NE Life Coach – Fear of Success.

Last week I talked about how fear of failure can hold us back from trying new things and achieving our goals; fear of success can be equally limiting.   Over the last month I thought that my fear of failure was holding me back, it wasn’t.  It dawned on me that it was a fear of success.

I love to succeed.  It’s a great feeling when I succeed in achieving a goal; I love it when I can walk away from running a training session and know that it was top notch and had an amazing impact on my delegates; nothing feels as good as knowing that I gave my absolute best with a client and to see them walk away with confidence and self-belief.

I enjoy success.  So how can I also fear it?

Like fear of failure it doesn’t always apply to every area of our life, it may be connected to a particular focus area or goal.

I have tried every diet under the sun.  I would lose weight, often a lot of weight, then stall and put it all back on again and more.  Each time, each cycle of dieting ended up with me weighing more than when I started.

I have stopped ‘dieting’.  I did it a few years ago and began to have good results by simply allowing myself to make better decisions about my health.  However, as a coach, I understand the importance and power of coaching so over the last year I have been working with an amazing health coach.  She uses the same modalities as myself in terms of coaching, NLP and hypnotherapy and she has lived a very similar experience in terms of weight.  The focus is on daily habits, a holistic approach of making gradual improvements in the way I think about food and make decisions about food.

As a result, I have begun releasing weight.  I don’t weigh myself often because I don’t need to.  I know that if I follow the right habits each day then the weight will be released and I will achieve my deeper goals.

Over the last month I have really struggled to keep focused on my daily habits.  I have self-sabotaged, used food to punish myself. My inner-critic became an inner goblin and he has been on steroids!!

But you’re a coach!

Now if you are beginning to think, ‘hang on, you’re a coach, you help people overcome their inner-critic, surely you should be able to do this?’.

Well, no.  It doesn’t work like that. I’m human and this has truly been a lifelong battle with thought patterns and behaviours being reinforced for almost 50 years so it’s going to take some time to change that thinking pattern.   It’s important to remember that even on those days when things don’t go as I’d wish, I have made significant changes.  A bad day now is what a good day used to be.  That is progress.  It’s success and it’s important to recognise even the smallest of successes.

I know that the scales aren’t helpful.  The number on the scale is a by-product of positive behavioural change.  The work with my coach doesn’t focus on what the scales show, it focuses on my mindset and my daily habits, those daily process goals that are so important to embedding any change and achieving your goal.  I know this; I’ve trained this; I coach this. Yet I still got on the scales and weighed myself.

In that moment, just before looking at the number, I really didn’t know what I was looking for; was it that I weighed less? Was it that I had stayed the same? Or was I hoping that I had gained weight?

This was my moment of realisation.

I realised that I’m absolutely terrified of losing weight.

I’m as afraid of losing weight as I am of gaining weight.  No, let me be completely honest with myself and you, I’m more afraid of losing weight than I am of gaining weight.

Where’s the sense in that? How on earth is that a rational and logical fear?  I have so many reasons to release weight.  I know what they are, I have drilled them down to a point where I have really crystallised my ‘Why’.

I visualise achieving that goal and everything that it means to me, everything that I will be able to do, everywhere I will be able to go.  I’m investing in this financially. So how on earth does this make any sense?

Reflecting on it showed me that it makes complete sense.

In the past, when I’ve lost weight people would notice; even when I tried not to tell them or show them, they would notice.  They would be excited for me.  That excitement is accompanied by the possibility of letting them down.  That’s scary.

It isn’t just other people getting excited, I would too.  I begin to feel better about myself and enjoy doing more and going out more.  I would begin to feel more worthy.  The weight loss was tied to my self-worth.  That scares me.

Being that scared triggers huge mental blocks.  These blocks lead to self-sabotage and I would gain the weight back and more.  Those feelings of self-worth as well as the esteem of others would disappear.  This scares me.

Having spent a lifetime battling my weight I don’t know who I am without it.  What if I’m not the person I think I am? That’s scary.

In many ways my weight is armour.  I can blame my weight when things don’t work out the way I want them too.  Removing that shield scares me.

When it comes to my weight, I now accept that I have a fear of failure and a fear of success.

Ok, so what now? Well now the real inner work begins.  It’s clear to me that I’m now working to release these fears; to continue this journey from a place that is free from fear.

What next?

One thing I’m certain of is that my fear of success will only be reinforced if I don’t tackle it.  In many ways, I’ve behaved in ways that have embedded those behaviours.

The plan

1. Understanding.

I began by trying to understand more about my fear; to get to know it rather than fight it.  I set aside some time to meditate on it.  I began by simply writing ‘fear of success’ in my journal.  I mediated and then wrote whatever came to mind.  It has helped me acknowledge and better understand my fear.  It’s helped me open up about it and acknowledge it fully.  This is something that I will continue to do over the coming weeks.

2.  Noticing

Time to identify all the ways that my brain is, unintentionally, teaching itself to stay afraid. This means a step change in my mindfulness practice. To notice more I know I need to be present more.  This will help me notice those times when I self-sabotage with food.  It will help me to make more conscious decisions about food rather than allowing habitual patterns to take over.  Those of you who know me also know that I practice mindfulness daily, this time I will be keeping a track in my journal of what I notice and when.  This will help me identify key triggers and work to overcome them.

3.  Face into it.

This will be the key element to changing behaviours, this is where I will re-pattern my brain and create new and more helpful links in my brain. After identifying some key areas in step 2, I will select one of the smaller ones to begin with.  One that is uncomfortable but doable!  Each time I do this I will record my anxiety or fear level on a scale of 1-10.  I know that if I keep practising this, I will notice changes in this score.  Eventually my brain will learn not to be afraid; I’m hoping it will learn to be excited!

4.Rinse and Repeat!

Time to pick another area that I identified.  This may be a more challenging area and my brain knows from experience that I can do it.

Success = Change.

Change can be scary.  That’s fine though.  I can look back over my life, as I’m sure you can, and see so many ‘changes’. Changes that we’ve all coped with; some we have taken in our stride and some we may have struggled with yet the common denominator? We changed.  We adapted. We succeeded.

Remember this isn’t just about weight.  This can apply to any change you want to make; my hope is that you can take something from this that will help you face in to any fears you have that are holding you back.

If you would like to find out more about achieving your goals and changing your thinking please get in touch.

To arrange a free consultation Contact Lou  


Or you can book a free consultation here Online Calendar



For anyone wanting to look at specific support with releasing weight, I can wholeheartedly recommend Suzanne Culberg. 


You can find her on facebook @SuzanneCulberg and her website is


I will be running a number of free webinars in my group.

  • An Introduction to Mindfulness.

  • Dealing with December Stress.

  • Making 2020 Your Year to Thrive.

Coming in the New Year:

  • Building your Confidence and Self-Belief.

  • Discovering your True Path.