Achievmephobia is a real thing. Many of us may think, “Why be afraid of such a positive circumstance?” Just as every other fear, the fear of success is learned and can be overcome. Here’s a magnifying look at achievemephobia.
WHY FEAR SUCCESS?
A lot of people are afraid of change. Success brings a change in lifestyle that is likely difficult to adjust to. It can bring about an increase in popularity, a change in venue (such as moving to a new city or state), more money than you feel like you can manage, heightened exposure to yourself and your craft, and more publicity. Success may also attract different breeds of people into your life, whether they be consumers or, say, business partners. Many folks who value complacency may also be afraid of what success will bring them. They may not want to experience life outside of their comfort zone. For instance, a family-oriented person may not want a new career to uproot them from their hometown, and if that happens, may feel out of place due to culture shock.
A larger platform can create more pressure such as the need to please everyone and living up to everyone’s fantasies and expectations—which is impossible and unrealistic. There is a need to nail accomplishments back to back to maintain the admiration of everyone who is watching you. Speaking of being “watched,” the greater publicity can also put you under a microscope, especially in the social media world where everyone is vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism.
Not knowing how you will be after success is another reason some people fear success. You may not know how to remain humble with so much adulation from your audience or consumers. You may be afraid that a higher income, a new set of friends, and a popularity that you’ve never experienced before will cause you to give into self-inflation. You may also be afraid that a high status will make you forget your upbringing, your family, and values.
WHAT DOES FEAR OF SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?
- Procrastination—being afraid of accomplishing great tasks that eventually brings one closer to success
- Perfectionism—the need to over-perform because of feelings of inadequacy or fears of criticism
- Turning down good opportunities—those who fear success may refuse to partake in anything that will catapult them into success.
- Refusing to set goals—not being willing to work towards success
- Complacency—limiting oneself to tasks that are “too familiar” to them; not wanting to grow or develop, and avoiding challenges
DON’T BE AFRAID OF YOUR OWN GREATNESS!
Fear of success means being afraid of your greatness! Here are some reasons people may not want to encounter their own greatness:
- Stirring up envy from our loved ones—say our success brings us “ahead” of a friend, sibling, or even a spouse. We may end up making more money, gaining more attention and supporters for our business or craft, and getting more opportunities and promotions than our loved ones. You may be concerned that your folks will be jealous or bitter because of your favor.
- “Center of attention” scare—this can be true especially if one is shy or socially anxious. To those who are timid, success could mean publicity that they don’t feel like they are prepared for.
- Childhood trauma—one who has been bullied and taunted for being the “smart one” in class or for being a high academic achiever is likely to fear success as an adult because they may fear the same retorts from even more people.
- Losing sense of self—you may not know who you will be after you succeed and this fear of the unknown may frighten you. That’s why it’s important to establish a strong sense of self before determining what you want in life.
HOW TO COMBAT IT?
- Seek the root of your fears—why do you really fear success? Learn how to minimize that fear.
- Positive self-talk—speak a wave of confidence over yourself.
- Become comfortably uncomfortable—success takes you outside of your comfort zone, practice this daily.
- Think ahead—near the end of your life, do you want to have any “dang! I should’ve…” moments?
Remember you are here for a reason. Don’t let your purpose go to waste because of the illusion of fear.