Do you have a fear of success?

Have you heard this famous saying: “If you’re not where you want to be in life it’s because of either of two things: A fear of failure or a fear of success.”

I must confess there was a time I thought a fear of success is a ‘good’ problem to have.


It sounds like you having the necessary talents and abilities to be wildly successful at whatever you want to be successful at but you just choose not to because “success can be lonely” and isn’t life better spent closer to the things and people you love?

It seemed like I had all the power to apply my talents as and when I wanted or at least at the ‘right time’ to get the results I wished for.

Life doesn’t work that way however, you quickly learn as you age.

Knowing what I know now I probably wouldn’t even blame myself for that line of thinking if I were to magically come across the past version of me.

In fact in a way I do. With my younger clients, I often see an aspect of expression of this flawed belief.

And what I can share with you is that ‘fear of success’ doesn’t at all look the way you would imagine it. If you do have it, chances are you won’t ever realize it unless you looked really really deep within. That’s because it’s quite often conditioned into our mentality unconsciously, and a mentality that may well be running through the family for generations.

Here’s what a ‘fear of success’ can actually look like:

  • Not developing your full potential because you fear doing that will render you lonely.
  • Not being able to fully ‘fit in’ to an ‘underdeveloped’ version of reality either because no matter what you do there’s a nagging feeling hanging at the back of your mind telling you that you deserve more.
  • Consciously avoiding life situations no matter how fulfilling they can be, because they push you to move beyond your ‘security paradigms’.

Many of these ‘security paradigms’ are actually inherited ideas of what is absolutely necessary to thrive in the material plane.

In some families that could be prioritizing income over happiness, in others it could be prioritizing relationships over career.

Different families have different values they pass on to each generation. However they also unconsciously pass on a lot of fears that stop us from becoming successful in our area of ‘calling’.

What do I mean by that?

Maybe having a happy family life is more important for your happiness than it was for any of the previous generations. Maybe traditionally, your family has been focused on wealth creation and financial security but you don’t find yourself drawn to that idea of ‘happiness’. It doesn’t fulfill you.

In order for you to achieve the idea of happiness as is important for yourself, you will need to grow a certain way, act a certain way and evolve a certain way. However, the biggest fear that you might unconsciously have here is the fear of losing your loved ones in this process of chasing your personal maxima.

Why wouldn’t you?

In the beginning you have no proof, no physical evidence that what you are aiming for is right and that you’re not making a big mistake.

This makes you very susceptible to absorbing the emotions and biases of your surroundings that sabotage you in ways you probably don’t even realize. This then causes you to undervalue your own knowing.

In fact, family conditioning is just one example.

This can happen in many different ways with many different scenarios.

Maybe you’re a scientist in a country that has traditionally never produced scientists or researchers. Maybe it’s considered a waste of time and energy.

Standing out and pursuing what you desire can be tough in these situations because you have to work to develop yourself ‘against the grain’ of the default nurturing received in the early years.

What is constantly stopping you from becoming the highest version of yourself to attain the happiness you truly seek will eventually also sabotage your peace in the life you are already living.

This happens to so many people. Doesn’t it?

You know you’re meant for something but there’s nothing in your environment or skill that proves to you that you can have it.

So you try all you can to make life work without it only to find yourself constantly unfulfilled.

“That’s fine. I can build a music career later in life after I have earned a lot of money” or “That’s fine, I will settle down and start a family after I have settled my career” etc.

Problem is, you can only talk yourself out of what you want for so long.

Ultimately the red glaring sign that “Something’s missing” begins to shine brighter and brighter in your life in the form of setbacks, failures, disagreements and conflicts.

When that happens you will want to force the outcome in the life you already don’t feel naturally drawn to even more.

If true happiness for you is starting a family and settling down in life but you keep moving cities to chase career growth, you’ll keep facing a lack of happiness in your career until you own up to your true desires.

This can manifest in the form of horrible bosses, toxic work environments, unstable monetary compensation etc.

But why?

That’s because you are unconsciously ‘stuck’ in a certain way of living life and are afraid of upsetting the status quo even if it makes you unhappy.

You’re just in a vibration of devaluing yourself and from that vibration you will only attract experiences, people and opportunities that reinforce the same.

Don’t we all know someone caught in a rut like this?

Maybe some of us are stuck in a vicious circle of this sort and are clueless why it keeps happening over and over again?

Maybe some of us have a family member like this.

Whatever it may be, the reality is that we are surrounded by individuals with massive talent but very little understanding of what they can create with that talent.

  • Individuals with gifts that they are not willing to put in the time and effort to develop.
  • Individuals who shy away from dedicating themselves to developing their talents fully and bringing them out to the world.
  • Individuals whose minds have been conditioned to believe that in order to have the massive success that they desire and even deserve.. they will have to give up all the other things that they probably don’t deserve but have been gifted by life.


A loving spouse, caring parents, genuine friends, devoted children, great home, fame, status, popularity, wealth..

the list of all the things we feel are too good for us but we are lucky to have is endless and varies from person to person.

