DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
FEAR OF SUCCESS
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2007
Zooming along the fast track? Just about to make it big, then do something dumb to blow it? May be the fear of success at work. This fear causes people to sabotage success within reach, and is a very common phenomenon. You may worry about how prospective opportunities will change your life and this can cause you to remain in safe harbor rather than forge ahead. Take a look at what may be making you nervous. Are you afraid that becoming even more successful will mean:
Many people shrink from taking that next big step in their career because they intuitively fear that they’ll be saddled with a lot more work. They’re usually right about this. While there certainly are more perks and privileges associated with life at the top, these are not given to you for free and typically you’ll earn every bit of them. But rather than sabotage your success, brace yourself, take a deep breath, and get ready to take the challenges on. Yes, the new position will move you out of your comfort zone and probably will ratchet up your stress level, but you’ll learn how to deal with this. And you’ll have plenty of company. Lots of other folks have to figure out just how to handle all the new expectations they are encountering. Trust yourself. You can learn too.
When you’re the boss, the buck stops with you. Along with all the decisions and increased authority comes more scrutiny, critique and criticism. The higher you go, the more you can expect to live in the fishbowl – subject to close examination by your staff as well as the public. And, yes, expect your also-rans, competitors, and other rivals to take pleasure in watching you mess up. But learn to accept that this just goes with the territory. Critiques of your performance can’t be avoided, but you must put more energy into minimizing faux pas, mistakes and blunders.
You may resist making that next career move because you are aware that with it you will have greater span of control and power. Many are not comfortable with this. You may unwittingly prevent your ascension because of ambivalence about becoming one of “them” who has the power to hire and fire, to decide what expenses the business can or can’t afford, or to get so much attention for all the wonderful things the company is known for in the community, in the country, or even in the world. Wow! That’s heady stuff and can cause you to sweat a little about your ability to handle it all. But chill. You can do this. Just remind yourself how you got this far and restore your sense of self-confidence. Yes, this means you must play the part of the “heavy” many times and make the tough decisions. It means that people will not always like you but once you accept that this is not the purpose of your job, you’ll learn to live through it.
The fear of success will hold you back and keep you from realizing your dreams. Fight it vigorously. Though this fear operates rather unconsciously, try hard to become aware of your worries so that you can take hold of them and nip them in the bud. Replace them with positive thinking and a clear view of yourself mastering any challenges because negative expectations only breed negative outcomes. Pursue the opportunities that are available to you and watch your success soar!
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at https://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
Reprint Policy: You are welcome to reprint this article for your personal use and to share with friends and associates.
Contact Dr. Webster to obtain permission for any commercial purposes.