How to Overcome the Fear of Success

How to Overcome the Fear of Success

May 16, 2022

We talk so much about the fear of failure, but what about the fear of success? How do we cope with that?

The fear of success is the fear of struggles that will come once you are successful. Maybe you won't be talented enough to keep up with the demand of your audience. Maybe you'll embarrass yourself as a public figure. Maybe success will ruin your life and take away your freedom.

According to Healthline, people who fear success may self-sabotage themselves. Just as the fear of failure holds you back, so does the fear of success.

So how do you undo this fear? How do you face it?



I won't give you some garbage about facing your fear. Why? Because fear is much smarter than any of us. You can face Fear, but it will beat you down eventually because Fear has more experience at being Fear than you have at defeating Fear.

Instead, learn how to accept Fear for what it is. It's a mechanism to keep you out of danger. That's a great thing! The problem is when we put Fear in front of us instead of beside us. The problem is when we let Fear call the shots instead of treating Fear for what it is: a consultant.

So instead, listen to what your fear is trying to tell you, and prepare.

One of my biggest fears is becoming a poor role model and leader if I ever become wildly successful. Instead of submitting to this fear and hiding in a corner hoping no one finds out what a wrecked person I am, I decided to take philosophy classes, practice public speaking, and read books on leadership. This is my preparation to become a better role model and leader.

Are you afraid you'll have to speak at events? Record yourself speaking and analyze your speech. Are you afraid you'll lose your friends if you get famous? Decide what kind of friends you really want, and what friends you don't want as you pursue your gifts. Are you afraid you're not talented enough to be a professional? Take classes, find a mentor, and practice practice practice.



Life is not a pass or fail class. Success and failure work together. You may write a book that doesn't sell, but that book might have taught you a lot about pacing and point of view. You may make ten of the ugliest TikToks/Reels in the universe, but you learned how to make them. You may have failed your marketing campaign, but you learned more about your audience.

Success and failure come together. You can't separate them. Where you succeed, you will also fail. Where you fail, you will also succeed. It's not pass or fail. It's give and take.



Your biggest task as an artist is deciding what "success" means.

My definition of success used to be connected to numbers - numbers of followers, numbers of books, numbers of dollars coming in. The more I thought about it, the more success stressed me out.

So I changed my definition to something that I loved.

My definition of success now is having the time and ability to create on a regular basis. I'm not giving the bulk of my time to other people, to things I hate doing, or to useless things. That's more important than money and fame for me. (Although I would like those, of course!) If my time is mine, I'm successful.

And so once I changed my definition of success to something I loved, I wasn't afraid of success anymore.

Redefine success until you aren't scared of it anymore.



There is no such thing as a fearless artist. Whenever you create, you're vulnerable. You're expressing yourself at your core. You're going to say things that anger, upset, and irritate a lot of people.

But on the other hand, you're going to create things that move, inspire, entertain, and heal a lot of people, including yourself.

Fear is part of creation. Don't run from it.


Do you have a fear of success? What scares you the most about being successful? Comment below!

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