Anyone stuck in the idea that in order to become the best version of themselves.. in order to have all that they want and deserve from life, they will have to sacrifice what they do have.. That they risk losing this for that.. is just engaging in self deception.

I mean, look at the reality of how life truly is in the 21st century, especially post the pandemic:

  • Isn’t everybody largely preoccupied healing themselves and minding their own business?
  • Isn’t everybody focused on firefighting their life situations and planning for their family’s security?
  • Aren’t the people who truly matter in your life the ones that have been with you through the lack and the struggle?
  • Wouldn’t you be able to better provide for these valuable people in your life if you could become more?

So what’s stopping you from becoming more and doing more?

What usually stops us from becoming more is the idea that if we wander off on that path we will fail the people who have done so much for us. That we may lose them in the process. That we may change and they may not be able to keep up.

Is there a guarantee however that you will not lose them if you decide to make peace with how things are and quietly go about your life paying your bills and fulfilling your responsibilities?

Is there?

No! There are no guarantees in life.

The only guarantee with this formula for ‘survival’ is that you will make everyone close to you feel what you’ve done and sacrificed for them and hold them hostage to how you let go of your dreams for them.

Probably not consciously but at a subconscious level, your mind will feel it and you will act it out.

Make no mistake, everyone has to fulfill their responsibilities first. Everyone has to provide for their families and their community.

But don’t you think the burden of unfulfilled potential compounds with each generation?

It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making or how successful you are in your career.

If there’s a faint voice that speaks to you telling you that you can do more, be more, and you have learnt with time to procrastinate that calling, to lower the volume.. you probably don’t realize the burden that this tradeoff is bringing forth for everyone who loves you to bear!

That’s because the ones that love you will love you any way.

I’m not saying go start gambling with your money because your devoted spouse will always love you and your parents will always try to provide for you!

I’m saying you need to understand that if you’ve gone through ups and downs in life and have still managed to keep a few people around you that do the best they can to be by your side, then these people will be by your side even if you failed.

But if you’re failing by not starting, if you’re failing by not committing to your highest calling in the first place because of fear..

A fear not of failure but a fear of losing the people and possessions dear to you..

and you’re doing this with complete knowledge of how much you need to do be who you need to be..

then you’re not afraid of failure my friend, you’re afraid of success.

  • It’s quite possible that you inherited it from the previous generation. Maybe the dominant parent in your life taught you the importance of ‘taking it easy’ and ‘appreciating life’ instead of going crazy over your desires.
  • It’s also possible that it was the opposite. That your parents(s) were so focused in their goals that they hardly had any time for you.
  • Maybe your parents had nothing to do with this idea but your circumstances shaped this perception. It could be anything.
  • Maybe you think in your mind that the person you become as a result of the pursuit of your highest vision will be at a disconnect with your familial and/or traditional values.
  • Maybe you fear letting down your community, teachers, followers or spouse should you become as ‘selfish’ as is needed to dream, change and manifest a better life more in consistency with your ideas of fulfillment.
  • Maybe you fear alienation and isolation as a result of ‘differentiating’ yourself from the pack.

The thing to understand is that as long as you are living ‘off the radar’, you are essentially living as a shell of your true self, as an imposter. You need to start showing up more often in the vicinity of that which sets your soul on fire.

Sure we all need to time to heal sometimes. Life unfolds in phases.

If it has been going on for too long however, living like that is a disservice to those who love you.

Even if you are afraid of disappointing those who love you but have limited beliefs, it is your duty if you truly love them to open their eyes and guide them towards the light.

No one’s asking you to go lead the community but stand up to your responsibility as the leader of your self, your family.

If you devalue your dreams you are teaching everyone else connected to you to do the same.

You don’t want to do that in life.

You don’t want to do that in life because if you could choose between a legacy of hope and a legacy of limitation..

a legacy of hope is a legacy of courage and self realization.

A legacy of limitation is a legacy of submission and that is a mighty burden to bear.

Don’t pass it on to your children and the next generation. Deal with it.

It ends at you!

In the end you need to realize a harsh truth:

People who don’t support your growth weren’t really your people to begin with. People who would rather see you unhappy in a life that isn’t the most authentic expression of your soul, don’t really have your best interests at heart.

Love, Jay

If you have dreams you wish to fulfill but don’t know where to start, begin by scheduling a personal coaching session.

Published by Jay Kaushal

Jay Kaushal is a Writer, Motivational Speaker and Life Coach with double PGs in International Business Operation & Marketing. He has cross disciplinary expertise in the fields of Business, Wellness, 'Tantra', 'Vedic' Astrology, Personal Transformation and Leadership.

One thought on “Do you have a fear of success?

  1. This blog post really hits home with its insightful quote about the dual fears of failure and success. It’s a thought-provoking reminder that sometimes we unconsciously hold ourselves back from achieving our goals due to these fears. I can relate to the idea that a fear of success can be a hidden obstacle, and it’s great to see it addressed here. Looking forward to reading more from Coach Kaushal on this topic!

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