Am I my own worst enemy when it comes to embracing success?

Another Psychologies Magazine test recently about what is stopping me from reaching my full potential. After the obligatory ten questions my results suggested that I fear success itself.

“Do you feel success is for other people? You might be talented and hard-working but, if you are prone to self-sabotage or lack motivation just as things start to go well, chances are you’re subconsciously keeping yourself in the ‘striving’ zone, with your goals just out of reach. When you do achieve, impostor syndrome can creep in, telling you it was a fluke or luck, rather than your own talent that brought success. There may be a difference between how you present yourself to others and how you feel. Fear of success can be bigger than fear of failure because, if you get to the top, you’ve got to stay there, and ‘prove’ you deserve it.

The key to closing the confidence gap is knowing your strengths, then crafting your working life to make the most of them. It may also help to find a mentor who has succeeded, despite starting from a similar place to you. If no one springs to mind, choose someone famous, read their biography or follow them on social media. Also, spend time with people who believe in themselves – confidence is contagious.”

I am totally sabotaged by imposter syndrome; I’ve mentioned that here before.  I also feel that when I’ve praised for doing something well, I feel embarrassed about it and that I was only doing my job, or that it was a team effort, not honestly acknowledging the hard work and effort that I’ve put in.  Doing that is big headed and an ego trip right?

In the past I have wondered about taking promotions based on whether I feel I am worthy of it, not whether I could do it or not, as I fully understand that you grow into roles and there should not be any expectation that I should be perfect in the job from day one.  I sometimes look at my pack packet and wonder how I managed to command that level of salary.  But then I think I have earned it through my years of effort, for my skills and knowledge.  And then I go back to thinking that its just a desk job, it’s not like I’m actually saving lives, or solving climate change, or doing mega worthwhile things.  And then I flip back to someone has to do my job so it may as well be me as much as anyone else. Then I wonder whether I could or should be doing something else, or altering the work-life balance again, or doing a job for another organisation all together. 

Sometimes I think I have peaked and reached as far as I can go, or should that be, as far as I want to go, who needs the extra grief?  But then something else comes around the corner and nudges at going just that little bit farther.  Then I think I should get out while I can, before someone notices that I’m a fraud, that I don’t know what I’m doing or talking about.  Then I think that I can do this, and I am the subject expert in this.  But I’m not an expert, am I?  I only play at being an expert.  Someone’s going to catch me out.

How do I stop this self-doubting all the time and acknowledge that I am where I am because I have skills and knowledge without it coming across as arrogant?


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