Advertising

Last Updated on February 9, 2021

6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them)

Advertising
6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them)

Like many things that stand in the way of you achieving what you want, rarely is it the thing you think it is. That’s really annoying because you can’t fight a demon you can’t see.

In this article, I want to share with you 6 archetypes that you might not recognize that actually come from your fear of success.

They’re stealthy, sneaky things and rarely that obvious but wow they can damage your success or even your perception of it, and worse of all, many are playing out automatically in your life already!

For each Archetype, I want to share:

  • The signs that this archetype is attacking your success.
  • Things they say (Not you, you’ve no control – at the moment over this.)
  • A strategy to overcome this attacker on your success.
  • Good news about your hidden archetype
  • A success story so you can see how it works (and doesn’t work!)

1. The Goal Addict – Type 1

If you are a goal addict, you are not averse to setting goals. You achieve big. You know what you want and go for it.

The Goal Addict Type 1 can be an overachiever. There’s nothing wrong with wanting massive levels of success. However, when they sit before me, they are not working with me to become more successful. They want to find ways to relinquish control, or slow down.

They desperately want to escape elements of their life; or they notice how un-fulfilled they feel despite the healthy bank balance, awesome looking life style and illusion of the perfect life.

The Goal Addict T1 is likely to say:

  • I decided to get fit and now I am.
  • I achieve what I set out to achieve – no excuses.
  • I hustle until I get what I want.
  • I’m keen to tell you I achieve big.
  • There’s no time in my life to watch TV/read a book/do nothing.
  • I just hit our quarter targets 5 weeks early.

Strategies to Employ

Whether it’s you that’s the Goal Addict or someone you love or work with. Giving them some space to talk and explore who they are is not likely to work.

They achieve big because of who they are and they can’t see any reason to change, so don’t try to enforce change on them or yourself. Instead, find out what the Goal Addict doesn’t like about their life.

You will need to choose your timing well. If they feel threatened or cornered, they will be quick to let you know how awesomely successful they are.

When you find yourself berating something in your life, don’t shut the thought down, explore it and ask yourself:

“What does this mean to me?” “How is this impacting on my happiness? Health? Loved ones?”

Don’t choose the normal parameters that you’d normally choose to work like “What does this mean to my work/financial freedom/success? You will quickly prove yourself right and won’t deal with what’s going on.

The Good News

The good news about Goal Addicts is that they really appreciate their skills, attributes and successes. They can stay motivated and on track no matter what happens. They have an inbuilt determination and tenacity that helps them achieve big.

Working Towards Success!

I’ve worked with many incredibly successful people who have told me they are not happy. They’ve been on a permanent drive to get to the top they never stopped long enough to check the destination was still where they wanted to get.

One client realized they were trapped on a hamster wheel and we went back to basics. This quickly enabled them to see that 20 years of striving to be the best had been great but it had been costly. They had no one they felt they could love, no social life and hadn’t been on a plane for pleasure in years. Taking the step back and reacquainting with who they really are, helped them appreciate that the person they’d been years ago still existed and they reconnected with that.

They now do a lot of travelling. They still work as hard, but the weekends are as important as the day job.

2. The Goal Addict – Type 2

The Goal Addict Type 2 is possibly the opposite to the Type 1.

They still achieve everything they set out to achieve, however, they achieve small. They aim small, keep it small, and achieve small. And then when they talk to their coach, boss, friend, or loved one, they are complaining that they aren’t getting what they want in life.

They can be frustrated and disappointed and are less likely to shout about what they achieve, want or need.

The Goal Addict T2 is likely to say:

Advertising

  • I never seem to get where I want to go.
  • I find it really hard to visualise the future.
  • I wouldn’t know how to tell them.

Strategies to Employ

Goal Addict T2 often present to me with a sense that they could achieve more but aren’t. They tell me they lack confidence or that they don’t want to rock the boat. They like things fair for all.

The issue with this approach is they aren’t keen to explore what they really want. (It can make them hyperventilate and anxious to consider big goals and big ideas.)

