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How to Overcome the Fear of Success The only thing holding you back from success is yourself.

By Melanie Spring Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Entrepreneurs are known for being risk takers. We jump in with both feet knowing we could fail. And when we do fail, it doesn't keep us from jumping in with both feet again. There is no fear of failure. Failure just means we need to try something different.

Fear of success? Now THAT'S the doozy.

Working with entrepreneurs of all ages, backgrounds and skills over the years, I've found there's only one thing standing in the way of our success. Can you guess what it is? Point at yourself. It's you. It's me. It's us.

We set deadlines, create to-do lists, write marketing plans, network like crazy and tell people about our incredible ideas. Nothing else is in the way of getting us to where we want to go, except self-sabotage -- the pesky excuses why we didn't get something done, telling ourselves mediocre is good enough or believing that huge goal we set is just too big.

Related: Success Is Never an Accident. It's a Choice.

The person who created the fake list of excuses is the person standing in our way. We can't blame our families, upbringing, spouses, kids, circumstances or clients. It's our fault, not theirs. It's not because we can't do the big thing; it's just because we are afraid of the results.

So, what if you ARE successful? You might make a huge difference? Sounds terrible. Oh, not so terrible, huh? Because making a huge difference is what you're meant to do, what you were created to do, why you were put on this earth. (Even if it's a huge difference in one person's life.)

And I'm pointing at myself while I write this. As I've been transitioning my own business over the last two years, I've watched others do this and then realized that I too have been putting off the inevitable change. I've made excuses. Caused distractions. Staged events that would get in the way of success.

Because I'm terrified of success. Of the overwhelming amount of lives I can change, because I have that power inside of me. So, what if I'm successful? The world might be just that much sweeter because there are other humans out there who are doing what they're called to do while supporting themselves and helping others. Sounds horrible, huh?

Related: Why 'Grit' May Be Everything for Success

Ask yourself the same questions I've been asking myself:

Why am I standing in my own way?

Our pasts have a way of creeping in and being a part of our future. We can be such heavy objects to move out of the way. What do you need to let go of? What words have others said that still fill your mind?

What does success look like to me?

Success can be an ethereal thing unless we define it. Getting clear on your goals is key to know what success looks like. And it can't be a moving target. 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?

What happens when I am successful?

It can be a huge release to finally hit success, but what will happen you finally get there? Will you set another goal? Will you celebrate? Will you find a new direction? Will you quit?

Because you will be successful if you decide you're going to be. Get out of your own way and quit with the excuses.

Related: Are You a Success Story? Why Not?

Melanie Spring

Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina

As the Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina, a D.C.-based branding firm, Spring built her business with a strong content marketing strategy. With an innate sense for social media, connecting with her customers, and building a culture around her brand, she teaches businesses and non-profits how to rock their brand. She also recently toured the U.S. on the Live Your Brand Tour collecting stories from businesses living their brand.

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