On many occasions while giving a talk on Success Esteem I will ask audience members to raise their hand if they believe they have some fear of failure. Typically about 80% of the audience will raise their hand. Then I ask them to raise their hand if they believe they have some fear of success. Typically only about 35% of the audience will raise their hand.

In my 10+ years of coaching people and my life-long study of self-sabotage behaviors, I have developed a solid understanding that most people are actually much more AFRAID OF SUCCESS than failure.

Consider this...Have you ever failed at anything? Yes, you say. When you failed, did you find or create an inner way of coping with that failure? Of course you did! Have you used those coping skills on more than one or two occasions in your life? Of course you have!

Failure is an inescapable part of our life experiences, so we are required to develop skills for coping with our failures. Failure is in some ways the "known". Some people are even "rewarded" for their failures. We've all seen that person who is given lots of attention and comfort by others when they failed. In essence they are being emotionally rewarded for failing.

So let's look at the flip side of this scenario. Have you ever had the success you dream of having? Most likely, not. So...do you have coping skills in place for dealing with the challenges, problems and headaches that come with success? Probably not...and your inner need for security knows this and blocks your success because you don't have the coping skills in place to deal with it.

Success tests our primal need for "connection". People crave connection with other people. A great deal of evidence to this need can be seen in all of our inventions that help us to stay connected more and more closely...the cell phone, email, text messaging, IMs, social networking, and the list goes on and on. We have a primal NEED to feel connected.

Our fear of success developed out of a fear of losing our connection to the people we love and value.

When we were impressionable children we may have heard the adults in our lives say something negative or critical about someone who was visibly successful such as, "Who do they think they are?!" and who among us hasn't heard someone describe - in a negative tonality - a successful person as "full of himself" or "too big for her britches". 

When I was a teenager I often heard my best friend's mother harshly say, "I wonder who she had to sleep with to get that...[car, house, job, etc]." Her resentful tonality added to my growing inner belief system that she was one of many people who would not like me if I grew up to have nice things that showed the world my success. When I was given the opportunity to go to college and my best friend was not, I overheard her mother say that I probably thought I was better than them. Hearing her say that really hurt my feelings and I stacked it onto my growing belief that people would stop liking me when I was successful. (Thankfully, my parents had a "no matter what" policy about going to college, otherwise I would have been tempted not to go.)

Now, I do not believe that the parents and adults in our lives ever intended to cause us to be afraid of success. I genuinely believe that most parents and adults worked to help us grow up to be good-hearted, hard-working, humble adults.

Unfortunately, their efforts to teach us to be humble often backfired and turn "success" into a perceived threat. Specifically, the threat of losing the love and friendship of the people we hold dear.

Success challenges our self-esteem in ways that we may not be prepared to cope with.

To Break Free from the Self-Sabotage Behavior of the Fear of Success, you must become aware of the inner tug-of-war!

PROCRASTINATION is the most visible sign of the Fear of Success and it typically creates quite a stirring of inner tug-of-war! If you find yourself procrastinating doing the things you KNOW will move you toward the success you seek, this is a strong indication that you are inwardly fearful about the unknown of moving toward success.

If you have already explored your inner fears of failure and you are still stalled and procrastinating, you will benefit greatly from examining your inner fears of success.

The first step to uncovering the hidden inner beliefs that cause self-sabotage behavior is to begin looking inwardly for clues as to the source of the fear. These fears are typically long forgotten because they were created in early childhood years so are commonly dismissed as “silly” or “insignificant” once we become adults.

To begin your inward journey I recommend starting with the basic rules of "Stop, Look and Listen."

STOP: Stop fighting the inner battle. It's a fact that "What you resist will persist." So stop resisting the struggle and stay present to what's going on inside. When you feel the inner tug-of-war of procrastination, don’t resist it…observe it. What are you saying to yourself? What images are flashing through your mind? What are you feeling? Don’t judge, just observe.

LOOK: Look BEYOND the things you are procrastinating. We typically distract ourselves from our fear of success by making it seem like it is the report we don’t want to write, or the sales call we don’t want to make, or any other work we don’t want to do. Start a log of the times when you feel the inner tug-of-war of procrastination. Take each event out to the future toward your potential success. Where do your thoughts take you? Most likely you will see and feel a sense of excitement and anticipation toward reaching your goal – with an undercurrent of fear for reaching the goal. The excitement and anticipation make you want to move forward, but the fear is what is holding you back. The excitement and anticipation is why most people aren’t able to see the undercurrent of the fear of success.

LISTEN: Listen to the inner dialog associated with the inner tug-of-war. What is it trying to tell you? What does it want you to know? What is it afraid of? Whose voice is it? Is it you telling yourself something negative or is it someone else’s words and voice that are running as a recording in your head?

Use the information you gather to begin locating the true intentions of your fear. You can comfort your inner need for connection and safety by proactively creating inner Success Esteem for dealing with the negative and hurtful things that could happen as a result of your success.

Your inner fear really does want you to have what you want, but its first and only job is to keep you safe! If you help it feel safe, it will gladly help you live the life you dream of living!

If you resonate with this information and want to work on putting yourself into genuine alignment with the success you want and desire, perhaps you're ready NOW to do the work!

Author's Bio: 

Troyann Williams is a highly renowned SuccessEsteem Coach. She’s a "been-there, done-that, knows what she's talking about" success coach!  Troyann can help you to uncover the inner programming that is holding you back and help you to create inner Success Esteem for moving comfortably toward the success you desire. And WOW... what a great experience it is when you Break Free from the Self-Sabotage Behavior of the Fear of Success!!! For FREE Information ==> http://selfsabotagebehavior.com/freegiftoffer01ssb_selfgrowth.htm