In this article, I want to share with you 6 archetypes that you might not recognize that actually come from your fear of success.
They’re stealthy, sneaky things and rarely that obvious but wow they can damage your success or even your perception of it, and worse of all, many are playing out automatically in your life already!
For each Archetype, I want to share:
If you are a goal addict, you are not averse to setting goals. You achieve big. You know what you want and go for it.
The Goal Addict Type 1 can be an overachiever. There’s nothing wrong with wanting massive levels of success. However, when they sit before me, they are not working with me to become more successful. They want to find ways to relinquish control, or slow down.
They desperately want to escape elements of their life; or they notice how un-fulfilled they feel despite the healthy bank balance, awesome looking life style and illusion of the perfect life.
The Goal Addict T1 is likely to say:
Whether it’s you that’s the Goal Addict or someone you love or work with. Giving them some space to talk and explore who they are is not likely to work.
They achieve big because of who they are and they can’t see any reason to change, so don’t try to enforce change on them or yourself. Instead, find out what the Goal Addict doesn’t like about their life.
You will need to choose your timing well. If they feel threatened or cornered, they will be quick to let you know how awesomely successful they are.
When you find yourself berating something in your life, don’t shut the thought down, explore it and ask yourself:
“What does this mean to me?” “How is this impacting on my happiness? Health? Loved ones?”
Don’t choose the normal parameters that you’d normally choose to work like “What does this mean to my work/financial freedom/success? You will quickly prove yourself right and won’t deal with what’s going on.
The good news about Goal Addicts is that they really appreciate their skills, attributes and successes. They can stay motivated and on track no matter what happens. They have an inbuilt determination and tenacity that helps them achieve big.
I’ve worked with many incredibly successful people who have told me they are not happy. They’ve been on a permanent drive to get to the top they never stopped long enough to check the destination was still where they wanted to get.
One client realized they were trapped on a hamster wheel and we went back to basics. This quickly enabled them to see that 20 years of striving to be the best had been great but it had been costly. They had no one they felt they could love, no social life and hadn’t been on a plane for pleasure in years. Taking the step back and reacquainting with who they really are, helped them appreciate that the person they’d been years ago still existed and they reconnected with that.
They now do a lot of travelling. They still work as hard, but the weekends are as important as the day job.
The Goal Addict Type 2 is possibly the opposite to the Type 1.
They still achieve everything they set out to achieve, however, they achieve small. They aim small, keep it small, and achieve small. And then when they talk to their coach, boss, friend, or loved one, they are complaining that they aren’t getting what they want in life.
They can be frustrated and disappointed and are less likely to shout about what they achieve, want or need.
The Goal Addict T2 is likely to say:
Goal Addict T2 often present to me with a sense that they could achieve more but aren’t. They tell me they lack confidence or that they don’t want to rock the boat. They like things fair for all.
The issue with this approach is they aren’t keen to explore what they really want. (It can make them hyperventilate and anxious to consider big goals and big ideas.)
Make use of the science of being you. Start by understanding that you have the skills, beliefs and attributes to achieve. You’ve been doing it for years. It’s just your focus has been up too close. Don’t try and process how you will achieve big or even what you want to achieve. Just notice how you’ve got as far as you have.
Know that failure is good for yo . While many of us have heard this, The Goal Addict T2 is petrified of it. It links to lots of fears and while it may manifest as the fear of success, often underling this are the fears of what people will think of me and the fear that I will look stupid. Most fears at their base have the fear of what other people will be thinking about you.
So before you look to overcome your fear of success, build your confidence. In my experience, the quickest ways to build your confidence is 2 fold:
No one gets out of life without making mistakes. We learn far more from failure than we do from success. On Lifehack alone, you will find tons of articles talking about some of our great achievers in every arena of life – and so many will tell you that it was their failures that enabled them to be successful.
Failure is not failure, it’s the chance to learn.
The good news is that Goal Addict T2 are good at motivating others because they’d rather look at other people than themselves.
Also because they don’t know where they want to go, they are easy to be with, manipulate, employ and control. (Okay you can see that can be bad for the Goal Addict, right?)
They are good at protecting themselves from failure and negativity because they just won’t look at it in that way.
I worked with someone who told me that they had no proof that they could achieve anything. Everything they’d ever achieved had been because someone else had told them to do it. They didn’t create the spark; the small flame was handed to them.
By using the strategies above, they rocketed their confidence, learn’t to trust in what they had to say, stop stressing about what other people were thinking of them or of what they said and learnt to push themselves.