Make use of the science of being you. Start by understanding that you have the skills, beliefs and attributes to achieve. You’ve been doing it for years. It’s just your focus has been up too close. Don’t try and process how you will achieve big or even what you want to achieve. Just notice how you’ve got as far as you have.

Know that failure is good for yo . While many of us have heard this, The Goal Addict T2 is petrified of it. It links to lots of fears and while it may manifest as the fear of success, often underling this are the fears of what people will think of me and the fear that I will look stupid. Most fears at their base have the fear of what other people will be thinking about you.

So before you look to overcome your fear of success, build your confidence. In my experience, the quickest ways to build your confidence is 2 fold:

  1. Get a really clear focus on what you want out of life (tough for the Goal Addict Type 2 right? So work with someone to help you work out what that looks like.
  2. Remind yourself of your genius and skills. They already exist you just don’t want to look at them. And a word of caution – if you find your confidence levels are impacted on by what is going on, then that’s external confidence and it’s doing you no favours. Learn to build your internal confidence.

No one gets out of life without making mistakes. We learn far more from failure than we do from success. On Lifehack alone, you will find tons of articles talking about some of our great achievers in every arena of life – and so many will tell you that it was their failures that enabled them to be successful.

Failure is not failure, it’s the chance to learn.

The Good News

The good news is that Goal Addict T2 are good at motivating others because they’d rather look at other people than themselves.

Also because they don’t know where they want to go, they are easy to be with, manipulate, employ and control. (Okay you can see that can be bad for the Goal Addict, right?)

They are good at protecting themselves from failure and negativity because they just won’t look at it in that way.

Working Towards Success!

I worked with someone who told me that they had no proof that they could achieve anything. Everything they’d ever achieved had been because someone else had told them to do it. They didn’t create the spark; the small flame was handed to them.

By using the strategies above, they rocketed their confidence, learn’t to trust in what they had to say, stop stressing about what other people were thinking of them or of what they said and learnt to push themselves.

Some people like to get so far out of their comfort zone they can’t see it any more. For this person, it was about small goals that added up to the big goal – something they obviously knew they could do!

3. Disbelievers

The disbeliever is less likely to come to me for coaching of their own free will. They are more likely to be a member of a team and the senior team has spotted some issues that they feel coaching can help overcome.

The disbeliever has a fear of success that is manifesting itself when they fight change in the work place or can justify why things can’t change.

They say:

  • We don’t do it like that.
  • It can’t be done.
  • That would never work.
  • That’s outside of my skills.

Strategies to Employ

Be aware of the language you use on yourself. Does it empower you or undermine you? You may think that your language is keeping you safe.

Imagine for a moment that the very thing that you felt kept you safe was in actual fact keeping you trapped? Becoming more aware of the trap that your language creates, enables you to get out of it faster.

Don’t go it alone. If you are fearful of success and hold strong beliefs about what can’t be done or what you can’t do, it’s going to be tough to fight that alone.

Challenge what you believe. Your perception of reality is unique to you. Only you have reached this place in exactly the way you have, so be mindful of how that journey has skewed your view of the world.

When someone challenges you on what you think can be done, don’t’ be so quick to dismiss them. Take some time to process it – could this be the way for you to fight your fear of success?

The Good News

Disbelievers hold strong opinions and those opinions have kept them safe. (Yes, you could reframe it and say those ideas have kept them trapped) but for now, know that they are good at holding strong in their views.

Advertising

Disbelievers also tend to be sticklers for doing things the right way. (Yes they can get bogged down and fearful of trying new ways) but for now remember they are good at being really reliable and sustainable in what they do.

Working Towards Success!

I was working with a team that had 2 Disbelievers in. The rest of the team were pretty much despondent that they’d ever get on board with new ideas and new ways of working. So no matter how much new methods were enforced on the team, the disbelievers could always justify why the old way was best.

We made it very personal to them, and talked about how the new ideas made them feel. How they felt unappreciated and like they were considered the “old dogs” of the team that couldn’t learn new tricks. They could, they just couldn’t see the benefits. “It had all been tried before.”

