Being Afraid to Succeed is a Real Struggle
Humans have goals. They drive us, motivate us and create change. Sometimes our goals are attainable. Other times we feel like our wants and dreams are impossible.
From drinking more water to landing a certain career, each goal takes work, determination, and perspective.
Lately, perspective has been kicking my butt. I have been struggling with this very real feeling of complacency with failure. I set out specific goals for myself, list the reasons why those goals are important, do the time and research in attainable steps for progress.
Sometimes, I am successful. Other times I fail. The big surprise for me is that I WASN’T surprised when I failed. Instead, I was afraid when I succeeded.
Why? Success is unfamiliar territory. What do I do now? How to I maintain my success? One of my favorite perspective quotes is:
There is no finish line!
Sitting back and contemplating my favorite quote sometimes makes me feel small. I feel like Sisyphus pushing a never ending bolder up a never ending hill of challenges.
When we succeed, and the hard journey is over, I often imagined a Hollywood ending where the music fades, and we are left with a warm fuzzy feeling of completion... FALSE.
We are left with uncharted, unknown change.
James Sudacow summarized this fear of success as follows:
- Success is out of your comfort zone – “If you try something and fail, you go back to what you knew. You may not be happy about it, but you go back to your comfort zone.”
- New Expectations and Pressure– Success can make you feel vulnerable in the spotlight. More people are noticing your success and can pass judgment or set higher expectations to live up to.
- Self- Sabotage – When you crumble under the pressure of success, it’s easy to say, “I did my best.” Even though you know you didn’t, it’s easier to go back to what you knew.
I now realize that I have pushed the edge of all three of these points. It is so much easier to pat yourself on the back and say, “well, you tried.” To accept what you already know and have endured.
When you are successful in your goals, people notice, they ask questions and set the standard even higher. Sometimes, I have honestly freaked under that pressure. I start to sabotage my progress, fall back into destructive habits, because I know failure. Failure is comfortable.
Each person deals with success and failure differently. I am choosing a different path this time. To know myself, to be honest with myself, and to encourage myself past my comfort zone until I am comfortable with success. What do you do when you find yourself in uncharted territory?