Fear of Success

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Feb 25

I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. What often separates the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones is something I call, “fear of success.”

It’s not easy to understand, but it’s a very real phenomenon, at least in my experience. 

I used it in a novel I wrote (Jenna’s Story). Here’s an excerpt for you to read that may help to explain this condition.

“It’s a psychological condition known as ‘fear of
success,’ Paco,” Nate says.

“Is that the same as fear of failure, Mr Rebich?” another
member of the group asks.

“No, not at all. It’s a more pernicious effect, and it’s
very widespread. It’s counter intuitive and seemingly illogical. Here’s how it

A guy says to himself, “I won’t really work too hard on
this project just in case it fails.”

Then the project fails.

Next he says, “The real reason I wasn’t successful was because
I actually didn’t work that hard at it.”

Finally, he adds, “But if I had worked hard at it, I would
have been successful.“

Ergo, his ego is protected.

“This approach guarantees that: a) his ego is insulated from
harm and b) his project will fail.
Since it must result in failure, it must be that, logically, he sought failure
not success. Therefore, he must have been more afraid of success than failure.

“It’s not logical for people to behave in this way, it
just happens to be true in many instances. Markets and people aren’t
necessarily logical. 

Understanding this about yourself—acquiring some self-knowledge
as well as a greater understanding of others are very important in trying to
become more successful and a wiser person.

“Bottom line? Just make sure this fear of success thing
doesn’t infect your thinking.”

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.