What is Fear of Success and How Can You Beat It?

Andrew Macrae
6 min readApr 21, 2020
Photo by Adrianna Van Groningen on Unsplash

Here are some of the signs fear of success might be leading you to self-sabotage and stopping you from living your best life.

But wait, that sounds crazy, right?

Why would anyone be afraid of something positive, something that outwardly they profess to want?

Intuitively, everyone wants to be successful, don’t they?

You want to have enough money to take care of yourself, your family and your community. You want to do meaningful work, and for people to respect you for your contribution to the world.

If you’re working in a professional space, you want to be asked for interviews, to speak on podcasts and to be invited as a keynote speaker. You want a big mailing list, a fanbase, a readership, an audience, a body of work that sells.

What’s scary about that?

Well, if you’re wired in a certain way, it turns out there’s plenty to be afraid of in the scenario I just outlined.

But before we look at what drives fear of success, let’s unpack the concept of self-sabotage and then fear of failure — which is a much more logical fear.

What is self-sabotage?

Some of the signs of self-sabotage include:

  • finding yourself regularly making apologies and excuses
  • procrastinating so much on projects and assignments that you end up missing the deadline
  • being late for important meetings because you didn’t leave enough time to get ready
  • finding yourself staying out too late, even though you know you’ve got to get up early in the morning to do work that will benefit you
  • beating yourself up after a conversation with someone you admire because you’ve said something dumb or inappropriate.

These behaviors could be part of a bigger pattern of self-sabotage or self-defeating behavior in your life.

This unconscious process arises as a self-inflicted distraction from the things you need to be concentrating on. It’s your unconscious mind stepping in to try and shield you from something, but causing untold damage in the…

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Andrew Macrae

Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me https://tinyletter.com/Andrew_Macrae