The Fear of Success

By: Callie Durbrow

Success, it’s a weird thing. We all want it, but we’re all kind of terrified of it at the same time. Usually that terrified aspect is hidden a little deeper in our subconscious mind.

I was recently reading a book about this very topic and it’s fascinating how much it stands true, particularly in the areas that I work with every day.

The first area is in the training business. Whether you want to call it weight loss, fat loss, performance training, it doesn’t really matter. So many of our training family have different goals but often the “hang up” is the same once they reach a certain point. (more on this later)

The second area is yours truly. Obviously I own my own business and if I’m being completely candid and honest, I experience the fear of success on a daily basis.

So, this post is not coming from a regurgitation of what I’ve been reading and what I’ve been working on with my mentors (more on this in another post as well). This is stuff that I experience daily and I also see with our training family clients as they approach success in their goals.

Why is success scary?

I think it comes down to three big reasons:

1. Fear of the unknown

2. More personal responsibility

3. There’s no one else to “blame”

Fearing the unknown is pretty scary. I’ve seen it with myself when I make different decisions about the business. I’ve never been down this path before so it’s obviously scaring the crap out of me. The “easier” and more comfortable way is to just stay where I am because as soon as I open that door, there could be a big scary monster.

Or, there could be something really awesome and amazing. But our brains are wired to protect us, so that big scary monster is the first thing that we think of.

Do you know someone (or are you that someone) that has lost a lot of weight and totally transformed their body?

But they (or you) still has some head garbage going on?

That’s often what happens when people hit a plateau or even slide back to old ways after they lose weight. The fear of the unknown and the subconscious “pull” of the safe, easy and comfortable path is so strong that we can’t see all the amazingness that’s on the other side of the door past the big scary (invisible) monster.

With all of that also comes more personal responsibility. Once I get to this point in my life, my body, my business, whatever….can I sustain it?

It’s a lot harder to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. You have to change your lifestyle, eat different foods every day, not just for 60 days. You have to sleep more, train harder, say no to lots of bad foods.

Sounds tough right?

It is. There’s a lot of personal responsibility on you. That’s not to say you can NEVER eat ice cream or drink wine again. You can, you just have to be strategic about it.

Do you want to be successful if those are the things you need to focus on every day? Or is it easier and less responsibility on you to just say screw it and stay on the couch eating ice cream?

It’s not for me to decide, but once you step up, you have to accept that responsibility.

The last point is there’s no one else to blame. This is pretty self-explanatory. A lot of “non-successes” then lead to blame.

I didn’t lose weight because….

  • my boss keeps me at work too late and I can’t get to the gym
  • I have to drop my kids off at school and there’s no time in the morning
  • I can’t eat healthy at work
  • I have too many dinners with clients
  • I can’t give up drinking, my friends would pressure me

Well, you didn’t lose weight because it’s not your fault. It’s okay.

It’s not okay because you deserve better. But more to the point of today’s post, when you start to succeed, the blame trickles away. You did it on your own, you made the changes. Now there’s no looking back and saying “yeah but.”

Success is an amazing thing. You feel good, look good and your life changes. I’m not talking about strictly weight or fat loss, I’m talking about success in general.

Those three factors are some of the huge limitations for so many people. So many of us are not living up to our potential because of fear of success. It’s not even fear of failure, it’s success!

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

But think about what’s holding you back. Don’t be afraid of the success. It takes time to work through those three factors I mentioned above but you DESERVE IT.

Start looking at where you are now and where you want to be. Don’t let fear of success hold you back.