In some interesting conversations I had recently, we were discussing how fear of failure holds many people back from achieving their full potential – which is obvious and something we all know. There is, however, an equal or even greater fear that holds others back and that is actually the fear of success. So consider the following for a moment and see if you have ever had these feelings or questions about an opportunity or undertaking that you ultimately decided against:
- If I take this new opportunity my life will change and I have just established a routine and lifestyle I am comfortable with.
- This new opportunity will bring additional exposure and I will be more in the spotlight than ever – am I ready for that?
- There will be a whole new level of expectation of my performance, do I really want that kind of pressure?
- What if I discover that I don’t like the new opportunity?
- I might miss my current colleagues and friends & maybe they won’t act the same towards me anymore.
- What if I am really not good enough and get found out?
As humans, our psyche can trick us into believing that it is protecting us from making mistakes by putting all of these thoughts into our heads. The reality is that it is just our natural fear of change that works overtime when the potential for success presents itself. As you can see from the list above, our mind races ahead, adds two and two together and gets 150. The antidote to fear of success is, like most things, to take one step at a time.
First, obviously, you need to land the opportunity – many people don’t even put their name in the hat because they get caught up in a “but what if…” merry-go-round that eventually makes them settle for the safe and known.
The second step is rather than looking at what impact the opportunity may have on your current circumstances, focus on all the new positives that the new situation will bring for you.
The third is to remember, in life very few things are forever and can’t be changed – if it ends up not working out then simply try something else and use the experience to grow.
And remember with most opportunities in the life that present themselves, it is better to regret something you tried than live with the regret and the unknowns of chances never taken.