Some people like to get so far out of their comfort zone they can’t see it any more. For this person, it was about small goals that added up to the big goal – something they obviously knew they could do!
The disbeliever is less likely to come to me for coaching of their own free will. They are more likely to be a member of a team and the senior team has spotted some issues that they feel coaching can help overcome.
The disbeliever has a fear of success that is manifesting itself when they fight change in the work place or can justify why things can’t change.
Be aware of the language you use on yourself. Does it empower you or undermine you? You may think that your language is keeping you safe.
Imagine for a moment that the very thing that you felt kept you safe was in actual fact keeping you trapped? Becoming more aware of the trap that your language creates, enables you to get out of it faster.
Don’t go it alone. If you are fearful of success and hold strong beliefs about what can’t be done or what you can’t do, it’s going to be tough to fight that alone.
Challenge what you believe. Your perception of reality is unique to you. Only you have reached this place in exactly the way you have, so be mindful of how that journey has skewed your view of the world.
When someone challenges you on what you think can be done, don’t’ be so quick to dismiss them. Take some time to process it – could this be the way for you to fight your fear of success?
Disbelievers hold strong opinions and those opinions have kept them safe. (Yes, you could reframe it and say those ideas have kept them trapped) but for now, know that they are good at holding strong in their views.
Disbelievers also tend to be sticklers for doing things the right way. (Yes they can get bogged down and fearful of trying new ways) but for now remember they are good at being really reliable and sustainable in what they do.
I was working with a team that had 2 Disbelievers in. The rest of the team were pretty much despondent that they’d ever get on board with new ideas and new ways of working. So no matter how much new methods were enforced on the team, the disbelievers could always justify why the old way was best.
We made it very personal to them, and talked about how the new ideas made them feel. How they felt unappreciated and like they were considered the “old dogs” of the team that couldn’t learn new tricks. They could, they just couldn’t see the benefits. “It had all been tried before.”
We stopped talking about their beliefs around the changes, and looked at what they hated about their roles at work. Then, we looked at ways to make things better. The team were able to show the Disbelievers that the new ways of working would in actual fact deal with the very issues they faced.
The Disbelievers were so trapped in their view of reality there was no space in their beliefs and automatic processes that would enable them to access the new ideas. This process enabled them to do it and helped the team see the challenges it caused for the Disbelievers.
A greater understanding of each other led to some serious eureka moments for the whole team. That means happier staff and less stress as well as increased productivity!
The Saboteur thinks they are doing their best. They work long hours (they aren’t afraid of hard work!) they go for it, they try new things but it never seems to work out the way they really would like it to.
No matter what they do, they never feel like they’ve good enough or done enough. It’s a constant fight.
The Saboteurs have it tough because no matter what happens – good or bad, they can find something to be unhappy with. Even if things are going great, they will be able to tell you the things that went badly.
Head and heart is an exercise where I get the Saboteur to just talk about something they aren’t happy with, something they feel can’t be achieved. They can talk in depth about everything that went wrong, can’t be done, and has been considered and dismissed. However, ask them to list out everything they learned or benefited from in that experience, they struggle.
Persevere because the Saboteur is good at finding what is going on. And with help, they can force themselves into looking at what exists — really exists. Head is the facts that they know (the easy bit) and heart is the stuff that they choose to think (the tough bit).
Step back from the situation that you fear and get the head and the heart to create the dialogue. Even if you don’t believe it, the facts can start to shout louder than the feelings.
Saboteurs should celebrate how hard working you are. You get knocked down again and again and still you resiliently get up and go for it again!
The Saboteurs’ fear of failure can make them a bunny in head lights, trapped and unable to move.
I’ve seen the head and heart strategy work powerfully, because you can’t argue with the facts (as much as you may try) slowly, this process enables the person to take a new approach, create new beliefs and even achieve more.
One client would every month sit before me and tell me why something wasn’t good enough and how they’d failed. Until at one session, they sat before me and said my own words back at me “I know, I’ve achieved a lot and I wasn’t achieving this much 5 months ago, was I? So I don’t even have evidence to that fact, do I!”
This made them laugh because clearly, they were getting their own new message loud and clear – and I love working with that person!
Of all the fears of success, the Half Hearters are least likely to work with a coach. I meet a lot of these in my line of business. They are often following me around the UK to hear me speak or reading every word I write online but still, they ask the same questions and are doing the same things. And we all know that’s a definition of madness, don’t we?
