The Paradox of Fear of Success: Why We Hold Ourselves Back?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

–Marianne Williamson

I‘m a big fan of Marianne Williamson. She embodies spirituality, intelligence, and integrity with everything she says and does. Though I must admit, another reason I feel close to her is sharing the same last name with her. 😁

She states the above quote in her book A Return to Love. And she continues by saying, “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I wonder what reading this makes you feel. For instance, does it resonate with you? Are you your biggest saboteur? Do you question your abilities? Let’s cut to the chase. Are you afraid of success?

Ways to Recognize the Fear of Success

A big challenge in recognizing the fear of success one often experiences is having difficulty detecting it. You may have a sense that something is off, but you cannot put your finger on what’s wrong. If that’s you, you might look for a few common symptoms in yourself. Like one -or more- of these:

  • Worrying that your big break will come, and when it does, you’ll not be able to deliver.
  • Fearing that success will turn you into something you don’t want to be.
  • Creating beautiful, detailed business and marketing plans while not acting on any tasks that will help them materialize.
  • Thinking that if you become successful, it’ll be too much pressure and too much work.
  • Starting and making it halfway through your plans, and then not showing up at a key moment because you hit the terror barrier.
  • Doubting yourself and believing that you are not good enough to sustain success.

Success is an island far away that you can see on the horizon. You keep telling yourself that you want to go there, but when it comes to jumping in the boat and starting to paddle, in other words, when things get serious, you withdraw.

Let’s say it’s the case… Then what?

People don’t fear becoming successful; they fear the results and consequences of success. They worry about the ways success might change their lives and put them outside their comfort zone.

But getting clear on what you want and working with a coach or mentor could help you explore how that would look. Also, regularly reminding yourself of your genius improves your self-confidence and self-belief.

You already have everything you need to succeed. You’re just not tapping into your capabilities. Connect with your inner self and choose to start. Then, keep moving toward the goals that scare you.

Even if you don’t succeed at your first attempt, you will grow along the way and come back stronger for the second one.


Ipek Williamson
Ipek Williamson
The knowledge and wisdom, that I’ve accumulated, transformed me into; an Insight Coach, a Blogger, and an Active “Listener” with an ear for anyone who needs to be heard, passion to help, anyone, and any relationship that needs healing and improvement. Especially the relationship with ones’ self. The person that I am today is also the product of my 20 years of experience as an Executive Assistant for the top managers of several companies. I am the culmination of life experiences as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and colleague. I am also an avid reader and a lifelong learner. Life takes us to places that we don’t expect to end up, but always with a purpose. Last few years, I have made my goal to make my life better, to become happier and healthier. That goal triggered a desire to learn and share anything and everything that helps to make others happy too. Life is beautiful, and we all deserve to live it to the fullest, that’s why I’m here, to touch the lives of as many people as possible, one beautiful soul at a time, and help them to become the best version of themselves

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