Are you afraid of success?

An exercise in association
  • For some, the feelings that come with success can be similar to those of a traumatic event.
  • Focus on visualizing success.

Recently, I heard a real estate guru describe call reluctance and action plans to overcome it. It made me question if call reluctance is symptomatic. Many real estate agents might be actually be experiencing success reluctance.

I found an excellent, readable article on Psychology Today by Suzanne Babbel, Ph.D., from Jan. 03, 2011, titled “’Fear of Success’ the Excitement of success can feel close to anxiety for some.”

What I found were a few ideas and a simple exercise. Here are some takeaways from the article:

  • For some, the feelings that come with success might be similar to those associated with a traumatic event of the past.
  • For some, the pursuit of success might bring with it increased anticipation and “getting one’s hopes up” that leads potentially to disappointment. Others still might feel that they don’t deserve success.
  • Babbel explains that the first step to overcoming this fear is to “decouple” (my word) the feelings associated with success from negative or traumatic events and the feelings they bring.

Her suggested exercise to disassociate negativity and success is as follows:

  1. Recall an event where you were successful or excited when you were younger, and notice what you are feeling and sensing in your memory. Stay with the sensation of for five minutes.
  2. Now tap into the sensation of a memory of an overwhelming situation. I suggest not to start with a truly traumatic event, at least not without a therapist’s support. Start with something only moderately disturbing to you.
  3. Now, go back to visualizing your success storyDo you notice a difference?

No matter what our goal, it makes great sense to review how we’ve tried to achieve it and what’s held us up. If fear of success is in your way, moderate levels of progress only in your growth. Focus on you, and grow in your success.

Brian McKenna manages two residential resale offices for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Blake. You can follow him on Twitter and onFacebook.

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