Overcoming Your Fear Of Success

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Have you ever felt like you're faking it?? Like you've somehow got to where you are in life by accident, and someday soon someone is going to turn around and ask you what you're doing here? And that no matter how much success you have that you don't really deserve the accomplishments at the end of it? It's a common feeling. Common enough that it has a name - Imposter Syndrome. And 7 in 10 people experience it at one point or another. Imposter Syndrome affects all of us at one time or another, but it tends to hound certain groups of people more. The high achievers, women, and business owners. So, in this article, I want to explain what it is, why it happens, and how hypnotherapy could help you overcome it.

What Is A Fear Of Success?

On the surface, having a fear of success seems strange. After all, success is something to aspire to, and that life will be better when we achieve it. But here's the secret - a lot of us are afraid of success, even if we don't realise it.

Some subtle signs that you might be struggling with a fear of success include:

  • You set yourself low goals so you aren't challenged by anything
  • You sabotage yourself - like delaying action long enough to let an opportunity pass
  • Quitting when you're on the verge of success
  • Working slowly, not wanting to work, or not working at all
  • Being worried about being in the spotlight, or than things will get more complicated than you can handle
  • Making lots of plans, but not actually following through on any of them

Do any of those sound familiar? Don't worry if they do, a fear of success is much more common than you might think! It's also a pretty big cause for anxiety, so it tends to go hand in hand with certain mental health problems. And because success looks different for everyone, the symptoms of the fear are a little different too. You might measure success in income level and job title, while another would measure it on follower count, or the number of meetings booked. How you view success can help you figure out if you're struggling with a fear of success, rather than procrastination. Because the sneaky thing about a fear of success is that it can be difficult to spot, since it often mimics procrastination in terms of behaviour and conscious thought. But what's actually on in your brain when you're afraid of success is very different than what's happening when you procrastinate.

What's Happening In My Brain?

Like a lot of thought processes and limiting beliefs, a fear of success can be linked to the way your brain works. As I mentioned earlier, a fear of success usually triggered by a form of change - a promotion, a new project - something that presents a challenge for you and means you need to prove your worth. That's scary enough on its own, but the limbic system (the part of your brain that controls the subconscious) really doesn't like change, and so it fires up and does whatever it can to stop it. We start to overthink things, catastrophise, doubt ourselves and our skills, and often go into 'freeze mode' to keep ourselves in a safe and familiar space. That cycle of worrying and overthinking is not only bad for your mental health, but it prompts your brain into procrastination mode, making you put off anything to do with the change.

How Do I Overcome My Fear Of Success

The best way to overcome a fear of success is to get your intellectual prefrontal cortex back in the driving seat. This is the part of your brain that is solution focused, enjoys a challenge and is responsible for things like decision making and confidence.

Find the Root: A fear of success will have it's roots somewhere in your subconscious, and part of the battle is understanding what that is and why it affects you. Give yourself space to acknowledge your feelings, and examine any shame or embarrassment you may feel about it. Try to remember some of your previous experiences with it, and ask yourself, what was it like? Who was involved? How did it feel? Do this enough times and you may start to see a pattern.

Understand Your Behaviours One of the reasons we try to find out the origins of your fear of success is so that you can learn to recognise your avoidance strategies. What is it that you do when you're feeling those fears? Do you avoid taking on any new projects? Do you reject any form of praise? Do you put road blocks in your own path so that you don't have to feel bad about failing? Once you recognise your behaviours, you can keep track of them and take the steps to tackle them.

Manage Stress: Stress and anxiety are big emotions, and they could be a real contributing factor to your success. So if you think they might be part of the equation, take steps to manage your stress and anxiety levels. This might include some lifestyles changes, like making sure you eat well, exercise, socialise and sleep well. You may find just a few changes help bring your fears into focus and help get you into a better space to deal with it.

Get Help: Rewiring your brain to think in a more positive way is a tough job, and sometimes it's best not to do it alone. If your fear of success is starting to cause significant problems in any area of your life, then seeking professional help can be a great option. Things like solution focused hypnotherapy or CBT can be incredibly effective in helping you work through the fear and shift your thinking for the future.

Can Hypnosis Make Me More Successful?

Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way to help battle and overcome the thoughts and feelings behind a fear of success. By putting you into a trance state, you are allowing your subconscious to open up and be more willing to accept different viewpoints. So when your therapist makes suggestions or challenges your thoughts, you are in a more positive and productive space to analyse them honestly, and require your brain to believe in yourself more wholeheartedly. You and your therapist will work together to change the thoughts, feelings and actions that are holding you back, looking at your core beliefs about yourself and finding ways to change them. Combined with anxiety management techniques, hypnotherapy can help you break out of the cycle and overcome the negative self-doubt.

And remember, a fear of success doesn't mean you won't succeed. And in fact, it's a sign that you respect your endeavour so much that you're afraid your skills won't honour it. That in itself is a pretty strong indicator that you aren't in fact, an imposter, and you do have what it takes to succeed.

If these issues sound familiar and you'd like some support, feel free to get in touch and book a free initial chat to explore your issues and receive some advice.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Major is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Mindset Specialist. His therapeutic approach combines psychotherapy and clinical hypnotherapy techniques, based on the latest research from neuroscience. Through one to one sessions, workshops and talks, he helps clients overcome the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression which may have been holding them back, so they can lead more fulfilling lives and careers.

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