Fear of Success

Last week a Captain asked me about how to deal with Fear of Success.

First: What is it? Once you've identified what you're really afraid of (hint: it's probably not “success”), how do you overcome it? That's what we'll cover today.

In my experience working with creatives, what looks like “fear of success” is usually a fear of something else:

  • Fear that you need to have the kind of “success” other people want … which doesn't appeal to you at all.
  • Fear that you'll change into something you don't like
  • Fear of being seen, noticed, paid attention to
  • Fear of being overwhelmed
  • Fear of disappointing others (when you're so overwhelmed you can't fulfill expectations)
  • Fear you can't handle it
  • Fear of being “found out” for being not good enough (ie, Imposter syndrome)

What are you really afraid of?

We'll discuss these fears and how to create the kind of business success you want, even while feeling the fear.


How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



5 Comments on Fear of Success {PODCAST}

  1. KrisWithaK
    September 3, 2014 at 11:44 am (8 years ago)

    Impostor syndrome is such a thing! I talked about it this week too – the fact that we have such a hard time admitting, with pride, that we are experts in some way.

    What the heck, right? Just admit you’re awesome! 😉

    I get the fear thing too though. I have fears that I will disappoint someone, and it causes me to procrastinate and sort of give myself the old self-fulfilling prophecy scenario. That is today’s fight 🙂


  2. Ginger Morgan
    September 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm (8 years ago)

    Loved the podcast! What I deal with is the someone else’s fear that I will be successful and that he “won’t be needed” – sigh! What I cannot deal with is he says my items are great, yet interrupts my creation time, my marketing time, any time I am working on my projects. If he needs my assistance on his jobs (on-call contracting handyman), I become an on-call employee (since slaves can be sold – very, very small joke there). He has a fear of getting too big, since its hard to find good workers in this area willing or able to do part-time, on-call work that will show up when asked.

  3. Tara Swiger
    September 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm (8 years ago)

    Again today I talked a client through “fear people won’t think I’m good enough”…and it’s keeping her from doing what she reallllly wants to do. You gotta just put it out there!


  4. Tara Swiger
    September 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm (8 years ago)

    What you describe here is so common with spouses just not getting it. It’s frustrating! But it sounds like you’d appreciate some boundaries around your work and time. Remember: you’re the one who it matters to, so you’re the one who will need to set them and maintain them (with love!)
    You might find this helpful: https://taraswiger.com/get-your-family-spouse-to-support-your-business/ And when you’re trying to figure out what YOU can do about it (since we know you can’t change him!), maybe this will help: https://taraswiger.com/podcast15/

  5. Maša Nikolov
    September 12, 2014 at 3:44 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you so much for sharing your story behind the fear of being seen. Now I can better understand why I felt so insecure and was afraid of starting a biz – it was just that I was dealing with many of the biggest life struggles in a short amount of time. But I felt just like everyone can deal with life normally, except myself. 🙂 I wish more people would share personal stories of this kind so we wouldn’t feel so alone and weird anymore! 🙂 I found myself in some of the other fears too.
    I’ve just found your podcast on Stitcher and I love it. So helpful and interesting! And this episode is one of the best I’ve ever listened to. I really hope you won’t quit like some of my favorite podcasters did. The podcasting world needs more people like you!

    BTW, I don’t usually comment on podcasts, but you really touched my heart today. Have a nice weekend!