There is this belief or misconception that once you have achieved a great deal of success, fear doesn’t live within you or creep up from time to time. As a certified coach, I am committed to working with high achievers in redefining success minus the hustle so that they can experience more peace and joy, which ultimately affects how they develop as leaders in both their personal and professional lives.
Fear is normal and to be expected, nevertheless, it looks different for each person. I can relate to my clients because I have been that high achieving individual that would dismiss any thoughts associated with fear. In fact, I may have even expressed that the fear didn’t exist. It is a lot easier to validate that belief when you are successful, but I have learned through my own journey that it holds you captive in more ways than one. So, let me break this down for you: High achievers feel that the stakes are often too high to let fear get in their way, but what ends up motivating them is still fear.
Here are six fears that may be controlling your life unconsciously:
1. High achievers fear losing. Many high achievers have a winning mentality that translates to "I must win by any means necessary." You end up living a life of "I have to" versus one of "I want to," which leads to victimization in the various roles that we have.
2. High achievers fear letting people down. They often have a host of people who count on them. For some, it is our culture, our direct reports and/or our family. This does not necessarily mean that you care what others think but rather that you recognize your responsibility, which makes you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world.
3. High achievers fear time. Time is valuable and as a high achiever, you are always looking for what’s next or more to do because you are full of ideas that have you in overdrive. Legacy is important to you. You're constantly asking yourself have I done all that I could while I was here?
4. High achievers fear not being as good as their last accomplishment. You understand that past success is a great motivator but not a predictor of what the future holds. This fear doesn’t stop you from moving forward but does contribute to your anxiety. It is a reminder that we do focus on the things we can’t control.
5. High achievers fear not being seen or heard. Yes, you are more than just your accomplishments and the mask that you wear. You are human underneath it all and want to be acknowledged as such. In your position, you are expected to behave and present yourself in a certain way.
6. High achievers fear not getting it right. Black-and-white thinking is real. Finding the balance between logic and emotions can be challenging, which means that it is possible that you could be misunderstood.
Fear gets in our way and prevents us from doing whatever we were called to do. The fear that I am referencing has nothing to do with your capabilities and everything to do with the opportunity to explore more of who you have become so that you are able to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Here are three tips to help you take control of your fears in a more conscious way:
1. Review the relationships in your life, including the one that you have with yourself, for any damage. This can help inform how you view success. Most high achievers are very critical of themselves and also tend to micromanage/control others. How do you treat yourself, and how do you treat others?
2. Define what it means to be successful today based on where you have arrived. The old rules no longer apply. You have made it. What got you to where you are today may not support you in getting where you want to be, so take another look at what you've accomplished and let that inform your future.
3. Ask yourself, do I still believe that if you want something in life that you must fight for it? If you agree with that statement in the smallest way then there is an opportunity to grow. You have everything that you need and there is no reason to fight or repel greatness.
Are you operating and performing at your best with the fears that you think are driving you to excel?