6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Success

Jan 06

6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Success

This is a guest post by Vishnu of Vishnu’s Virtues

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” –  Oscar Wilde

A couple of years ago, I kicked off a blog in the very crowded personal development space.

I didn’t know if there was room for yet another self-improvement blog.

One that had a different perspective, talked about unusual subjects and used humor to question ideas.

Would anyone even read it? Would anyone be willing to comment on a post I wrote?

At the moment, I’m also anxious about completing the life coaching course by the mad genius of online life coaches – Tim Brownson.

Although Tim has poured his heart out into this course and provides an overwhelming amount of practical how-to strategies about coaching people to success, I’m wondering about my own ability to help others overcome their life’s most challenging circumstances and move forward with their lives.

What Failure Means To Me

I know that if I don’t progress very far with my blog or coaching, it would be a sign that I shouldn’t be doing this kind of work.

Failure would help put these dreams to rest.

Failing on both fronts would also mean that I would have learnt a lot in the process, improved my writing and built up personal development skills I can implement for the rest of my life.

I realize all the many aspects of failure and have come to terms with the fact that it’s not fear of failure that’s holding me back in life.

I haven’t quite committed myself 100% to my blog or my strong interest to coach not because of a fear of failure.

What is it that paralyzes all of us from our dreams and deepest callings?

Fear of Failure?

Or fear of unbridled success and achieving what we set out to do?  

You and I may not really be concerned about failure that much.

Failure could mean we’ve lost some time and money.

But it’s not the end of the world.

What if the thing that’s tripping us up in the world is…the fear of success?

What if my blog becomes a thumping success and helps people get back up after life-crushing events?

What if the coaching goes well and I’m able to effectively use Tim’s no- nonsense strategies to help people live the lives they wanted?

What if your book is the next best seller?

Or your service-business starts getting booked so solid that you have to turn down work or raise your rates?

Success can give you the life you’ve dreamed about.

Success can bring you more opportunities.

More financial rewards.

More connections and stronger relationships.

Stronger impact and influence on the world.

You may fear success for many of the same reasons I do.

You may fear success because of a lack of self-worth or some kookie belief that you don’t deserve success in your life.

It may be your refusal to accept your innate strengths and talents.

It may be fear of what will happen with success –will you start acting like an arrogant SOB spending wads of cash mindlessly while alienating your friends and family?

Whatever it may be – there are ways to combat this.

Here are 6 ways to overcome your resistance to success.

1. Confront your resistance 

Ask yourself what can possibly go wrong if you fail in your next venture?

What could possibly go right?

And if you succeeded in your freelance business, passive-income product or coaching practice, how would you feel?

Try to identify the emotion or resistance to what you’re feeling.

2. Transform your mindset 

If you think about it, you’re mostly thinking about what could go wrong and how your project might crash and burn.

Flip the script and start imagining things going your way; others noticing your talents, many people signing up for your blog, a new business inquiry, an interest in your consulting service.

Also, think about (or visualize) what can happen if you succeed.

Imagine all the positive results in your business.

How fun will it be to treat your friends to dinner? Travel to Hawaii for Thanksgiving? Have more time or money to help improve other people’s lives?

3. Milestones for the goal-oriented and goal-less

I’m not sure where you are on the goals or anti-goals debate.

Even the people who hate goals (me included) need some kind of structure to success.

You need to head in a particular direction and know how far you’ve gone, so you can measure success.

Have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish by when. Often, not writing things down or having a plan in your mind, is the first step of resistance. You refuse to accept you can succeed by not having a plan or milestones to get to.

You don’t have to have the most elaborate business plan or hard-hitting goals. A simple – “3 things I’m going to get done today” list or “my focus for the week” project is sufficient to get you going.

4. The big results of small actions

Get into the habit of doing.

Your habits don’t have to be grand, elaborate or life-changing. You get it done by doing it every day; consistently and in small parts at a time.

Kevin’s a big proponent of taking action. He regularly encourages us to stop procrastinating and create the life we want.

Make it happen. Get to work. Get results.

Again, the best way to get things done is in small steps and consistently. So, take small actions towards building your dreams but do it every day.

5. Embracing your purpose; why you do what you do

Your sense of purpose is the difference between your poorly performing blog or struggling business and a world-dominating one.

Why do you get up in the morning?

What makes you tick?

What is the impact you want to make in the world?

Asking these questions may sound like BS but they are the most important questions you can know for yourself.

One way to find your purpose or your ‘why’ is the process of elimination.

Experiment and try out a lot of different things. Leave what you hate and pursue what motivates you with the intensity of a lion on the prowl for its daily meal.

6. Your mentors are your bridge to your destiny 

You don’t have to go it alone.  There are mentors, teachers and coaches out there who can help you discover your ‘why’ and help you find the right insights and self-knowledge to help you move past your inner-resistance and achieve your goals.

