Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Insidious Fear of Success

 I think one of the most insidious fears that we face is that of success. It hides beneath the surface and quietly undermines our progress. It hides from us and masks itself behind other fears – ones that make sense.


We derail and subtly undermine ourselves on our journey and blame our fear of failure, or our fear of public speaking. But really, it is our fear of success that make us turn into our own worst enemy sometimes. This is the fear that imperceptibly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why fear success?

We want some great big dream to fill our lives. We have worked and worked to reach the goal with baby steps over many years. Why would we fear success?

Think about it a moment.

We may not be happy and content in our current situation. But we know what to expect out of our days. We may not make a ton of money, but we know how to get by. We may be virtually unknown outside of our immediate family, but we are not lacking for companionship.

If we achieve the Big Dream, evething could change. Every aspect of our daily life can be different. On the surface that seems like the plan all along, right? But take a moment to look underneath. If we won the lottery, or became the CEO, or got the part in that new TV show, or won American Idol… What would change?dali5

Would our family and friends treat us the same way? Is that what we want? Will we lose our privacy? Will we become victims of paparazzi, unable to grocery shop in sweat pants for fear of having our picture plastered across the tabloid covers? Will our stress levels rise with our new responsibilities? Will we still be able to do things we enjoy?

We may be yelling, yes, yes, yes! Bring it on! I am ready.

But we may be subconsciously dragging our heels because we don’t know how our lives will change if we do succeed. We are scared of losing what we have, which may not be perfect, but is comfortable and known.

Will people look at us differently? Treat us differently? What if we succeed and go on to lose that success and everything we have worked toward? Oh- yes, fear of failure is fear of success’s BFF. They walk hand in hand and always have each others’ backs.

If you have done everything you possibly can to achieve your goals, and are finding that you are no further ahead, ask yourself if you are afraid of success. I think many of us are to some extent. It takes a brave and self-assured person to run toward major life changes with open arms.



  1. I think some of us are worried we may not be up to the challenges we will face in our lives if we attain what we perceive as success.

    • I totally agree! it all comes down to how our world will change if we become successful and if we are up to those challenges. One of my greatest fears is that I will actually succeed at this writing thing and have to speak in public. Despite loving the stage and spotlight in high school, I no longer crave having a light shining in my eyes as I try to wow an audience. 🙂 (of course, if I do become the level of published author who is asked to speak to a crowd of even ten people, I will try to embrace the experience!) 🙂


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