Jeremy Côté

The Two Fears

In my side projects, I’ve struggled with two different kinds of fears. I’m sure you’ve felt these too. The funny part is that these are essentially opposite fears.

The first is the fear of failure.

This is something we all know. We’re intimately familiar with the fear of failing, because it’s what stops us each day from trying something new and potentially making a difference. It tells us that we aren’t good enough, that we don’t have the skill to succeed.

Depending on how we’ve learned to deal with it, we either run away (and let fear win), or we face it defiantly and do the work we know is important.

The second is the fear of success.

This sounds strange if you’ve never thought about it before. How could I be afraid of success? The issue is that success brings change, and that change can be scary. Even if the change is for the better, we tend to dislike having our circumstances changed. We much rather having things go on as they are, because those are familiar. We know what will happen if our life remains as it is now. There won’t be any surprises. On the other hand, success means things will necessarily change, and this is frightening.

While the fear of failure is something most of us have thought about, we need to be much more honest about our fear of success.

How important is the work you do? If it disappeared tomorrow, how sad would you be? This is what you need to think about when you feel paralyzed by the fear of success.

It’s easy to think the fear of success won’t affect you, but the truth is that it can hold you back even more than the fear of failure. Make sure you take the time to reflect on this.

What’s stopping you from doing the work you want to do? If all those obstacles were taken care of, what would you do? It’s this question that highlights the fear of success. Often, we’re happy to give excuses for not doing our work, but they aren’t the real reason. The fear of success is.

Be mindful of these two fears. They are omnipresent, so it’s important to know how to coexist with them.