Too many of us have had the idea that people who are in the top 1% of income earners have gotten there because they lie, cheat, steal and step on other people. This is just another false generalization and stereotype. Sure there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but this assumption that super wealthy are evil is holding many of you back from your own financial success.

We’re all familiar with the fear of failure, but we don’t talk enough about the fear of success. How do we figure out if we have this fear of success?

If you…

  • procrastinate, work slowly, hesitantly, or not at all
  • are quick to respond to social media notifications or other people’s needs and emergencies
  • make detailed plans and strategies, but never follow through on them
  • don’t complete projects that you’ve started
  • still have the same things on your vision board that were there five years ago
  • work on multiple projects at once and can’t focus deeply on one

There are also underlying fears that lead to the fear of success.

1. Fear of Selling Out

You believe that if you reach a high level of success that you will be leaving your friends and family behind. You fear hearing the phrases like “you forgot where you came from”, “you’re a sell out”, “you’ve changed”, or “I don’t even know you anymore.”

  • Truth: There will always be people who will trying to pull you back down to their level, because they realized they have no excuse for making it too. You came from the same circumstances and situation that they did, yet they’re still in the same position.
  • Action: Focus not only on your new standard of living, but also who you are a role model for.

2. Fear of the Spotlight

With a certain level of success comes a new level of notoriety and recognition. You fear that people who disagree with you and the internet trolls will come out of the woodwork to say nasty things about you.

  • Truth: It’s easier to blend in. It’s easier to not rock the boat or stand out. It’s easy to just do what everyone else is doing.
  • Action: Focus on the praise and positive feedback. You don’t need everyone’s opinions — that’s why they’re only worth “two cents.”

3. Fear of Change

You don’t want things to change, because you are comfortable with the way things are. You don’t want to enter uncharted territory. You enjoy the familiarity of life and your current routine.

  • Truth: Change is a part of life. Nothing will stay the same forever. If you aren’t growing, then you’re dying.
  • Action: Embrace the process and the challenges that life has to offer. Think of every obstacle as a way the universe is trying to spice up your life’s story. Your story is what will inspire others to live a better life.

4. Fear of Appearing Selfish or Greedy

If you are familiar with any of these phrases, you might have had these negative connotations about successful people planted in your subconscious: “rich people are greedy”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “money is the root of all evil”, “successful people are loud and snobby”. We’ve seen it a hundred times in movies where the bad guy is some CEO of a corporation who is out to rip off the poor and make everyone else’s lives miserable.

We have this false belief where if we pursue success at a high level, that we will become this selfish or arrogant person that thinks they are better than everyone else.

  • Truth: Success will only amplify the person you already are. If you are a jerk, then you will be an even bigger jerk. If you are a giver, then you will be an even bigger giver. Plus, I’ve met more generous CEOs than the greedy CEOs that are portrayed in movies and the media.
  • Action: Self-assess what false ideas of been planted in your brain and how they got there. Usually it’s your peers or your parents that have thought you these things. Work on elevating your circle of influence to shift your perspective of successful people. You’ll realize that they are not very different from you.

Some final thoughts on pushing past this fear of success:

  • You must have a CLEAR vision of what success means to you. Will you hit a certain monetary goal? Will you help a certain number of people? Are there smaller successes along the way you can set to get to your big success?
  • Figure out what you need to let go of. This includes people that are holding you back and your self-limiting beliefs.
  • Understand that you will not be able to please everyone. There will always be someone that disagrees with you.
  • It’s time for you to take FULL responsibility for whether or not you achieve success.