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Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Mind Hacks to Defeat Fear of Success

For some people, the fear of success is just as intense as the fear of failure.  It seems counterintuitive that anyone would fear being successful, but there is such a thing.  I'm not making this up.

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Classic Fear of Success Moves:

1.  You fail to complete projects.
2.  You work in a frenzy on a bunch of things, failing to focus deeply on any one of them.
3.  You second-guess yourself. 

The two types of fears are very similar in how they make people react physically and psychologically.  Before moving forward with the fear of success, let me make sure you understand the fear of failure.

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When you have failed a bunch of times, you get into a pattern of avoiding anything risky.  You don't want to once again damage your ego, which is fragile if you've internalized all of those failures.  You don't get your hopes up because if you do, and whatever the stimulus was doesn't pan out, now you're left once again floating in a sea of disappointment.

Fear of success is all about doubt.  You don't think you deserve what is in front of you, for example, a raise, a promotion, a book deal, or a bigger business, so you conjure up thoughts that excuse or justify your not pushing ahead.  Why?  Maybe someone in your past belittled you, as was my case.  My father used to call me a "good for nothing."  In Spanish, of course.  Surprisingly, it had an opposite effect on me--it actually fed my inner drive and motivation to succeed in order to prove him wrong!  But I know this may not have been your response to verbal abuse.

I happen to suffer from anxiety, and whenever I'm near a breakthrough, my anxiety spikes.  I start to get symptoms normally subdued by my low-dosage medication.  These include hyperactivity, stomach aches, and a rush of adrenaline.  If you have anxiety, and let's face it, almost everyone in America has it these days, you may experience symptoms you normally wouldn't living as an average, happy go-lucky individual.

I figured out some mind hacks that I think may help you, whatever your reasons are for having a fear of success.  They are:

1.  First you must acknowledge you have the fear of success.  Come to grips with it.  Then you have to think back at all the times you were near a breakthrough that would have put you on another level, but you fell short of materializing it.  See a pattern?  What did you do to stop your momentum?  List everything down on a piece of paper.

2.  Write down the names of everyone who would benefit from your success.  When you make your success about helping others, you get a second wind of courage to move forward.  People hate being selfish more than being scared.  One is a character flaw; the other is a temporary condition of the mind.

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3.  Listen to William Wallace...Mel Gibson's character in Braveheart.  If you've seen this movie, there is a scene where he rallies his Scotsmen right before a battle with the English.  Go on YouTube and search, "Braveheart Freedom Speech."  People use this scene to get inspired to lead.  The part of Wallace's speech that is a mind hack for the fear of success is somewhere in the middle.  A clansman proposes fleeing (and not dying) as a logical response to the might of the English northern army.  Wallace agrees with him:  

"Aye.  Fight and you may die.  Run and you'll live...at least a while.  And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance...just one chance...to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom?"

Imagine yourself at your deathbed every time you start to doubt your impending success.  Could you live with letting an opportunity be squandered again by your fear of becoming a someone?

4.  Will you die if you succeed?  Ask yourself that question.  Will succeeding kill you?  Obviously not.  But it still helps to say, "No," to this question over and over, as much as you need to.

5.  Learn to differentiate between feelings of excitement and a reaction to trauma.  When you start feeling excited about your accomplishments and what they can become, remember that this is excitement, not the sensation you felt when being verbally abused.    

Don't let fear of success sabotage you.  Keep plowing ahead despite what your body or mind may be telling you.  Doctors and Therapist tell you too many times to listen to your body.  Don't listen to them! Your mind is trying to make you weak.  Use these mind hacks to fool it.  Until next time.
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