We stopped talking about their beliefs around the changes, and looked at what they hated about their roles at work. Then, we looked at ways to make things better. The team were able to show the Disbelievers that the new ways of working would in actual fact deal with the very issues they faced.

The Disbelievers were so trapped in their view of reality there was no space in their beliefs and automatic processes that would enable them to access the new ideas. This process enabled them to do it and helped the team see the challenges it caused for the Disbelievers.

A greater understanding of each other led to some serious eureka moments for the whole team. That means happier staff and less stress as well as increased productivity!

4. Saboteurs

The Saboteur thinks they are doing their best. They work long hours (they aren’t afraid of hard work!) they go for it, they try new things but it never seems to work out the way they really would like it to.

No matter what they do, they never feel like they’ve good enough or done enough. It’s a constant fight.

They say:

  • I will do all I can.
  • I can’t see how this is going to work, but I will do my best.
  • This is not my area of expertise so I don’t think I can do this.

Strategies to Employ

The Saboteurs have it tough because no matter what happens – good or bad, they can find something to be unhappy with. Even if things are going great, they will be able to tell you the things that went badly.

Head and heart is an exercise where I get the Saboteur to just talk about something they aren’t happy with, something they feel can’t be achieved. They can talk in depth about everything that went wrong, can’t be done, and has been considered and dismissed. However, ask them to list out everything they learned or benefited from in that experience, they struggle.

Persevere because the Saboteur is good at finding what is going on. And with help, they can force themselves into looking at what exists — really exists. Head is the facts that they know (the easy bit) and heart is the stuff that they choose to think (the tough bit).

Step back from the situation that you fear and get the head and the heart to create the dialogue. Even if you don’t believe it, the facts can start to shout louder than the feelings.

The Good News

Saboteurs should celebrate how hard working you are. You get knocked down again and again and still you resiliently get up and go for it again!

Working Towards Success!

The Saboteurs’ fear of failure can make them a bunny in head lights, trapped and unable to move.

I’ve seen the head and heart strategy work powerfully, because you can’t argue with the facts (as much as you may try) slowly, this process enables the person to take a new approach, create new beliefs and even achieve more.

One client would every month sit before me and tell me why something wasn’t good enough and how they’d failed. Until at one session, they sat before me and said my own words back at me “I know, I’ve achieved a lot and I wasn’t achieving this much 5 months ago, was I? So I don’t even have evidence to that fact, do I!”

This made them laugh because clearly, they were getting their own new message loud and clear – and I love working with that person!

5. The Half Hearters

Of all the fears of success, the Half Hearters are least likely to work with a coach. I meet a lot of these in my line of business. They are often following me around the UK to hear me speak or reading every word I write online but still, they ask the same questions and are doing the same things. And we all know that’s a definition of madness, don’t we?

Half Hearters are usually sponges at taking on new information and can repeat it back parrot fashion, but they don’t actually take action on it.

They are likely to say:

  • I saw your video and thought it was very interesting.
  • I did that, and it didn’t work.
  • I don’t think that strategy could work for me.

Strategies to Employ

With some fears, you need to look at it firmly in the eyes and deal with it head on; others are fought by concentrating on what you really want and eventually the fear shrinks to nothing because you build your confidence in what you do.

Advertising

For Half Hearters, they are convinced that they have tried everything and are doing everything they can. It means that no matter what they learn, they don’t take action because the underlining fear has control — subconscious control, but control none the less.

Then, try the “And that means” exercise.

When you find yourself saying something ask yourself  “And that means?” Keep asking this question.

As a coach. we get to work deep down in your mind finding out what the route issue is. This process helps you do that too. For instance:

“I don’t think that strategy could work for me.”

And that means?

“That I will have to accept that I can’t do that in my life/business/career/relationships.”

And that means?

“That it will always be a limitation on my success and happiness.”

And that means?

“That I will always fear this.”

This process helps you see what’s happening to you because you won’t attempt something new.

