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Breaking through a fear of success

Breaking through a fear of success



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Do you procrastinate? Are you busy but not productive? Do you start projects but drop the ball before they’re done? Do you feel like something is holding you back from success — and that something might be you?

You may be experiencing a fear of success.

It sounds illogical, but you may be afraid of achieving more or shooting high because you lack confidence in your abilities long term. You might be afraid of the responsibilities and commitments that come with success and not want the pressure.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?" -Marianne Williamson

There was an experiment done years ago, where jumping frogs were placed in jars with lids. Though they had plenty of food and water, the frogs still tried to escape. They jumped and jumped, banging their heads on the lids again and again. This went on for 30 days, and then the lids were removed. But the frogs no longer jumped because they didn’t believe escape was possible. They had given up, even though freedom was one hop away.

Sometimes life knocks you down so often, you start to assume it will knock you down every time. You essentially give up trying because it’s not worth the effort. You may decide it’s safer to stay where you are.

The truth is, there is no lid on your jar! You can do more and handle more than you think you can. There are ways to get past fear and create the freedom and success you want.

Here are 10 steps for breaking through the fear of success:

  1. Recognize the benefits you are getting from failure. What do you get to avoid? Who does it punish? What does the self-pity get you? What are you afraid of losing if you succeed? Free time? Your excuse to be lazy?
  2. Let go of your weaknesses. Forgive yourself for perceived failures and start cultivating more mature feelings, such as courage, respect and self-respect.
  3. Tackle challenges in small doses — one step at a time. Raise the bar slowly. You can handle the next step. You’re ready for that. Take one small step today, and do the same tomorrow.
  4. Choose to focus on love. The law of energy says you can feel only one emotion at a time. If you choose to focus on love and serving others, it is impossible to feel fear. How can you make your work about giving to others, and not about you?
  5. Gain knowledge — knowledge eliminates fear. What skills would make you feel more confident? Sign up for a class to improve those skills. Marie Curie said “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that [you] may fear less.”
  6. Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. What are you good at? How can you use those abilities to the fullest?
  7. Accept failure as a part of success. Barbara Sher, the author of Wishcraft, said “If you try and fail, you won’t feel as bad as you think. You’ll gain experience, education, contacts and self-confidence.” Each failure moves you closer to success.
  8. Focus on the present. Fear is always about the future. Stay in the present and focus on what you can do today. Who do you want to be right now?
  9. Visualize yourself comfortably handling success. If you can’t see it, you can’t achieve it. Visualize yourself carrying responsibilities with ease and confidence.
  10. Believe that you have the power to make good things happen. Change will happen when you claim your potential and trust yourself.

Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

"You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine . . . and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It's time to get out of your jar. Jump!

Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the top 20 Advice Gurus in the country by Good Morning America. She is a popular speaker and life coach who resides in Bountiful.

Kimberly Sayer-Giles

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