You may think that it’s strange for someone to have the fear of success, but it’s real. Achievemephobia, as people commonly call it, is an unconscious phobia. And you may not even be aware that you have this psychological disorder. In this article, I will share with you ways to overcome the fear of success.
Anybody with achievemephobia finds it difficult to handle success. When left unmanaged, it could degenerate to self-destructive behavior like alcoholism, drinking, social disorders, etc.
The fact that one could suffer from the fear of success is an indication that we fear the result of success more than success itself.
Surprisingly, the fear of success and the fear of failure (atychiphobia) are two sides of the same coin. They both prevent you from dreaming and achieving your goals.
Most people who have achievemephobia know that they are capable of succeeding. But they are scared of the changes that come with it.
Signs of Achievemephobia
Like I mentioned earlier, you may have achievemephobia without you knowing. Here are the signs of achievemephobia:
- Setting Low Goals: People who are suffering from the fear of success always set low goals. They don’t like competition and are always comfortable performing below average.
- Procrastination: If you always delay important tasks or deliberately allow opportunities to pass you by, you may be having achievemephobia.
- Perfectionism: Sometimes, people with achievemephobia always strive for perfection. But if for any reason they inevitably fall short of their expectation, they have a good reason not to continue.
- Quitting: People who have achievemephobia are expert quitters. Even though they are very close to success, they will always have a reason to quit.
- Self-Destructive Behavior: Most times, people who have a fear of success engage in self-destructive behavior like alcoholism, substance abuse, etc.
Ways to Overcome the Fear of Success
Achievemephobia is a cankerworm that makes you less motivated and possibly abandon your goals. Here are ways to overcome the fear of success;
#1. Understand the Origin
One of the easiest ways to overcome the fear of success and other related phobias is understanding its origin. It starts with acknowledging the fear and trying to figure out its source.
If you can identify why you are having the fear of success, it will be easier to overcome it.
If possible, write down all the things that come to your mind whenever you think about achievemephobia. This exercise will help you learn about why you are experiencing the fear of success. It will also make you understand what triggers it in the first place.
#2. Adopt a Growth Mindset
In the words of Seneca, “People suffer more in imagination than reality.” If you don’t have a growth mindset, you may find it difficult to achieve your goals.
So, try to see failures as an avoidable part of life and take them as opportunities to learn and improve. Trust me, people with growth mindsets aren’t afraid of success. They are always prepared for the changes that come with success.
#3. Trace Your Avoidance Strategies Relating to Fear of Success
Once you understand the origin of your fear and adopt a growth mindset, the next step is to trace your avoidance strategies and confront them. It’s one of the easiest ways to overcome the fear of success.
Avoidance strategies trigger and strengthen most irrational fears. They are little habits people engage in that notify the brain that they are afraid.
Of course, you may feel relief for a while if you avoid things you are scared of. But in the long run, you are training your brain to be afraid about almost everything that seems dangerous. This is how the fear of success begins. And it could degenerate if it lingers for a while.
So, you have to first identify how you have been unconsciously training your brain to be afraid. Once you achieve this, you are closer to overcoming the fear of success than you can imagine.
Here are a few avoidance strategies around the fear of success;
- People who are afraid of success in the workplace may avoid taking big projects or opportunities.
- If you have fear of success, you may try to avoid compliments or praise at all costs. And you tend to avoid situations that will bring you to the spotlight.
- Sometimes, you may unconsciously sabotage yourself just because you don’t want recognition or promotion. For instance, your avoidance strategy for handling your fear of success at work could be deliberately coming late to meetings or delivering sloppy work.
- Deliberately hanging around people who aren’t motivating you towards achieving your goals.
#4. Face Your Fears
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of success is to face your fears. And this strategy applies to other irrational fears. Instead of avoiding your fears, learn to face them boldly and smartly.
However, this is a long term strategy that requires you to approach small fears as many times as possible. This will train your brain to embrace success. For instance, you can start to face your fear of success at work by taking up every project that comes your way, whether big or small.
The process takes time to normalize. You can’t retrain your brain immediately after having the fear of success for a long time. But if you embrace the habit of facing your fears every day, you will definitely overcome the fear of success.
#5. Get Professional Help
Getting professional help is also one of the most effective ways to overcome the fear of success. If all your approaches aren’t giving you the expected result, an experienced cognitive-behavioral therapist can help you. They specialize in anxiety and can help to retrain your brain to embrace success.
The fear of success isn’t a myth. It’s real, and if you fail to take measures to overcome this fear, it could affect every aspect of your life. However, people often misunderstand this fear. It’s more about the consequences of successes and the changes that come with them, not the success itself.