Look for others who have done what you want to do and coach with them. If you’re intent on creating a lifestyle business and taking solid action to build up your life, get a hold of Kevin’s kick-ass consultation

If you need a productivity coach or business consultant, find one.

If you’re looking for a mentor to share how they’ve done what you want to do, seek one out in your industry. Ask people for their time and expertise. Pay for it if you think it’s worth it.

Each tip here requires you to confront your resistance to success.

Take action today and beat back your fears of making it big.

You can do it and without a doubt, you deserve it.

Are you willing to confront your fear and take some action towards success? Let me know if you’ve feared success and what you’ve done about it in the comments below.

About The Author

vishnu-picVishnu writes a personal development blog for those wanting getting back up after challenging life events. For inspiration and practical life strategies, sign up for his weekly posts at www.vishnusvirtues.com

Perform Destiny Has Moved

Photo Credit: Sam UL


  1. Number 4 and 6 are fundamentals – habits and mentors. The things you do every day make the big difference, and the people that are where you want to be show you there’s little to be afraid of.

    Yikes! What if I were successful! What if things went right!

    That’s some scary shit, Vishnu….

    Simply dreaming of success is the same as fearing the unknown – nothing changes.

    I’ve found the times I’ve had success have been because I’ve had accountability partners. The consistent review of progress with them has kept me on track.

    Love this post, Vishnu.

    • hey Razwana, I think the two you mentioned might be the most key. Just a little bit of action every day. And someone to show you the way, via a mentor. So you’re not spending a lot of your time doing things that are not serving you well. A mentor can help us with the shortcuts to success.

      Yes!! accountability partners or systems are also another way to help us move towards success. Dreams without accountability or action are more signs of the fear of success.

      Thanks for the addition.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hmm you make a really good point there Razwana. I love what you said in regards to fear of success being like fear of the unknown.

      The two are pretty much the same thing really. Success or failure is unknown and because of that we get scared.

      +1 On accountability partners. That was an absolute game changer for me as well.

  2. “Get into the habit of doing.” is probably the most important takeaway for me. I don’t feel like diligence is spawned by Motivation, but that motivation can often be a product of diligence. At least that’s how it worked with my writing! Once I got into the habit of writing out my ideas, it become worse to not do it than actually doing it. Hopefully it works the same way in other areas as well. I guess I’m going to find out!

    And I probably need to accept that I need guidance. The weird thing for me is that I’ve learned to ask a bit more for help, I’ve always gotten it, and yet I’m still weary of asking for help. So weird. I wonder if it’s pride. Sometimes I feel like pride’s only function is to be an obstacle of progress.

    Great post Vishnu.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ragnar. 100% agree with you about action first, followed by motivation which comes from the action. Not only doing it but doing it in small steps has been what I’ve found most helpful.

      I know what you mean by asking for help. i think getting to the point of realizing that you can progress quicker with help and become even better at what you’re doing with someone else’s guidance can only launch you to further success. Maybe you’re allowing others to contribute to your success by asking for their help? They’re likely to want to see you succeed as well.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Doing beats thinking every day of the week in my book. You can only plan so much before it becomes procrastination.

      Guidance is a tough one. I’ve started asking for help more as well, but a lot of times I feel like I’m taking too much without giving anything back. But it’s a process like anything else :)

  3. Thanks for the mention Vishnu and let me say this in all seriousness.

    I can count the coaches I have worked with on one hand who are more cut out for the job and more likely to succeed than you are.

    • No problem Tim – loving the course so far.

      And hey, when you say anything with all seriousness, I listen!

      Your confidence in me scares the hell out of me. (kidding of course and thank you for the vote of confidence:)

    • Kevin Cole /

      Thanks for stopping by Tim.

      Definitely agree that Vishnu is going to make a killer coach.

  4. I’ve written before that I have a fear of success.

    For me, it’s in the form of “Ok, so what’s next?” That fear of the sense of emptiness that might accompany being without a meaningful pursuit scares the hell out of me. But I’ve used #4 – the habit of doing, along with faith that something new, interesting, and inspiring will emerge in my life even if I’ve achieved success in another area.

    • Thanks for your input here Jessica, especially since you’ve experienced it. We can’t go wrong with moving forward and getting stuff done, when facing the fear of success. And being open to more positive things unfolding is also good advice, when facing that fear.

      The fact that you’re acknowledging the fear and then taking positive action on it sounds like a good strategy.

    • Kevin Cole /

      I definitely know what you mean Jessica. Without something to light us up every day – the world can be a pretty shitty place.

      But like you said, it all comes down to doing and having a faith that something new will emerge.

  5. Wonderful tips here Vishnu! I particularly like your idea of getting into the habit of doing. Small steps do lead to larger accomplishments, but so much easier to take things one step at a time. Congrats on your decision to be a coach!

