Facing The Fear Of Success Head On

Facing The Fear Of Success Head On

Most people recognize the term fear of failure, where someone might be reticent to attempt a task because somewhere deep down inside they fear that they might fail.  Rather than venture into a hopeless situation, they will rationalize that the smart thing to do is to not bother at all.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained; but no chance of failure either.


“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.” – Robert Collier

Then, there’s another dynamic where some people fear what success may bring to them.  It sounds counter-intuitive; don’t we all want to succeed?  Isn’t there always that burning desire to grab the brass ring, to come out on top, to be the best that you can be?  First,  let’s define what is required to become successful:

  • Success requires effort.  While looks and luck admittedly can get you some currency in this life, it takes hard work and effort to reach the finish line.  At some point, you must produce something tangible and meaningful and bullshit can be seen from a mile away.  Nothing that we truly value is won without setting specific goals and trying our best to achieve them.
  • Success requires accountability and responsibility.  To whom much is given, much is required.  No longer will you be able to live along the periphery of life.  Others will be looking at you, toward you…for guidance and leadership.  If you do not have enough faith in yourself to believe that you have the qualifications or the commitment to follow through on what is expected of you, you will fail.  Being accountable isn’t a bad thing.  It allows us to grow and become better human beings who consider the well-being of others as well as ourselves.  It makes you want to come out from the shadows and step up to the plate so that you can be an example to others seeking to follow a similar path.
  • Success requires discipline and sacrifice.   Some people are not ready to put their noses to the grindstone in order to work hard with focus and purpose.  It will require giving up certain habits, hard-partying friends, sleep and some activities.  You will have to ask yourself if what you are pursuing is worth what you may have to put aside.  Just keep in mind that anything worth having is worth fighting for because adjusting your lifestyle (sometimes temporarily) can be well worth what you gain in the end.
  • Success – there are no shortcuts to it.  You have to put in the hard work to achieve it.  It won’t fall out of the sky and onto your lap.  It will take sweat and frustration before you began to see any victories.  But those victories will be made sweeter because you will know all that you put into getting there.

Nevertheless, there is always a reason why someone would secretly want to fail and each reason is somehow always cloaked in fear.  Why is that?  What is the main reason that people self-sabotage to assure that they will fail to make the grade?  I believe it’s because they do not feel worthy of succeeding at anything.  At birth, everyone is a blank slate.  It is life experiences that cover that slate with positivity or its converse.  If you have never been nurtured to believe in yourself, your worth, your goodness…..it would be almost impossible to wade through that murkiness and discover and reclaim the self that you could have been.   It’s a much easier path to give in to the ones who’ve spent untold hours breaking your spirit because it’s easier than fighting your perceived value to the world.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I know that feeling because I’ve lived it.  I’d never believed in myself because the universe that I was an unwilling occupant of had me convinced otherwise.  It was only after I separated myself from old acquaintances that shared my former world-view but never got past it, that I began to see that there existed a world where I could be more than what I had allowed myself to be.  There is nothing worse than knowing that you have the potential and never using it.  What if Monet had decided that painting would never make him a rich man, so why bother?  What if Garrett Morgan had kept his invention of the traffic light a secret because he felt no one would want anything a black man, a son of former slaves designed?  I think that everyone has a purpose, a reason for being here in this moment in time where they have the opportunity to contribute to society.  The only question mark lies in what we choose to do about it.  Do we run from our destiny or towards it?

As strange as it may sound, sometimes you may have to be the one to tell the child inside that was overlooked and passed over that he or she really does matter.  You may have to nurture that part of yourself to wholeness and wellness.  There are a lot of broken spirits who’ve pushed the hurt down to a faraway place hoping to keep it hidden only to find that it appears when least expected and at the most inopportune moment.  Everyone deserves that validation and if you can’t get it from those who should have given it freely, give it to yourself.  Antoine Fisher’s book of poetry, “Who will cry for the little boy” speaks to his anguish of having been neglected and abused as a child.  Many of us have similar burdens to bear and can speak to the same truth.  The key is to not let the past define your future.  You can begin anew….you can become that person that you were meant to be before life and circumstances took you on another path.  Conquering those fears will get you closer to your goals, so fight for them because you deserve them.



Renee King
  • Laurel
    Posted at 14:35h, 23 May Reply

    Another very inspiring post Renee and I think often that hard work is mistaken for luck.

    • Renee
      Posted at 14:39h, 23 May Reply

      Thanks, Laurel. I know, you hear it all the time….you’re so lucky!! Well, the truth of the matter is that one usually works very hard and if they are l.u.c.k.y. it’s because someone has finally taken notice. lol

    • Jeremy Branham
      Posted at 15:10h, 23 May Reply

      There’s really no such thing as an overnight success. People don’t see the years of laboring and failed attempts before finally reaching success. It’s pretty rare to truly be an overnight success.

      • Renee
        Posted at 20:09h, 23 May Reply

        Agreed….overnight success is rare indeed. I think things should happen in a certain order. I don’t think most people could handle it anyway….it would be too much to handle. Remember that homeless guy with the golden voice Yeah, that didn’t go so well…..

