ARE YOU AFRAID of success?

Did you answer no?  The fear of success is in almost everyone.  People are aware of their fear of failure.  Hidden out of awareness is the fear of success.  It is easy to know your desires and your fear of failure.  It is difficult to know your fear of success.  Any negative motivating force that is hidden has great power.


I was trained to be a workaholic.  Only hard work was admirable.  The freedom of wealth isn’t born that way.  I can’t get myself interested in investing!  I am happy when I am creative or spiritual but have trouble staying with or starting my creative or spiritual self.  I love the creative child in me and I fear him.  I can always work hard.

A brilliant friend of mine, Bill, is well-positioned in corporate life.  It so bores him that he hates going to work.  He needs to run his own show.  He manages to go into great debt by betting on and racing thoroughbred horses.  When he is in deep debt, he focuses on a good short-term investment or winning bets at the track.  He has been known to win $60,000 in one day and lose $20,000 the next and to walk into a bank with $80,000 in a shopping bag to pay off a loan.  His family believes that success will destroy them; they never mention his corporate position and only respond to occasional wins at the track.  He is caught in the energy of loss, then bailing yourself out.  Talking to him, he listens, even agrees.  Nothing changes.  He needs to accumulate enough capital to start his own company that he could run at his own brilliant pace.  He makes sure that this never happens.

Tom desperately wants to be a writer.  A publisher was interested but wanted some re-writing.  He procrastinated.   There was no re-writing.

Mary was winning a ping-pong tournament.  She found herself, as though in a trance, destroying the crucial final game.

Take responsibility for your failures.  Have you contributed to them?  Do you start things and not finish?  Do you procrastinate (always fear-based) and lose the moment?  (Look at the sections on fear in Chapter 1 of this book.)  Have you consistently made wrong decisions?

I was called to consult a woman who had married five men in a row who proved to be alcoholic, stole her money, and left.

An executive of a major multi-national corporation was found under his bed quaking with fear.  His wife made an appointment for him.  A powerful man strolled into my office.  He always wanted to disprove his father’s curse, “You will never be as successful as I am.”  He wanted to prove his father wrong.  He needed a superior to tell him how wonderful he was.  When the vice president sabotaged his reputation with the CEO, he was fired.  It was the first failure he’d ever had.  He ended up under his bed.  Offers later came in to be a CEO of his own company or to work as an executive in another, smaller multi-national.  Guess which one he took?  He was too afraid to take the CEO offer and felt like a complete failure.

Awareness may come through a series of exercises.

Make contact with your eyes in a mirror.  Verbalise the following sentences with a brief pause between each sentence.  Notice if there is any alerting response in your mind or body:

  1. “You are not afraid of success.”
  2. “You are afraid of success.”
  3. “As hard as it is for you to believe, you are afraid of success.”

Now try a series of similar exercises with other parts of your life –  love, career, money, adventure, excitement.

Ask yourself if the important people in your life were (are) constantly critical:  “You’re nobody; you will never become anything.” Did they ignore you or, even worse, dislike you?

What wonderful things have people accused you of?  Do you feel anxious and uncomfortable when this happens?  The fear of success breeds low self-esteem.  A useful exercise is don’t cringe or apologise or deny.  Train yourself to quickly say, “Thank you.”

There are many imprinted beliefs that produce success fear.  If I am successful, I will be killed, I will be abandoned, I will be leaned on, no one will take care of me.  If I am successful, I will lose it.  Only bad, immoral people are successful.  I am just unsuccessful; that’s who I am, I have to accept it.  If I don’t try, I haven’t failed.

Success brings change and possibilities that can be scary.  The parts of you that have to be faced and eliminated will disintegrate, and a replacement may take a while to appear.  You may even feel like “I won’t know who I am” for a while.  Can you imagine other dangers?

Parents, for many reasons, may not love a child. Parents may be afraid of children outshining them. (Davy Crocket stopped killing bears one short of his father’s record.)  Parents sometimes fear being alone.  They then want their children weak and dependent.

Happiness and success are twins and are vulnerable to similar supports and similar destructive influences.

Sit quietly and notice where in your head and body thoughts originate.  Place your positive, successful thoughts in that place where thoughts seem to originate.  I call this the centre of consciousness.  You deserve all the good things in life.  Do this regularly for at least six weeks.  It’s often not easy or pleasant to move through the prohibitions to success.  So what?  Whoever promised you it was going to be easy?  No one is picking on you.

Remember Nelson Mandela’s speech on his inauguration when he said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.  We ask ourselves – who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.  And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people’s permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”