If you ask anyone if they want better for themselves, they always say “yes” and they probably will lay out some specific goals and dreams. That’s the easy part. Now observe their behavior and that will determine if they truly are ready to walk down the path of responsibility and determination that success requires. People who are too scared to succeed engage in behavior that sabotages them and many are not even aware of the impact of the habits that hinder their progress. Here are a few self-defeating behaviors that might be an indicator that you are too scared to succeed.
Procrastination. When asked to do something, you often drag your feet or come up with excuses why you are delayed. You usually know exactly how to do what’s required but fail to execute. You might not even be aware of why you procrastinate and may pass it off as being very busy or find fault overall.
Consumed with what others say and think. The people in your network can make progress impossible. Someone may have a good idea but is scared to act because of what colleagues, friends and neighbors might say. It’s easier and safer to go along with the status quo than it is to strike out on your own. Every successful person has endured criticism from friends and family, and especially strangers. Find a small group of people who will support you. In the beginning stages, they may call you crazy, but when you succeed, people will think you are smart.
Lack of preparation. True success never happens overnight. It’s a process and it takes months, and for some many years. People who are scared of success stay in the idea phase and never take action to prepare to receive and sustain that success. When you are serious about succeeding, you prepare for it. You may take classes to learn more, attend conferences, change jobs, interview others, save your money, and the list can go on. Preparation can also be mental where you work on changing your mindset, and it may even be physical. You begin to exercise and adopt healthy eating habits as it has been proven to boost energy and focus thinking.
Refusal to change circles. There is a saying that if you want to know where you will be in 5 years, look at the people you spend time with. This does not mean you have to abandon all your friends. It simply means you spend the majority of your time surrounded with like-minded people. This can cause problems as you might be scared to lose long-established friends for fear of being labeled. People change and relationships change. You do not have to ostracize old friends, but if their impact is negative, then it’s time to rethink those relationships.
Karen Hinds is a leadership and diversity and inclusion expert. She used her experience in building talent pipelines for financial services companies to launch her company over 20 years ago. Workplace Success Group is a strategic, talent development firm that works with organizations to cultivate and retain their next generation of leaders.