I first heard the term “fear of success” twenty-five years ago, when I started my corporate career with a Fortune 50 petroleum company. I remember thinking Who in the world is afraid of success? Isn’t success what we all strive for, what we map our careers around, and the goal that drives us forward? Why would anyone be afraid to achieve a goal? The phrase was lost on me.
It wasn’t until I left the corporate world and became a writer that I began to understand the concept of fear of success. I became acquainted with writers who were so talented, who labored for years attending conferences and submitting to every publishing house in New York, and when they got their big break, they celebrated and cheered, then…nothing.
Either they couldn’t deliver the manuscript, or they buckled under the pressure of revisions…or maybe they got through that first book, but they went on an indefinite hiatus. They learned the hard way that the sale of a book brings obligation…and for many writers, the obligation of their success is too much pressure.