Are You Frightened of Success?

Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to success? Sometimes the main thing holding you back from success is you, you may be self sabotaging without even realising it. Fear of being successful is holding you back.

But of course I want to be successful!

Of course you do! Or do you? As much as losing one’s job brings about unasked for change, so does getting a new one. Except in the latter case everyone is pleased for us and expectations are high…

Another example; you may be single and have told friends you are looking for a new relationship; that you feel ready to move on but the right people just aren’t out there. Friends rally round to introduce you to new people, tell you about dating sites, offer advice.

But you take no action. In your head there is always a good reason why you resist all offers of help. It’s the wrong time, you’re going to lose weight, you’re really busy at work, if it’s meant to be it’ll happen.

Or maybe you are bored and miserable in your job. Yet you stay, grumbling about it daily but taking no action to get out of the rut you find yourself in. Then a new job comes up which has everything you want and you meet all the requirements. It’s a bit of a step up, but in your heart you know you can do it. So you send for all the information, have a great informal discussion with the HR person and then miss the application deadline.

In both cases you are self sabotaging and if you want to make a positive change in your life you have to discover why you do it.

Coaching Questions

If self sabotage rings true for you, try to honestly answer these questions about yourself:

  • Are you frightened of change, even when it’s positive.
  • What’s your track record with change?
  • Do you spend so long analysing situations that you become paralysed with all the possible outcomes so you do nothing?
  • Do you hold particular self limiting beliefs, such as ‘I’m not good enough’
  • Do you get attacks of ‘Imposter Syndrome‘ believing that everyone else is better than you so you tell them about your faults before they ‘unmask’ you? (In my experience this is very common with women – don’t focus on your shortcomings, talk about your strengths!)
  • Do you procrastinate so take so long to do something that the deadline passes, or action is never taken? This way, you’re always working toward to it but never quite get there.

If you’ve ticked any of the above, don’t despair! You can change. You have got stuck in a pattern of behaviour that can be altered, a new pattern can be introduced to replace the old one.

Step one is being honest with yourself. You need to know what it is you want and what it is that stops you getting there!


If you have successfully tackled any self sabotaging behaviours, or have some tips to share, I’d love to hear from you!

The photo illustrating this post comes courtesy of Elisa Fox.

Posted on October 4th, 2010 by

4 Responses to “Are You Frightened of Success?”

  1. Tracey Allen says:

    I recomend reading Feel the fear and do it anyway. Great book changed my life.

    As for procrastination. greatest tip i ever heard “Not mine can’t remember where it came from” If you can’t make up your mind. Toss a coin. as soon as its in the air you’ll know which side you want it to land on. decision made

  2. Yes I think change is frightening for some. For me I embrace it quite well I think. Change can bring lots of stress and stress is something I like to avoid. I teach new patterns to the children I work with so that they embrace change well from early age.

    • Jane says:

      Hi Naomi. It’s great that you raise the topic with youngsters. It will be giving them a really confident approach and positive experiences of change.

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