Fear of Success?

Afraid to Succeed?

by Michael Riggs

“I mean, come on, get real. Afraid of success? That’s ridiculous. Why do you think I practice, and sacrifice, and train, and compete, anyway? To succeed!! I’ve always sought success. That is what drives me. Plus, look at all of my accomplishments… those certainly aren’t the result of a fear of success. Are they?”

At first take, it certainly seems like a strange concept, but maybe, just maybe there is something to the possibility of being afraid to succeed.

For example, success brings on heightened expectations. The spotlight isn’t shining on those in the middle of the pack. Or, consider the possibility that deep down you really aren’t sure if you have the resources to commit to all that it would take to succeed. Or, have you reconciled that being successful might cause you to act in ways that you aren’t comfortable or familiar. The paparazzi doesn’t stalk vanilla – they follow double cream strawberry moosetracks. Don’t be embarrassed to be afraid. Even Keaean Bradley, Padraig Harrington and Inbee Park have to face their fears from time to time. And you can, too.

Let’s take a little quiz.  Answer the following questions “Yes,” “No,” or “”Maybe.”

  • Are you unable to make a total commitment to being the best player you can be?
  • Do you have a pattern of injury or illness before a big round?
  • Does your training vary in quality and intensity?
  • Do you stay within your “comfort zone” in practice and competition?
  • Do you avoid things that will make you improve? For example, purchasing better equipment, investing in a better diet, or hiring e mental fitness coach.
  • Do you trade what you want the most (goals) for what you want right now (relief)?
  • Do you rationalize why it is O.K. to fall short of you goals?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions you may have a significant fear of success. But, what can you do about it? Here are some helpful tips.

Tip # 1            Look inside and choose to change. Take a long, hard look at your answers to the quiz and accept the fact that you have fear. Fear is a normal reaction to challenge and uncertainty. Commit to having the courage to work toward lessening the fear

Tip # 2            Require an excellent effort at all times. Don’t settle for less. This doesn’t mean you will always win, but, you will know that you gave it your best shot.

Tip # 3            See success. Whenever you think about competing do not allow yourself t see failure. Instead, replace the unsuccessful shot with a perfect one.

S² Tip

Face the fear. Don’t run and hide when you feel afraid. Face it head-on.

In Another’s Words

“Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poet