  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 15:02h, 23 May Reply

    Great post Renee. I have struggled with believing in myself as well although my fears are definitely over failure rather than success. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I can succeed but am not afraid of it. However, you make great points about the effort that is required with success.

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:04h, 23 May Reply

      So true, Jeremy….believing in yourself is a constant struggle. I find it less so for those who were fortunate to have been raised in an environment where such thoughts were fostered and supported.

  • Debbie Beardsley
    Posted at 15:08h, 23 May Reply

    I am so glad it is inspirational Monday because I really needed a kick in the rear today! Your post is unfortunately so very true. We are our own worse enemies 🙁 But as long as there are posts like this that give us a good swift kick when needed, I, at least, will keep moving forward.

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:23h, 23 May Reply

      Thanks, Debbie….I think we all need that kick every now and again!

  • Raymond
    Posted at 17:22h, 23 May Reply

    I like your post Renee — there are no shortcuts, and you have to believe in yourself. There are plenty of naysayers out there who will try to drag you down…

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:22h, 23 May Reply

      Amen, Raymond! Believing in yourself is key. No one’s opinion of you should take precedence over your opinion of yourself.

  • adventureswithben
    Posted at 19:08h, 23 May Reply

    Slowly but surely wins the race. Loved the “eye” photo. It caught my attention right away.

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:26h, 23 May Reply

      Yes, patience and hard work gets it every time.

  • jade
    Posted at 19:35h, 23 May Reply

    Really, really- super duper inspiring, Renee! I feel like I’ve been going through this a lot lately and then I read your post and it’s like- duh, this is what I’m doing! The second I started putting in more effort, I started seeing more come from it. You are a wise woman! 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:27h, 23 May Reply

      Jade, it’s amazing how things fall into place and works out in the long run. Thanks for such a sweet compliment!

  • Michael Figueiredo
    Posted at 20:48h, 23 May Reply

    Very inspiring, Renee! Believing in yourself is the key to any success! 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 21:21h, 01 June Reply

      Amen, Mike…amen!

  • The Travel Chica
    Posted at 21:49h, 23 May Reply

    When we look at others, it is easy to forget that success does not usually come easily without work work and sacrifice. We live in a culture that wants everything now, and it’s easy to get frustrated when success doesn’t happen for us right away. I’m experiencing that now, and reading this post just gave me the inspiration I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back at it.

    • Renee
      Posted at 21:25h, 01 June Reply

      I’m reminded of a friend of mine who laments that I have so much freedom because my daughter is an adult and she still have a few wee ones at home. I was in the same boat once…..I told her to hang on…someday her time will come….now she has to pay her dues like every other mom in the world. lol

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    Posted at 23:02h, 23 May Reply

    Nice post. I especially enjoy the sentence, “You can become that person that you were meant to be before life and circumstances took you on another path.”

    • Renee
      Posted at 21:28h, 01 June Reply

      Yes, you really can go home again. Thanks, Scott!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 11:34h, 24 May Reply

    Interesting and thought-provoking post, Renee. I remember hearing about fear of success in psychology lectures at uni. I suppose it can be just as crippling as fear of failure, if one lets it.

    • Renee
      Posted at 21:20h, 01 June Reply

      Thanks, Sophie…..so true…either fear keeps you from realizing your potential.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 20:26h, 01 June Reply

    “■Success requires accountability and responsibility” … so true! Those who really make it and become successful are those who work diligently and never give up. Nobody can make it to the top by sitting around working only when they feel like it. Whether you naturally have the ability to find it in yourself to push yourself to your limits in order to succed or if you have to “fake it until you make it”, it requires that step of faith, rearrangment of priorities, etc. GREAT post. Very thought provoking and encouraging! Thanks!

    • Renee
      Posted at 21:17h, 01 June Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Sarah! Thanks for stopping by!

  • senafp
    Posted at 10:26h, 09 June Reply

    Really awesome!..Renee, you are a wise woman. I saw myself right away doing just that. Surrounding ourselves with negative people will keep us from moving on to our destiny, Thank you for posting this article. It is helping me look over some things I may have to stop doing.

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:50h, 13 June Reply

      I’m so glad that it’s touched you in some way…..we are all affected by what surrounds us….positive or negative.

  • Sonia
    Posted at 09:47h, 15 June Reply

    Great article Renee,

    I believe we all face fear of something in our lives, whether it be business or personal wise. I think the key is to just let fear fear itself; that we must give ourselves credit for at least trying to accomplish what we most desire in life. Success will prevail if hard work is involved.

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:56h, 15 June Reply

      Hi Sonia,
      That is the key…the sin is in the not trying…..

  • Diana Stroe
    Posted at 03:38h, 15 November Reply

    Success requires discipline and sacrifice but very hard to implement to our lives. We tend to lean towards our negative thoughts rather than maintaining our positive outlook. As a freelancer, I think I’m struggling in disciplining myself. Since I hold my time, I tend to do anything I want without considering that I’m losing precious time for more productive activities. But so far, I see some improvements to myself.
    Diana Stroe recently posted…Reiki HealingMy Profile

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