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Fear of Success
Blog / Motivational / Apr 8, 2019 / Posted by John Golden / 5754

Fear of Success


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:

  1. If I take this new opportunity my life will change and I have just established a routine and lifestyle I am comfortable with.
  2. This new opportunity will bring additional exposure and I will be more in the spotlight than ever – am I ready for that?
  3. There will be a whole new level of expectation of my performance, do I really want that kind of pressure?
  4. What if I discover that I don’t like the new opportunity?
  5. I might miss my current colleagues and friends & maybe they won’t act the same towards me anymore.
  6. 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.


About Author

John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist, he has conducted over 1500 video interviews of thought leaders for Sales POP! online sales magazine & YouTube Channel and for audio podcast channels where Sales POP! is rated in the top 2% of most popular shows out of 3,320,580 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.

Author's Publications on Amazon

John Golden, best selling author of "Winning the Battle for Sales" presents "Social Upheaval: How to Win At Social Selling" to explain how every B2B salesperson can add social selling methods to their toolkits, and why it is so important that they do so without…
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FROM THE CREATORS OF SPIN SELLING―TRIED-AND-TRUE STRATEGIES TO ARM YOU IN THE WAR FOR SALES SUPREMACY "I distinctly remember my first VP talking about 'campaigns' and 'targets.' Indeed, successful salespeople have made learning from military tactics an important aspect of their careers. In this engaging…
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Comments (6)


Jesus Santoyo commented...

I have to agree with the author, because I my-self have even doubted my self and have asked the same questions. Feeling scared of something new is very hard to overcome. I agree that taking one step at a time is a great way to get started with something new.


ryan heneghan commented...

I enjoyed this article and found that it really resonated with me. I recently was in a position where fear of success almost held me from receiving an opportunity that changed the course of my career. The first step you mentioned was the hardest part for me when leaving my old job. I felt guilty for applying but once the process started and I was given the offer it became very easy to accept change and move on. I was able to take away something good from this article and enjoyed the input.


Vanden Patel commented...

I feel that the nature of sales is already one of taking risks and challenging oneself. I often wonder if young people take the biggest risks or if older professionals are simply better at succeeding when faced with difficulty. How can students and new workers determine when a risk is too great to take? Is there a safety net for these individuals that have few sales skills and little experience to fall back on?


Samantha Hollis commented...

The author does a great job of highlighting the reasons fear of success inevitably holds us back- and that main reason is really fear of change. Once someone becomes accustomed to their current job and has a set routine, it becomes difficult to break from that comfort. Being content with your current situation often holds people back primarily because they fear leaving what they know for something they don’t.


Parker Hargens commented...

I agree with the article, self doubt can really alter your path to success. But the best way to get somewhere is get out of your comfort zone. The person that says Yes more often has a busier/more interesting life than the person that chooses No every time.


max goodwin commented...

Very interesting article. I like the point of how first before being concerned about an opportunity you need to land it. I’ve had times where I look into a job and think into things way too much before I even applied to it.

In this day and age there a million things to be fearful of when a new opportunity arises. The truth is that you will never know about all of these fears unless you accept the opportunity. If you do gain an opportunity it is important to put in research about the company beforehand to make sure the company culture aligns with what you seek for. Having information interviews with employees of the company you’re looking into is a great way to gain more information, and address concerns and fears about the position.

I believe that it is very important and crucial for people to take new opportunities and try new things in life. There will always be fears in life and reasons to not do something, but to Johns point, “it is better to regret something you tried than live with the regret and the unknowns of chances never taken.”

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