Three Fears That Hinder Success

What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment. – Mark Cuban
The story is told of a new bank president who met with his predecessor and said, “I would like to know what have been the keys to your success.” The older gentleman looked at him and replied, “Young man, I can sum it up in two words: ‘Good decisions’.” To that the young man responded, “I thank you immensely for that advice, sir, but how does one come to know which are the good decisions?” “One word, young man,” replied the sage. “Experience.” “That’s all well and good,” said the younger, “but how does one get experience?” “Two words,” said the elder. “Bad decisions.”
We hear much talk in leadership circles about success. We read success stories of people and wonder what it would be like to walk in their shoes. In such instances one of two reactions happen. We are either encouraged to work harder and achieve that type of success or we grow despondent believing that it will never happen for us.
What about you? How do you react? In as much as we understand how a fear of failure will naturally hold people back, so too will a fear of success. The results are inevitably the same. Getting a grip on the fears that hold you back is the first step in overcoming them and placing you on the right course to achieve the success you desire. Here are three common fears that will hinder your success.
The fear of commitment
Unless this fear is overcome you will always be stuck where you are. There is no going to the next level of success without a next level commitment to take you there. Be it a successful entrepreneur, CEO, athlete, etc., the one thing they all share in common is an “all-in” commitment to their success.
Basketball great Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” The secret to your success is found in those words.
Jordan’s failures were his fuel. His failures were his motivation. And despite all of his setbacks his level of commitment took him to the top and he is now recognized by many as the best to ever play the game.
One of the greatest hindrances to your success is your fear of commitment. When you overcome this fear you are on your way to experiencing new levels of success.
The fear of resentment
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to celebrate your success. Be it a professional jealousy or some personal resentment there will always be those who will make it their mission to be critical. It comes with the territory. On your journey some will praise your success while others will be critical of it. But, it’s your race- your journey, not theirs- and you will need to learn how to tune out the critics and listen to the voices that matter most.
Elbert Hubbard said, “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” The day you fear the resentment that comes with your success is the day you allow everything that is negative to win over everything that is a positive.
You’ve come too far, worked too hard, sacrificed too much to allow the resentment from others to keep you from realizing yours dreams. Don’t allow the fear of resentment to hold you back. If the people around you can’t celebrate your success then it’s time to move on without them.
The fear of accomplishment
Sounds odd, doesn’t it? After all, becoming successful in achieving your desired goals is cause for celebration-not something to be feared. Yet still, some have a fear of accomplishment out of concern it will change them.
Those fears can easily be addressed when you value integrity more than success, character more than accolades, and your values more than the bottom line.
A fear of accomplishment will only hinder you on your road to success when you see success in a self-serving way. Successful leaders understand that the measure of their success is found in what they can do for others, not in what others can do for them.
You will have many challenges on your road to success. Don’t allow the fear of commitment, resentment, or accomplishment to hold you back. Go forward with confidence knowing that your fears are your fuel and your success is a tool for good.
Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership author and speaker. He is the author of three leadership books. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your civic, business, or church group. To learn more visit

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