I encounter a surprising number of people who are afraid of success. In their defense, I’m not sure most of them are aware of it. It commonly reveals itself as resistance to my call, in responses like:
“I’m happy where I am.”
“I’m not in the market.”
“I’m not looking.”
“I’m not interested.”
In some cases, those answers are 100% truthful. In others, they’re a method of self-sabotage designed to keep someone trapped in their comfort zone. When I get responses like the ones above, I’ll often calmly follow up with: “I understand. But If I have an opportunity that both of us can agree is better than your current situation, would you consider it?” What always follows is a noticeable pause. Silence. I can literally FEEL the dynamic of the call change. Apprehension. Uncertainty. Unease. They’ve been asked a question that brings them face-to-face with good old common sense. Their mind races…they know that it costs nothing to listen…they wonder if I might be right…but they’re scared to find out what’s behind the door…. YIKES!!!!
You might think most people then say, “Ok, you got me. Makes sense. Tell me more.” Nope. Eighty percent of the time, the person becomes more adamant in their rejection, and can’t get off the phone quick enough. It’s like they just dodged a bullet. Potential fear of success.
The other twenty percent agree to hear me out, and we typically have a great conversation. Whether the call leads anywhere is about 50/50. But 100% of the time, the person I speak with leaves the call with insight into an opportunity they weren’t aware of before we spoke.
How would you react? The next time you’re presented with an opportunity and your immediate reaction is to shut it down…take an extra couple of seconds to check yourself and ask, “Am I about to respond this way because I am afraid of success?”