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Last Updated on February 9, 2021

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

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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on April 27, 2021

How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you are human. This means that there is likely a time or two when you have not taken responsibility for something in your life. We’ve all been there. Maybe you broke an item at a place of employment but didn’t fess up to it, or you missed a deadline and blamed the reason why on someone else, or perhaps you decided a responsibility was too great to face.

Accepting responsibility can be challenging because it doesn’t always feel good. It can require time we think we don’t have. Feelings of shame or inadequacy can surface. Rather than face those feelings, it’s much easier to not accept responsibility.

This is all understandable. But it may not be serving us and who we want to be in the long run.

Accepting responsibility has benefits at work, home, and all aspects of life. When we demonstrate to ourselves that we can be responsible, we show our strength of character, our leadership qualities, and even our adulting skills.

Knowing that doesn’t make accepting responsibility any easier, does it?

Using the example of pretending that you live in an apartment with multiple roommates where you all have to share the kitchen, we will look at seven tips on how to accept responsibility for your life.

1. Stop Playing the Victim

You’ve just cooked a big meal involving several pots, pans, and cooking utensils. You reflect on feeling overwhelmed and stressed by life right now and decide that you just don’t have the time or energy to do your dishes right now. The next time you or your roommates want to use the kitchen, there’s a big mess and a lack of options for pans and cutlery to use.

Maybe one of your roommates will do it for you? Superman to the rescue? I hate to break it to you, but Superman doesn’t actually exist.

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Why insist on crushing every childhood fantasy? Because when we wait for someone else to fix our problems, we are playing the victim, and if Superman doesn’t exist (or Spiderman or Wonder Woman, or Black Panther, etc.), then we will be perpetually tied to the proverbial train tracks, waiting for someone else to save us.[1]

What we can do in this situation is acknowledge and validate our feelings. In the above scenario, you’re focusing on feeling overwhelmed. This feeling isn’t “bad.” But it does affect your motivation to accept responsibility, keeping you in a victim mindset. It isn’t just the dishes that you need to face. You also need to take responsibility for your emotions.

Acknowledging and validating emotions help you to understand what you’re feeling and why. You can then redirect the energy you’re wasting on being a victim and redirect it toward more productive things in life. Like doing your own dishes.

There are many different ways we can develop the skill of self-acknowledgment and validation. One of the best is to write about what you’re experiencing. You may be surprised by how you describe the “what” and “why” of your feelings. You may even uncover other times in your life when you felt this way and find that your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are based on that past. You might even heal an old experience as you deal with the present circumstance!

2. End the Blame Game

“If my roommates were more consistent about doing their dishes, then I would feel like I could do mine.”

It’s so easy to come up with excuses and reasons why we shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than anyone else. We find interesting ways to blame others for why we can’t do something. This becomes another way to avoid taking responsibility, and we can do so out of a perspective of anger.[2]

Anger can be energetically compelling, but it’s not always rooted in reality. It can keep us stuck and prevent us from having the life and relationships we really want. Much like being the victim, it’s important to ask yourself how being and staying angry is serving you. Again, it’s important to acknowledge and validate these thoughts and feelings too.

Perhaps you’re really feeling mad at someone at your workplace who isn’t taking responsibility for their own projects. You end up taking on their work, allowing anger to build up. By the time you get home, you need a place to let that anger out. And so, your anger is directed toward your kitchen and your roommates.

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This may help you feel better for a little while, but it’s not sustainable. There are so many ways of dealing with anger. It would serve you and others around you well to learn how to manage and work with any anger you have in your life so that you can resume your acceptance of responsibility.

3. Forgive Yourself and others

After reading tips number 1 and 2, perhaps you are now adept at practicing acknowledging and validating your feelings. Because of that work, it’s easier to forgive yourself and others.

For instance, without the feelings of victimhood and blame, you have the energy to see things from a perspective of forgiveness and tolerance.

From a place of forgiveness, you see that even though your roommates don’t take care of their dishes right away every time, they do so more often than not. Plus, you can see that all of you have challenging things happening in your lives right now, so why should your challenges make it so that you can slack off? You may even remember times when your roommates have helped you out with cleaning the kitchen even though the mess wasn’t theirs.

As you forgive others, you forgive yourself too and take ownership of your own tasks.

4. Use Responsibility as a Way to Help Others

Shirking our responsibilities can actually affect others’ well-being. We can step into a space of considering how our actions, or lack thereof, might be burdening or harming others.

For example, not doing your dishes and leaving the kitchen dirty means that when another roommate wants to use the kitchen to make a meal, they may have to clean the kitchen first to have access to the pots, pans, and utensils required. They may feel annoyed that you didn’t take responsibility for your mess, which affects your relationship with your roommate. A confrontation may be on the horizon.

However, if you can put yourself in the frame of mind to consider things from your roommate’s position, you might think twice about leaving the dishes. By taking responsibility and doing your part to keep the kitchen clean, you are taking care of the space and your roommates.

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A lot of people find it easier and highly beneficial to do things out of a sense of responsibility for others.[3] Thinking about things from another’s perspective can be a motivating factor and can provide us with feelings of purpose.

5. Look for the Win-Win

When we choose not to take responsibility, we are choosing a zero-sum game, meaning nobody wins. What if you looked for the win-win opportunity of taking responsibility instead?

Maybe there have been times when your roommates have saddled you with a messy kitchen. If you now decide to leave your mess, nobody wins. Whereas, cleaning up after yourself now means that you are modeling how you want the space to be treated by everyone. You are also ensuring that your roommates can trust you to take responsibility for your cleaning tasks, and the next person who wants to use the kitchen will be able to do so.

In this scenario, you will be taking responsibility, cultivating a relationship of trust with your roommates, and making it so that nobody else has to clean up after you. Everyone wins.

6. Make Taking Responsibility Fun

Another vantage point from which we could look is the place of joy. Yes, joy.

It’s easy to paint “cleaning the kitchen” in a negative light when shows are streaming on Netflix and downtime activities calling. But what could happen for you if you made the task of doing the dishes fun?

How can it be fun? This is where you get to be creative.

Some ideas could be playing some of your favorite music as you clean, invite a roommate to chat while you clean, or you could play that show you’re binging on Netflix as you scrub. Have Airpods? Call a friend as you clean!

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Finding a way to make it fun helps you lose track of time and get the job done faster. It could also provide some necessary “play” time. We don’t play enough as adults. Get back to your childhood roots and find ways to incorporate play into your daily routine, and get the dishes done at the same time!

7. Choose Your Own Adventure

When we approach responsibility from our highest self, we can be at choice for how we want to accept it. This requires an awareness of what we intend to accomplish or learn in any life experience.

For instance, when faced with a responsibility, you could consider all the ways of looking at it (from a place of victimhood, blame, forgiveness, service to others, win-win, or fun) and decide which perspective would serve the highest good of all, yourself included.

When we can approach any life situation from the standpoint of having choices, doesn’t that feel better than feeling forced into a decision or action?

Conclusion

Knowing that you can make conscious choices at any time in your life hopefully helps you to feel freer and more energized for any life responsibility you choose to accept. These seven tips on how to accept responsibility will set you up for a good start.

More Tips on How To Be a Responsible Person

Featured photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado via unsplash.com

Reference

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