At first blush, your response may be, “Of course not.”
In all seriousness, don’t we all yearn for something better in one area of our lives or another? A nicer car. A bigger home. Less credit card debt. Or perhaps you measure success in a manner that isn’t quantifiable with numbers—you might want more freedom regarding your personal time, or maybe you desire more fulfilling relationships.
Whatever tickles your fancy, the bottom line is this: You want success, and you certainly don’t fear getting it, right?
Caroline Castrillon, a Forbes magazine contributor whose area of expertise centers on career and entrepreneurship, begs to differ.
“Fear of success may not sound like a legitimate concern to some, yet, to many people, it is a very real barrier to achievement,” Castrillon says. “But surprisingly, it’s not the wealth or accomplishment that is so scary. Instead, the fear centers on what success might ultimately cost. Whether the concern revolves around losing friends or privacy, [there are several reasons why] people have a fear of success.”
Castrillon sites fear of losing oneself (the prospect of money inflating one’s ego), fear of criticism (the notion that we’ll be rejected if we put ourselves out there in any way), and fear of change (as humans, we thrive on routine, and we tend to fear anything unknown) as valid reasons why we can inadvertently intercept our own success.
But here’s the good news, according to Castrillon: “Fear of success isn’t insurmountable,” she says. “The key is to understand its origin and work through your emotions. That way, it won’t hold you back from getting what you really want.”
And if squashing fear is something you have in your crosshairs, then Mel Robbins is your gal.
You may have already heard of Robbins. Her TEDx Talk, “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over,” has amassed over 30 million views on YouTube, and her books, The 5 Second Rule and The High 5 Habit, have made her a best-selling author.
Robbins’ goal is to make us realize our potential, and she has five relatively simple ways to get us started:
Change your passwords to an affirmation
Now, this one is fairly effortless and involves modifying your password to an empowering phase. It could be something like IAMamazing!, ICANdothis, or IwillREACHmyGOALS—anything that makes you feel good. This may feel odd at first, especially if you haven’t made a practice of reciting affirmations. But don’t let that stop you. Besides, passwords aren’t something you share, so you don’t have to worry about how others will perceive your choices. The only thing that matters is what sounds good to you.
Wear your favorite outfit—even
if you’re not leaving the house
It’s like a law of the universe or something: Thou shall feel like a million bucks upon leaving the salon. I’m joking. But, also, not really. It’s nothing short of amazing how good we feel when we have a positive self-image. The same can be said for wearing nice clothes—be it a dress suit or fancy PJs. It can be an instant mood booster. And why should that kind of good mojo only be reserved for when we’re in front of others?
Sign up for a class you’ve
been hesitant to take
Pilates, creative writing, or woodshop, anyone? If we turn inward and really examine our interests, there’s usually something we’re curious about exploring but for some reason haven’t. It doesn’t matter what it is; what matters most is jumping in and trying it.
Plan something cool
to do this year
This tip doesn’t even warrant further explanation. Whether you plan a quick, inexpensive getaway or come up with a new project, the point is to give yourself something to look forward to. That joy has a way of seeping into other areas of our lives. It helps our self-confidence grow legs.
Try a wellness app like
Headspace, Calm or BetterHelp
These convenient apps are an easy, helpful way to add awareness, intention, and even purpose to your day. And the fee to download them is nominal—we tend to spend more on things that have little to no positive impact on our lives.
The objective with all the above is to become comfortable with allowing our interests to prompt us to branch out of our comfort zone. One affirmation at a time. One outfit at a time. One class at a time. One activity at a time.
Let this be the year to go for it.
Courtney Conover is wife, mom, yoga instructor, and Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor who has called Wayne home since 1995.