Fear of Success – Fiction?

Fear“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”


Vince Lombardi (1930-1970)

One of football’s most winning-est coaches in the NFL:

Winning 73.8% (149-47-6) of all games


I had a very interesting conversation with someone this week. We were talking about the “fear of failure” and the term “fear of success” came up.

I’ve heard that term before but never really understood it. How can someone be afraid of success? This article suggests that Maslow (yeah, the guy with the Hierarchy of Needs and the pyramid) and his friend Frank Manuel coined the phrase. I don’t believe this fear is as pervasive as some suggest.


There are genuine fears of responsibility, not being accepted, or gaining prominence. Some of us use this “fear of success” as an easy excuse.


 Why Many of Us Sabotage Ourselves:

Sometimes we are so beat up, run-down or self depreciated that we don’t put our best effort forward. As I was discussing this with my friend, we came up with the term “Bad News Bears Syndrome”. Here is what happens:

You feel burned out or defeated after putting it all out there and not accomplishing what you thought you should have. Instead of analyzing what went wrong or learning from it, you emotionally decide not to do it again. You then stop putting it all on the line. Now you can tell yourself, “Well I didn’t put as much into it as I could have.” We accept our role in the world – just like the Bad News Bears. This becomes a habit. You may have some success and you feel like a genius or just lucky because “I didn’t do much” but you can still use your excuse if it falls short.


Have you accepted your place? Are you ready to break out?





The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is now taking RSVPs for the Kitsap Business Forum. Our first forum is a panel of experts (facilitated by yours truly):


Kelle Kitchel-Cooper (Rockfish Group Marketing )

Dennis Bryan, CPA (Parker, Morris & Cena)

Jeff Reed (Farmer’s Insurance)

Lisa Jewett (Customer Service Specialist)

Wayne Sargent (Express Personell)

Dan Martin (SCORE)

Diane Russell (Attorney)


Bring your business and local economy questions for the panel to answer and debate!


RSVP at (360) 692-6800

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