Unconscious Fear of Success Can Sabotage Your Future – Insights from the Wilderness #58

Click here to listen to Dick read this NuggetIt’s hard to believe, but the fear of success is what keeps most of us from realizing our dreams. This sounds crazy when we first think about it. After all, we all want to be successful…. don’t we?

The answer for most of us is “not really”. We really don’t.

Think about it.

If we were really as successful as most of us would “like” to be, it could mean that we would have to deal with significant change in our lives. For example, we might have to go back for more schooling, change jobs, move to a different city, change the way we live our lives, or miss the next episode of our favorite TV show.

Fear of SuccessSuccess would bring change, and our primitive ego does not like change. Change makes the world unpredictable and dangerous.

Even more frightening for most of us would be the possibility that others could begin to have greater expectations of us. They would expect us to be knowledgeable and competent.

We might even be asked to speak before a large audience…..or be interviewed on a national television show.

These possibilities transform the normally quiet voice of our shaky self-esteem into major anxiety when we think about speaking before an audience. It strikes terror in the minds of many of us.

So how can we overcome our fear of success and begin moving toward the life we have been dreaming about?

First, we need to remind ourselves that our fear of change and our shaky self-esteem doubts and lack of confidence are coming from the primitive ego of our unconscious inner-child. This on-going, never-ending, inner dialogue is simply our inner-child psyche attempting to take care of us.
“Don’t do that…it’s too dangerous. Don’t even think about that…..you can’t do it anyway.”

Secondly, to embrace success, without having these fears from childhood unconsciously sabotaging our dreams, we have to learn to talk to our inner-child using a nurturing and positive self-talk.

The skill of talking to our inner-child begins by learning to pay attention to how the child inside of us is feeling, and then addressing those feelings.

It’s common for most of us to use a form of self-talk that sounds a lot like the inner-child again…..”being frightened is stupid. Success isn’t that scary. It’s no big deal. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Other people are successful without being so scared, there must be something wrong with me. I can’t do it anyways, so why try. It’s too hard.”

Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry about it. You have a lot of company. Self-defeating, negative self-talk, is common. The trick is to move into the true “adult” part of you.

Instead of unconsciously using this negative self-talk, try thinking of your inner-child as a frightened six or seven year old who needs to be comforted by the adult part of your consciousness.

Use words that are caring, loving, and nurturing. Words that name the feelings that your inner-child is struggling to manage. When you are talking to your inner-child, picture yourself giving your inner-child a hug while you are talking to him or her.

When you are aware that feelings of fear and self-doubt from your inner-child are beginning to take over or undermine your dreams, it is very important that your self-talk be done out loud as much as possible. Over time, your inner-child will begin to trust that you understand him or her, and the fears and doubts will begin to diminish.

And lastly, remember, our mind can only focus on one thought at a time. So it’s important that our self-talk be positive and affirming. It is very difficult for our mind to focus on fear and self-doubt when our “inner voice” is focused on positive thoughts.

This skill of talking out loud in a loving way to the inner-child can be difficult for some people. This is especially so for men. If talking out loud in a loving voice to your inner-child is uncomfortable when other people are nearby, then practice the skill when you are alone.

If it’s still uncomfortable, even when you’re alone, I would encourage you to just “suck it up and do it anyways.” Despite the common fear that loving your inner-child will somehow turn you into a girl……just know that won’t happen.

Not only will the little boy inside you love you for having the courage to protect and care for him, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish when he is less afraid, and working “with” you to realize your dreams.

Positive self-talk is an effective “success” habit to develop for all of us.

Every parent knows that ignoring children when they are frightened only causes them to become very loud and demanding. Children that are loved and comforted when they are frightened quickly return to their play.
Happy children love to dream. This is especially true of our inner-child psyche.

When our goal in life is success, we need the creative energy of our inner-child working with us, not against us.


How is your inner child slowing you down? Please comment below.

Suggested Reading this week

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, reveals secrets to success with 64 timeless principles in The Success Principles. His words of wisdom on how to transform your life, how to take responsibility, are what everyone needs to have a happy and successful life.


2 Responses to Unconscious Fear of Success Can Sabotage Your Future – Insights from the Wilderness #58

  1. Imkelina August 11, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Hello Dick –

    I am finding that the nurturing conversations I have with my inner child / inner self are having a positive effect every day. I have developed the habit of starting and ending the day with gratitude statements and affirmations. More recently, I have also been setting an intention for my own “projection” into the world and then I review that at the end of the day.

    Where I sometimes get tripped up is in keeping my awareness each moment so that when I slip into reaction mode, I am able to have that inner conversation right then and there. This happens mostly when I am in hectic environments, or when a lot of things are thrown at me. Any suggestions on how to be more present in these situations??

    • DickRauscher August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Imkelina,
      I like your concept of “projecting” your intentions into the world. Intentionality is the key to all growth….psychologically and spiritually.
      As to your question on how to be more present in hectic environments, I would just keep doing what you’re doing. As we practice being self-aware and present in whatever environment we find ourselves in, our ability to stay awake increases….it becomes a habit…..ie. who we are.
      Thanks for sharing those ideas with us….they are helpful!

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