Now use the “If I knew, what could I do” exercise. For this, suspend reality for a moment. Get the magic wand out. Get creative. There’s no limitation on your time, health, finances, abilities, skills or beliefs – with that in mind how would you answer the first statement again?

And yes, I know for many, this is way out of your comfort zone, but the least creative clients are able to find some insight too. So stick with it.

For instance:

“I don’t think that strategy could work for me.”

If I knew, what could I do?

“If I knew it would work, I could do it.”

This then enables you to start breaking down a lifetime of beliefs around the dangers of the fear of success.

The Good News

The good news for the Half Hearters is that they are great at learning new ideas even if they don’t employ them. They are happy where they are (usually because they are un-keen to look too far ahead for fear that they will fail at it!)

Working Towards Success

A client came to me and said they felt their fear of success and that it meant they rarely applied themselves.

From the “And that means” exercise, we were able to see what was the underlining issue. They really feared what other people thought of them. They’d been bullied as a child and in their first job and it had stuck around in their head telling them to just hide in the office and don’t stand out. It meant they now felt overlooked and unappreciated.

Advertising

Dealing with their fear of success and what people thought of them meant they learned to employ communication skills they already knew but were too fearful to use. And then, they got not one but 2 pay rises and promotions!

6. The Inventors

Inventors are awesome to coach because they get results fast. It’s a great example of how you can change the results you get in an instant because it’s about what you think before what you do.

Inventors create a perception of reality that supports where they are. It means that they don’t notice the fear of success that exists at all!

Inventors are likely to say:

  • I’ve tried everything.
  • I’ve no idea how to do this.

Inventors need someone to hold their hand to overcome their fear. Their ability to create, nurture and believe their own version of reality keeps them safe and it makes it very hard to escape on their own.

Strategies to Employ

More than any other archetype, the Inventor has to strip back what they think and find its source. Going it alone is not a great option because the Inventor can constantly recreate reality to support where they are.

Having someone to help them confront what they believe to be true really can help. Don’t ask your partner or friend because they just want you to be happy (more than successful) and don’t want to see you upset.

I have had hundreds and hundreds of people cry in a coaching session and be mortified by it, but it’s in that moment of tears that they have realized what the fear has done to them, how it has stopped them and a complete release that there really is a new way they could think to get what they want.

Don’t go it alone, find someone who you can trust to challenge you in a supporting way that suits you. Some people like a kick butt approach and others need a gentle gentle approach – start by thinking what your approach might be.

It’s funny how quick the right people and opportunities crop up when you are looking in the right direction.

And most importantly, don’t berate yourself for who you are. When you start to break down your perception of reality, most of my clients discover how awesome they really are and their new perception of reality is far better (and quite often instant!)

The Good News

The Inventors don’t tend to like looking too closely at their emotions and feelings. If they do, then their perception of reality can get dislodged. So they tend to be strong people.

That strength is so important, it enables you to be resilient and determined. Both of these are critical when you face up to your fears.

Working Towards Success!

I was working with a team of people who had 2 inventors in their group. They weren’t very good at coming up with new ideas (like the rest of the team) and didn’t like being challenged.

By helping them to see that other perceptions of reality existed for other members of the team, they could start to see that they could choose to see things differently if they wanted to.

The trick was in getting them to appreciate the need for change and then giving them the safe zone to challenge what they thought.

With the right support, they were actually the fastest to adopt new ideas because they could quickly create a reality to support the new way of thinking, cool right?

Final Thoughts

Of all the fears that attack your life, ultimately their role is to lower your confidence levels, keep you trapped and stop you from what you want in life.

By being brave enough to notice them, you are well on the road to fixing them. Therefore wherever you are today, that’s a great starting point, remember that.

More Tips About Fighting Fears

Featured photo credit: Jason Hogan via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward 7 Types Of Emotional Baggage And How To Deal With Them How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness

Trending in Success Mindset

1 Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success 2 How to Deal with Setbacks And Use Them for Future Success 3 How to Improve Your Confidence And Give a Boost to Your Self-Esteem 4 How to Get Over the Fear Of Responsibility And Achieve More in Life 5 10 Things To Do When You’re Angry At Yourself (For Your Mistakes)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 29, 2021

Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

Advertising
Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

The 10-80-10 rule is an extension of the Pareto principle that says 80% of productivity/wealth is generated/owned by 20% of the population.[1] This ratio is often observable in various statistics and studies.

