Career Advice: Do Your Fear Success?

ThCareer Advice Do Your Fear Successis guest post  on the fear of success is written by Laurel Donnellan. Laurel has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and is the founder and CEO of Bright Livelihoods.Why do some fear success?

It has surprised me how many of my clients struggle with the fear of success.

For some, this fear stems from being successful in the past and associating success with loss. These losses include lack of privacy, health problems and serious damage to important personal relationships. In this situation, creating a more holistic definition of success for the future is critical.

Then there are people who are afraid to even admit they have been successful in the past. This reluctance may be associated with other things, such as a fear of appearing as an overly preachy parent or sibling who was successful and now feels the need to force their advice onto others. It can also be possible that they may associate success with unappealing qualities such as greed or flamboyance. In some cases, people have held an unconscious fear of success because they believe they will have to distance themselves from their friends, peers or family in order to reach new heights.

Creating a definition of success

In truth, everyone should create a definition of success that is in alignment with their own values. For one person, success can mean launching a business and becoming a millionaire, while another person can define success through being a great friend. For some, both are important aspects of success.

Ultimately, it is more difficult to fear success if your own definition of fulfilment is in sync with your talents, purpose and passions. To get you started with creating your own personal goals, here is a definition of success from Ralph Waldo Emersonfor some inspiration:

* To laugh often and love much

* To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children

* To earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends

* To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of oneself

* To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition

* To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation

* To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived

* This is to have succeeded.

This post was written by Laurel Donnellan, CEO and Founder, Bright Livelihoods

Laurel has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and has degrees from Cornell and Columbia. To learn more about the Bright Livelihoods community, go to To request a private half-hour coaching session, e-mail Bright Livelihoods.