If someone asked you, “Are you afraid of success?” you might take offense. Of course not, you’d say. But if that is true, why do so many of us find ourselves afraid of trying something new? What holds us back? The flip side of fear of success may be the fear of failure. Or perhaps we are just looking for permission.
Before we make a big decision, we often test our idea out on friends or colleagues. We want to hear that what we have in mind is a good idea. But it pays to understand that the person we share our idea with could have reasons of their own for trying to dissuade us from taking action.
If you shared with a trusted fellow employee that you are sick of your job and want to quit, that person might feel you are abandoning them in addition to quitting your job. The same thing could happen if you shared with a close friend that you want to move to another state. That friend might be hard-pressed to offer blessings since it means losing you in the bargain.
Less than a decade ago, an economist and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt decided to dig deeper into what might happen when people make a major life change based on random chance. In his experiment, it was flipping a virtual coin. Tails, keep your life the same. Heads, make that big change.
Most of the people who participated in his experiment were grappling with whether to quit their jobs. During that year, 20,000 virtual coins were flipped. Levitt followed up with each participant by email twice, once at two months and again at six months. He found that the individuals who made the big life change, based on the coin toss, were happier at the 2-month mark and even happier with their lives at the 6-month mark.
Seeking permission and support for a big life change may need to come from a more neutral party and through your own research, internal desires, and personal stamina, so as to withstand the naysayers.
Here are three ways to overcome an entrepreneurship fear of success and make a major change:
1. Continually tell yourself that you welcome challenges. Stand ready and willing to challenge yourself to your maximum capacity. Move forward in your communication by deleting all negative self-talk.
2. Believe that whatever you set out to accomplish, you will give it 100%. Believe that your “pride of accomplishment” motivates you to eliminate all the “shoulds,” “oughts,” and “musts,” from your vocabulary.
3. Be the best you can. Continually “see” yourself in an evolving way. Stretch every mental, emotional, and physical muscle within you. Believe and feel that you are one dynamite, ecstatic, and powerful person. Remember, you can give yourself permission to succeed, whatever you choose to do.
If you are looking to finally answer the question, “Should I Do This,” we should connect. Let’s talk about your goals, your dreams, and even your fears. The only thing on my agenda is you.