Last week I talked about the fear of being seen – why we might be afraid to be seen and how to push through that fear so that we can realise our dream of becoming a published author.
So, this week I wanted to talk about another fear that holds authors back and that is the fear of success.
Is it really a thing do you think? And more specifically, is it affecting you?
Let’s dive deeper into this topic and find out if the fear of success is actually holding you back.
Given the option, I think most people want to succeed, and under normal circumstances, I think we all aim to be our very best.
So it may or may not be surprising to you to know that while most people say they want to be successful, many people are actually afraid of success and some people don’t even know it.
Fear of success really isn’t a myth. It’s actually a very real problem and a lot of people don’t understand it even when they find themselves sabotaging their own success.
Self-sabotage is a subconscious program that affects authors’ success without them even knowing it’s happening, because many of their fears about success aren’t triggered until they begin to experience some level of success. Whether that is in their mind, or in reality.
Fear of success really is a thing, and it can be holding you back from the level of success you claim to want as a published author.
It’s different to the fear of being seen or even the fear of failure.
We explored the fear of being seen last week, and the fear of failure includes beating yourself up for not being ready, not getting it right, or missing the mark.
The fear of success on the other hand includes a whole lot of anxiety around being unable to manage the changes that will undoubtedly come with success.
There are a lot of reasons people fear success. Three of the most common include:
1. Imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is the belief that you aren’t as capable as you think others seem to think you are. The internal dialogue going on in your head makes you feel like you’re faking it and that you don’t really deserve the success you are manifesting.
The sense of being ‘found out’ can gnaw at your confidence and cause you to self-sabotage.
2. Fear of judgement
Many authors fear success because they worry they will be judged and that can cause them to push success away before they even have a chance to experience it.
Worrying about people’s perceptions and opinions can definitely influence your behaviour and keep you from being successful.
3. Fear of the unknown
One of the biggest and most common fears that sabotage an author’s success is the fear of not knowing what might happen. The thing is though, anything could happen.
A debilitating fear of the unknown is often tied to mindset and our emotional set point. People who have a tendency to worry often focus on the potential roadblocks on the way to success rather than all of the opportunities.
“I’ve faced lots of worries in my life, most of which never actually came to pass.”
― Mark Twain
A lot of people fear success and don’t even know it and that’s simply because they don’t recognise the symptoms.
Some behaviours might seem unrelated to the fear of success and might show up in strange ways, but ultimately they will be getting in the way of our success.
Is it Normal to Fear Success?
It’s certainly normal to fear the unknown. There’s no one way and no clear direction to success so unexpected things are bound to happen along the way.
I guess the trick here would be to see any obstacles as opportunities to grow and change which makes the success even more meaningful and richer, rather than worrying about what could go wrong and letting that rob you of what could go right.
Knowing that fear of success really is a thing, and that it can prevent great people from reaching their full potential, what can we do to minimise it’s affect?
I guess the first thing would be to acknowledge it. Name it and identify where and how it is holding us back.
How Do I know if I am Fearful of Success?
You may not notice you’re fearful of success until you start seeing a pattern of interruptions and behaviours that seemingly get in your way of moving forward with ease.
It may be as simple as you start to feel uneasy taking certain steps towards your goal. Fear can make you feel uncomfortable and some fear is normal when you’re heading into new territory.
Sign #1: You worry about your ability to manage everything.
A fear that it will be too hard, too time consuming, or too complicated prevents many authors from taking the next step towards success.
Not only can writing a book feel overwhelming and difficult, there are the responsibilities and expectations that will need to be managed once the book is published.
Adopting a solution-focused mindset will help you stay open to being successful.
Sign #2. You worry about what people will think.
Worrying about the potentially wide variety of reactions from people you know can make it hard to move forward.
Trust me when I say that when you become published, you will be very surprised at the responses you get, as well as the responses you don’t get, from the people around you.
Remember, you can’t please all the people all the time. And you won’t. Are you going to let that stop you from achieving something that really matters to you?
Ultimately, being true to yourself and focusing on what you think matters most is what you need to be focusing on.
Sign #3. You avoid the spotlight.
We talked about the fear of being seen last week so if you notice you are avoiding the spotlight then maybe this is a thing for you.
Lots of authors are in fact introverts and it is natural for them to want to stay out of the spotlight. But if you are letting your fear and discomfort stop you from achieving your goal of becoming published then this is a good sign that it’s a problem for you. And you need strategies in place to help you push through this.
Working towards success requires an emotional maturity and a willingness to be vulnerable. It may feel awkward or scary to begin with, but your exposure can be managed and doesn’t have to happen all at once.
Take everything one step at a time and don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed.
Fear of success really is not unusual. But don’t let it stop you from being all you can be.
If you are here to deliver a message to the world, then dig deep and find the courage to do it. Take a leap of faith and trust that everything will fall into place for you.
That’s it from me for this week. I hope this will help you to keep going when it gets uncomfortable.
You might like to check out some of my videos on my new YouTube channel. It’s called Disruptive Publishing of course.
And you can go to disruptivepublishing.com.au/jointheclub if you would like to know how to join the Authorpreneur’s Bootcamp.
That’s where we show authors how to write, publish and promote their books and we’d love to have you join us.
Have a great week and I will see you again soon.
Bye for now.