Half Hearters are usually sponges at taking on new information and can repeat it back parrot fashion, but they don’t actually take action on it.
They are likely to say:
With some fears, you need to look at it firmly in the eyes and deal with it head on; others are fought by concentrating on what you really want and eventually the fear shrinks to nothing because you build your confidence in what you do.
For Half Hearters, they are convinced that they have tried everything and are doing everything they can. It means that no matter what they learn, they don’t take action because the underlining fear has control — subconscious control, but control none the less.
Then, try the “And that means” exercise.
When you find yourself saying something ask yourself “And that means?” Keep asking this question.
As a coach. we get to work deep down in your mind finding out what the route issue is. This process helps you do that too. For instance:
“I don’t think that strategy could work for me.”
And that means?
“That I will have to accept that I can’t do that in my life/business/career/relationships.”
And that means?
“That it will always be a limitation on my success and happiness.”
And that means?
“That I will always fear this.”
This process helps you see what’s happening to you because you won’t attempt something new.
Now use the “If I knew, what could I do” exercise. For this, suspend reality for a moment. Get the magic wand out. Get creative. There’s no limitation on your time, health, finances, abilities, skills or beliefs – with that in mind how would you answer the first statement again?
And yes, I know for many, this is way out of your comfort zone, but the least creative clients are able to find some insight too. So stick with it.
“I don’t think that strategy could work for me.”
If I knew, what could I do?
“If I knew it would work, I could do it.”
This then enables you to start breaking down a lifetime of beliefs around the dangers of the fear of success.
The good news for the Half Hearters is that they are great at learning new ideas even if they don’t employ them. They are happy where they are (usually because they are un-keen to look too far ahead for fear that they will fail at it!)
A client came to me and said they felt their fear of success and that it meant they rarely applied themselves.
From the “And that means” exercise, we were able to see what was the underlining issue. They really feared what other people thought of them. They’d been bullied as a child and in their first job and it had stuck around in their head telling them to just hide in the office and don’t stand out. It meant they now felt overlooked and unappreciated.
Dealing with their fear of success and what people thought of them meant they learned to employ communication skills they already knew but were too fearful to use. And then, they got not one but 2 pay rises and promotions!
Inventors are awesome to coach because they get results fast. It’s a great example of how you can change the results you get in an instant because it’s about what you think before what you do.
Inventors create a perception of reality that supports where they are. It means that they don’t notice the fear of success that exists at all!
Inventors are likely to say:
Inventors need someone to hold their hand to overcome their fear. Their ability to create, nurture and believe their own version of reality keeps them safe and it makes it very hard to escape on their own.
More than any other archetype, the Inventor has to strip back what they think and find its source. Going it alone is not a great option because the Inventor can constantly recreate reality to support where they are.
Having someone to help them confront what they believe to be true really can help. Don’t ask your partner or friend because they just want you to be happy (more than successful) and don’t want to see you upset.
I have had hundreds and hundreds of people cry in a coaching session and be mortified by it, but it’s in that moment of tears that they have realized what the fear has done to them, how it has stopped them and a complete release that there really is a new way they could think to get what they want.
Don’t go it alone, find someone who you can trust to challenge you in a supporting way that suits you. Some people like a kick butt approach and others need a gentle gentle approach – start by thinking what your approach might be.
It’s funny how quick the right people and opportunities crop up when you are looking in the right direction.
And most importantly, don’t berate yourself for who you are. When you start to break down your perception of reality, most of my clients discover how awesome they really are and their new perception of reality is far better (and quite often instant!)
The Inventors don’t tend to like looking too closely at their emotions and feelings. If they do, then their perception of reality can get dislodged. So they tend to be strong people.
That strength is so important, it enables you to be resilient and determined. Both of these are critical when you face up to your fears.
I was working with a team of people who had 2 inventors in their group. They weren’t very good at coming up with new ideas (like the rest of the team) and didn’t like being challenged.
By helping them to see that other perceptions of reality existed for other members of the team, they could start to see that they could choose to see things differently if they wanted to.
The trick was in getting them to appreciate the need for change and then giving them the safe zone to challenge what they thought.
With the right support, they were actually the fastest to adopt new ideas because they could quickly create a reality to support the new way of thinking, cool right?
Of all the fears that attack your life, ultimately their role is to lower your confidence levels, keep you trapped and stop you from what you want in life.
By being brave enough to notice them, you are well on the road to fixing them. Therefore wherever you are today, that’s a great starting point, remember that.