Friday, September 9, 2011

Is Fear of Success Getting in Your Way?

The fear of professional success is as real as the fear of failure, and it may be holding you back from realizing your full potential. In many cases, you may not even be aware that you fear success or that your actions—or lack of action—may be limiting your career. The following behaviors could suggest that a fear of success may be getting in your way:
  • Using self-sabotaging behavior at work (e.g., arriving late, being uncooperative, repeatedly under-performing)
  • Putting yourself down in front of others
  • Feeling unworthy of success
  • Finding excuses to avoid pursuing career opportunities
  • Believing that success may alienate co-workers, friends, or family
  • Worrying that you won’t be able to maintain your success
  • Convincing yourself that you will fall short of others’ expectations
  • Procrastinating

The above, to some degree, are very normal and you’re not alone if you have employed these behaviors at one point or another. However, if these represent a consistent pattern over an extended period of time, you may have a fear of success. Success can be elusive and easy to dodge; typically you need to intentionally seek it out and work hard to obtain it. To help you overcome this fear and instead put yourself on a path to success, consider doing the following:
  • Identify and explore what’s holding you back and whether your fears are rational
  • Talk to someone you trust or meet with a professional counselor to discuss your concerns
  • Create a career plan that outlines goals, action steps, and deadlines; track your progress
  • Find a mentor or someone to keep you accountable to your career plan/goals
  • Develop a contingency plan in case your current opportunity doesn’t pan out
  • Visualize a positive outcome; be persistent and patient

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