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In the world of insurance and financial planning the basic game-plan to build a successful business is to meet at least ten new prospective clients each week by scheduling at least fifteen appointments every week. The idea is that two of these meetings will turn into sales and another three may continue to be prospects. Notice that on average only two out of ten actual appointments become sales. In order to schedule all those meetings, it may take hundreds of phone calls and emails as well. In other words, there is a lot of potential and actual rejection involved.

Over the years I’ve coached quite a few people in professions where networking and prospecting is fundamental to success. Salespeople, marketers, network marketers, small business and medical practice owners all come to mind.  One theme that consistently emerges is fear of success, which often manifests as avoidance. Not surprisingly, this theme tends to reoccur as people reach different levels of success.

A young woman I recently coached had a habit of meeting 10 people one week and then slacking off the next. Her skill-set and abilities were excellent. She is bright, personable, ambitious, and attractive. However, her performance was inconsistent and the main theme that emerged during our time together was that she sabotaged her success by slacking off just as she started to really succeed. Does that sound at all familiar?

I’ve seen this pattern in my own life at times. Just like health and happiness, most of us have a set point for success. As a result, we only allow so much success until we start to get uncomfortable.  This is not typically conscious. Instead of working through the discomfort that might come with higher levels of success, many of us sabotage it. It’s like we don’t deserve it or somewhere deep down don’t feel good enough. I know immensely successful people who self-sabotage. Every so often, they blow up or create a disaster that keeps them from ever really enjoying their accomplishments. As public figures, Elliot Spitzer and Tiger Woods come to mind. As with fear of failure, fear of success can be overcome through awareness and action.

We must become aware of the pattern first and then we must decide to work through the barrier next. We work this through these barriers by consciously over-riding the subconscious patterning. In other words, we choose to handle our discomfort with various levels of success by developing new habits and systematically taking new actions.

Fear of Success is overcome when we consistently choose success and gradually allow ourselves to adjust to greater and greater levels. Each step along the way may bring up fear. One young woman was afraid to make 200k in sales one year because she felt that raising the bar that high would put pressure on her to constantly succeed at that level.  Though this may be valid on one level it is also a projection on another level. How do you know, I told her, that you won’t become so good at sales that 250k the following year would be relatively easy?

Remember: success is inevitable if we stay in the game, get feedback along the way, adjust our actions, and trust that dedication and practice really does pay off!