The 10-80-10 rule takes this principle and applies it more specifically to human behavior. It is also malleable, enabling people to move between categories. If we apply it to a company (just as an example), in essence, the 10-80-10 rule looks like this:

  • 10% Highly Productive Elite – This is the core of your business. These people will work all the hours that God sends for your company, leaving no stone unturned and generating the maximum possible productivity/revenue for you that they can.
  • 80% Productive – These lovely folks make up the majority of your business and will work 9-5, getting their tasks done and not making much of a fuss about it. They are less likely to offer innovation, but they are reliable, trustworthy, and dutiful.
  • 10% Unproductive and Defiant – These people are outliers and mercifully low in number, but they create work. They are difficult, unwilling to work hard, and generally take more from your company than they give.

This can also be applied in other areas of life. Morality is another example, with the vast majority (80%) of us being law-abiding citizens who may bend the rules occasionally, 10% being unscrupulously good, and 10% being out-and-out criminals.

Who Came Up With the 10-80-10 Rule?

As touched on earlier, the 10-80-10 rule is an off-shoot of the Pareto Principle, first conceived of in the early twentieth century by Italian civil engineer turned economist Wilfredo Pareto. He simply observed that 80% of the property in Italy, at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. Wealth distribution, according to Pareto, was divided 20/80 across all sections of society. The country, age, gender, or industry didn’t matter. This principle still applied.

Later on in the 1940s, Joseph M. Juran (himself an engineer and management consultant) applied the Pareto Principle to human behavior with the aim of improving quality control, positing that 80% of the success on any one project would be due to the efforts of 20% of the team working on it.

Since then, various researchers and theorists have expanded the Pareto principle into the 10-80-10 rule—observing that 10% are true leaders, 80% seek guidance from others, and 10% wilfully act in a counter-productive manner.[2]

Advertising

How to Apply the 10-80-10 Rule to Management to Be More Successful

Well, let’s stay with the team/workforce model for now: if you want to improve productivity in your company, where should your focus be? All too often, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” That is to say, we tend to try and fix what’s most broken in our organization (namely the bottom 10%) before we move on to the less broken.

When you realize, though, that you’re pouring resources into just 10% of your labor force, it starts to look very inefficient. Moreover, that 10% is comprised of folks who are highly unlikely to change their tune (statistically anyway). You need to focus on the 80%. That’s where you’ll have the most impact and where you’ll create the biggest uplift in productivity. The 80% aren’t (of course) completely equal. Some will sit closer to either of the 10% range, but this means that you should be able to increase the size of your top 10% to be more like 20 or 30%.

How Much of a Difference Would That Make?

Now, before you slam your laptop shut, haul off, and start brainstorming ideas about team-building exercises and corporate days out, it is first very important to understand the metric by which you measure productivity. Numbers on a spreadsheet or letters next to a person’s name only paint part of the picture.

What you value in your company is unique to you. As I’m constantly saying to entrepreneurs and business owners that I coach, you have to be specific with what you are asking of your team, your customers, and the universe at large. Ask a vague question and you’ll get a vague answer.

So, do the work of understanding exactly what is working for you and what isn’t. Simply saying that you want revenue to increase is not enough. By how much? In what areas? Who will we add value to increase their spending with us? Where and whom should we target for new growth?

Who Does This Desired Increase in Productivity Help You Become and Who Does It Serve?

Armed with this, you will have much more clarity to take to your team and with which to start formulating a plan of action. You can look at what would incentivize those in the 80% who just need a slight nudge. That’s where minimum effort will yield maximum results! So, start there.

