Recently a client told me that she didn’t want to go for a promotion because she feared succeeding, even though she really wanted it. A strange combination of thoughts, but not uncommon and stems from many reasons:

  • The fear of the unknown. Stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing success means venturing into uncharted territory. Uncertainty about how our lives may change, the responsibilities that accompany success, and the expectations others may have of us can be paralysing.
  • The fear of judgment and criticism from others can also act as blockers. Worrying about what others might think or say can be overwhelming.
  • Success often brings significant changes, including leaving behind familiar routines, relationships, or environments. Even positive changes can be challenging, particularly for working parents. Concerns about how success will impact our children, relationships, and lifestyle can make us resist the changes that come with achieving our goals.
  • The fear of failure can contribute to the fear of success. Success introduces new expectations and challenges, and we may worry about our ability to maintain that success or fear that we will be unable to live up to the standards we set for ourselves.
  • Feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome. Doubting our own abilities and believing that we are undeserving becomes a hindrance. That annoying little imposter in our heads convinces us that we are frauds, attributing our achievements to luck rather than our skills or hard work.


So, what can you do to overcome these concerns? 


1. Identify the fear:

Take time to understand the root cause of your fear of success. Is it related to a fear of change, the unknown, judgment, or something else? Identifying the underlying fear will help you address it effectively.

2. Challenge your beliefs:

Examine your beliefs and assumptions about success. Replace any negative or self-limiting thoughts with positive ones. Remind yourself that success is a natural part of personal growth and that you deserve to succeed.

3. Set realistic goals:

Break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps. This reduces overwhelm and makes success feel more attainable. Celebrating each milestone will boost your confidence and motivation.

4. Visualise success:

Imagine yourself succeeding and visualise the positive outcomes of achieving your goals. This rewires your brain to associate success with positive emotions instead of fear.

5. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity:

Recognise that failure is a normal part of the journey to success. Instead of fearing failure, view it as a valuable learning experience.

6. Surround yourself with supportive people:

Seek out individuals who support and encourage your goals. Positive influences help overcome self-doubt and fear.

Overcoming the fear of success requires a combination of self-reflection, mindset shifts, and taking action. By understanding and addressing the underlying fears, challenging limiting beliefs, and embracing the potential for positive change, you can break free from the fear that holds you back. Remember, success is within your reach, and you deserve to thrive and achieve your goals.

This article was written by Charlotte Worth one of our partner coaches who helps her clients to unlock their full potential by enabling them to navigate any bumps in the road, embrace their strengths and achieve their work-life goals. You can find out more about Charlotte on her profile page.