    • Thank you, Cathy!

      Small steps do build up to more achievement. All great things start with the first step.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey Cathy! Thanks for stopping by PD. :)

      The action habit is definitely a big one and it sounds like it struck a chord in a lot of people.

  6. awesome, Vishnu. I think you’ll make a great coach!! and excellent compliment from Tim himself 😀

    i hear you on the fear of success tho.. it means more responsibility! owning up to your greatness.. that’s scary shit!

    i loved your pic in purple! i’m so used to seeing you wear blue. lol

    • Thanks Janet for your vote of support:) I like it – “owning up to your greatness!” that’s motivating. And I have one non-blue shirt photo – lol – here it is!

    • Kevin Cole /

      Success definitely means more responsibility and acknowledging our own greatness within – that’s no easy feat.

      Thanks for stopping by Janet and welcome to PD!

  7. Great to see a post from you Vishnu!

    For me, I think overcoming resistance has been one of the things I worked on most in 2013, and will continue working on in 2014.

    Anyone who puts out their thoughts/ideas the world needs to find ways of overcoming self-doubt and resistance. 90 % of it can be traced back to what I call homeostasis – our brain & body’s innate mechanism for energy conservation and staying the same.

    The other 10 % they have to do with mood and psychological things.

    Ofc I’m generalizing, but this is my view on it.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Resistance sucks a big one. We’ve all given in to it from time to time, but the battle can be won.

      I love your thoughts on homeostasis and I know we’ve talked about it before. The brain is a tricky mofo :)

    • Thanks for adding your input Ludwig and sharing your experiences with overcoming resistance this past year. I’m not too familiar with homeostasis but looking forward to learning more.

  8. As always, Vishnu, wonderful advice and inspiration! I needed to hear the “do something every day” even if those are small steps. Blessings, my friend!

  9. Awesome post, Vishnu! I’m going to adopt your “What could go right?” question. That question is so foreign to me, but if I’m honest with myself, asking the opposite question doesn’t get me nearer to the truth of what might happen. It more often than not stops me dead in my tracks. I agree with you too about hating goals. Lately, I’ve been using very broad visions of how I want my life to be and how I want to be as long term “goals” and then I reassess more specifically what what would help me with those visions on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. I also totally agree with having mentors or other people in your corner. It makes such a huge difference. Thanks for sharing your insight with us!

    • Kevin Cole /

      “What could go right?” is a game changer indeed. It’s also totally foreign from what most of us are used to asking ourselves. I like the way you approach goal setting. It allows for malleability while still moving forward.

      Welcome to PD Varonica :)

    • Thanks for dropping by Varonica and your feedback. Yes – thinking of positive outcomes, visions or intentions and mentors are some great ways to move forward to success. You’re well on your way there from I’ve already seen :)

  10. Great post, Vishnu!

    I try and see failure as a learning opportunity. To allow my failures or mistakes show me what I should have done or could have done differently. When we see failure as learning we will not be afraid to try new or big things.

  11. Great article Vishnu! I like #4 and #6 most especially because it’s part of my manifesto- small acts make big rocks of success and there’s no better way to succeed than by reaching out to mentors and models. Nice article to inspire the start of the year 😉

    • THanks Rob – glad those two points resonated. If that’s your personal manifesto, you have one that’s designed for success :) Let’s make it a great year!

    • Kevin Cole /

      “Small acts make big rocks of success” <– That line is awesome and I 100% agree. Definitely going to use that one in the future!

  12. I’ve been thinking about this lately. I didn’t think the fear of success was real but it really is.

    Anyways, I do the whole visualizing the best end result. This is magical. It makes you so much more confident.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Definitely man. It can seem totally unreal until we get to a point where success is staring us in the face.

      Great to hear you found your own way to combat it!

  13. It is so odd, but so true, that it is the fear of success that demotivates us the most.

    I think it is deep down our subconscious mind not wanting change even if the change is everything we’ve ever dreamed of.

  14. Liked the post Vishnu,

    I think resistance to success tends to occur, when you get a sense that elements of success are beginning to appear in your life.

    A small example might be you’ve been a coach and an opportunity comes for you to appear in a media magazine as an expert, somehow you mess it up so you end up not appearing (some call this self-sabotage).

    In that case, being aware in order to have resistance to success you have had to been a little successful already might be worth noting and appreciating for the time being.

    Any earlier than that and i wouldn’t be surprised if it was not more of a hazy mind of what to do more than a resistance to success.

    It’s kind of like someone being afraid of driving at night. If they can drive, its less about the dark and more about not recognising their competencies in driving.

    If they are still a learner driver and worried about the dark, its more likely they are still stalling at the lights and panicking still when looking at the rear view mirror. Its certainly not about the dark though!

    Thanks for writing the article.

    Take care
    Aaron Morton
    The Confidence Lounge

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