Advertising

A 2014 Gallup poll found that a third of the US workforce felt unmotivated in their jobs, with the highest levels of motivation found among managers.[3] This tells us two things:

  • Firstly, the unmotivated third is comprised partly of those in the 80% camp, but the entirety of the unmotivated 10% is in there, too. If you take them out (because they are those people), the remainder isn’t as many people and they are in a group that still wants to work and get on.
  • Secondly, those in a position of management (i.e. those who feel as though they can effect change in the company) tend to be the most motivated.

Now, let’s not confuse motivation with productivity. You can be as motivated as you like, but without proper strategy or direction, you’ll just be a hammer in search of a nail. Nevertheless, those in management who felt the most motivated to be productive are worth interrogating.

Why Did They Feel More Motivated?

I would posit that the answer is very simple: they felt heard and that they could affect change. It’s a hugely important part of human psychology that we feel as though our ideas, thoughts, and feelings are heard by others. When we feel ignored, we feel unvalued. When we feel unvalued, we are (naturally) unmotivated.

This is not to say that you should make everyone a manager within your company. Your business might be a start-up or just a few people working out of your converted garage. The point is, make sure that they all feel heard. I guarantee you that—especially among the upper end of the 80%—you will see the greatest uptick in productivity if you simply listen to them. Make them feel as though they have a vested interest in growing your business, too.

If they can see the role that they play is important and understood by you, they will push themselves to go further, work harder, and achieve more. You have to put yourself in their shoes, which brings us on to the next point. . .

How to Use the 10-80-10 Rule to Improve Success

Okay, so far we’ve just looked at the 10-80-10 rule as it pertains to the success of groups. But how does it apply to us as individuals? What can we learn from it and use in our day-to-day lives?

Advertising

You might be a sole trader or maybe a consultant—someone who does not have a team to rally and simply sells your services to others. In that instance, how does this work for you? Divide yourself up into the 10-80-10. Do it by tasks: what are you most efficient/gifted at, what are you good at, and what do you constantly put off doing?

Here’s an example. Say you’re a writer (where did I get this one from?), and you’re very successful. You are asked to write articles for lots of great, top publications like LifeHack, or maybe you’re writing a book and your screenplay just got picked up by Warner Brothers. Writing is your 10% elite. It’s where you offer the greatest value.

It’s probably not the actual writing so much as it’s the creativity, ideas, and talent that you can bring to bear in your writing. The actual writing—sitting down at your computer, tapping it out, proofreading, and catching spelling/grammar mistakes—that’s your 80%. Sure, you’re good at it. You are competent and get it done. But it’s not where you are at your most powerful, and you usually run out of steam at some point during the day.

Then, there’s your bottom 10%. That’s probably your operational tasks, such as your timekeeping, bookkeeping, invoicing, correspondence, tax return, etc.

Where Do I Get These Examples From?

So, where can you be most effective in taking action that will support you in accelerating your growth? Again, start with the 80%. Try finding ways to improve the writing experience for you. Maybe observe yourself on a typical day, and note when you do your best work. It might be right after your second coffee that you stay at your desk for longer and write with the greatest clarity. So, start structuring your day around that.

What has that cost you? Nothing! It was simply a case of reorganizing your day and bingo, you are doing more of your best work in less time than it took you before. Pretty soon, after you’ve tightened up your day so that you are of maximum productivity, you’ll find that you have more time and resources.

Advertising

Once you are better resourced, having landed bigger and bigger jobs, you’ll be able to take care of that pesky bottom 10%. It could be that you eliminate it by outsourcing the work to someone else. Now that you earn more for less of your time, why not? Just take it out of the equation altogether.

Final Thoughts

The 10-80-10 rule is not about adding ridged structures or following strict rules per se. It’s simply a lens through which to view human behavior, including your own. The reason why it is (or could be) the key to your success is that it enables you to identify those small changes that you can make that will have the greatest impact and accelerate your growth the fastest.

If you categorize your labor and the labor of your employees in this way, you’ll be able to more easily identify where you can have maximum impact with minimum input. If you continue to work out from there, your success will snowball, and you’ll have the support in place to maintain it.

More Tips on How to Improve Your Success

Featured photo credit: Andreas Klassen via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next