chicken with its head cut off on several projects at once, not focusing intensely on any of them.

• Your vision board has the same things on it that it did three years ago.

• The one consistent thing you do is second-guess yourself. Distraction is your middle name.

• You don’t think your work is ever quite good enough.

• And the BIG giveaway –you are on the verge of “success,” and things start going wrong.

If this sounds like you, I bet you are asking, “What can I do about the fear of success?”

The above list represents the classic symptoms of someone who struggles with the fear of success. It’s not that you don’t want to be successful, because you have probably been working your tail off and spent many a night thinking, dreaming, and strategizing. The truth is, if success doesn’t come quickly to you, on an individual level you might not want to succeed or feel you deserve to. These thoughts hide in your subconscious mind and, over time, may have been put there through a variety of life experiences. The good news is, you don’t have to stay in this life-sucking, dream-stealing state. You can change.

To help alter our perspective the Scriptures offer plenty of warning about trusting in riches and the dangers of success. It speaks as often about the positive side of success and the importance of using our gifts, resources, and mind constructively for God’s glory. Psalms 1:3 (NLT) says, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

Did you get that last part? The Lord has ordained each of our lives for specific accomplishments. The fear of success can and will hold us back.

Action Plan:

Be ready for my next two posts, one on Wednesday and one of Friday

Check out Jeff Goins’ book Real Artist Don’t Starve, I double dog dare you to get this excellent book.



Counselor, WorkLife Consultant/Coach, Speaker published author, photographer, and Corporate Crisis Response Specialist.

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