Achievemephobia and Mental Health: 10 Tips to Move Past Your Fear of Success

Achievemephobia and Mental Health: 10 Tips to Move Past Your Fear of Success

Achievemephobia and Mental Health: 10 Tips to Move Past Your Fear of Success

Do you have achievemephobia? That’s the fancy word for fear of success. We want to achieve things in our lives … but we also self-sabotage because (usually subconsciously) we are afraid of what will happen if we actually attain that success we’re chasing. This affects many people. Moreover, there are mental health conditions and symptoms that can make it more likely that someone will experience the condition. The good news is that if you can recognize that you’re going through it, you can mitigate the impact of it.

What Is Achievemephobia?

Achievemephobia, also called success anxiety, refers to a psychological condition where an individual experiences a deep-seated fear or anxiety surrounding the idea of achieving or reaching their goals, attaining success, or fulfilling their potential. While success is often associated with positive outcomes, some individuals may have underlying fears and concerns that hinder their ability to fully embrace and pursue success. It doesn’t seem like something that makes sense. However, consider these factors:

Reasons for Achievemephobia

Many of the reasons that people experience anxiety success are subconscious. Brought into the light, though, they do make a lot of sense. There’s a reason for this attempt to protect ourselves through sabotaging our own success. Here are some of the common reasons that people may experience this condition:

Fear of the unknown and fear of change

Success often brings new challenges, responsibilities, and expectations. Some individuals may feel overwhelmed or anxious about navigating unfamiliar territory. They may fear they won’t be able to handle the added pressures and demands that come with success.

Some individuals may be resistant to change. They may feel apprehensive about the potential disruptions it could bring to their lives, relationships, or sense of identity.


Self-doubt and imposter syndrome

Individuals with a fear of success often struggle with self-doubt. They may experience imposter syndrome, which is the belief that their achievements are undeserved and that they will eventually be exposed as frauds. This internal dialogue can undermine their confidence and create anxiety around future success.

Fear of increased expectations

With success comes higher expectations, both from oneself and from others. Some individuals may worry about living up to these heightened expectations. They may fear that they won’t be able to sustain their success over the long term. In a sense, it feels better not to try than to try, succeed, but then fail later.

Fear of judgment and criticism

Achieving success can attract attention and scrutiny from others. Individuals with a fear of success may be concerned about the judgments, envy, or criticism they might face. This can lead to feelings of vulnerability or a desire to remain unnoticed. As a result, they want to avoid success.

Fear of losing personal connections

Success can sometimes strain relationships, especially if there are significant disparities in achievement or if others perceive the successful individual differently. Fear of success may stem from concerns about losing connections or feeling alienated from friends, family, or one’s social circle.

Achievemephobia and Mental Health Conditions

Achievemephobia and Mental Health Conditions

Some mental health conditions or symptoms can increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing achievemephobia. Here are examples:

Generalized Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety about various aspects of life. Naturally, this can apply to a fear of success. The fear of the unknown and uncertainty can contribute to their anxiety surrounding achieving success. People with anxiety might predict all of the things that could go wrong if success were to be achieved, thus wanting to avoid it.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder involves an intense fear of social situations. It also includes the fear of being judged or scrutinized by others. Therefore, people with social anxiety may fear the attention, visibility, and potential judgment that can come with success. The fear of public exposure and the pressure to interact with others in professional settings can exacerbate this.

Perfectionistic Personality Traits

Perfectionism, which can be a personality trait or a part of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), often involves setting excessively high standards for oneself and fear of making mistakes. These people may fear success because they believe it will increase expectations and the pressure to maintain an impossible level of perfection. The fear of falling short or making mistakes can contribute to their achievemephobia.

Perfectionistic Personality Traits

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Individuals with avoidant personality disorder experience intense feelings of inadequacy, fear of rejection, and discomfort in social situations. People with this disorder may fear success due to concerns about increased attention, exposure, and potential criticism or rejection. They may avoid pursuing opportunities for success to prevent potential discomfort or negative evaluation from others.

Dependent Personality Disorder

DPD involves an excessive need for others’ approval and support. This leads to a fear of being alone or taking independent action. Individuals with DPD may fear success because it could lead to increased expectations, independence, or self-reliance. The fear of losing the support or validation of others can contribute to their fear of achieving success.


Depression can impact one’s motivation, self-esteem, and sense of worth. Individuals with depression may fear success due to feelings of unworthiness, self-doubt, and a belief that achieving success won’t improve their overall well-being. The fear may also stem from concerns about being unable to maintain success due to the debilitating symptoms of depression.

10 Tips to Move Past a Fear of Success

Here are ten tips for people who are struggling with success anxiety and want to overcome it:

Recognize and acknowledge your fear

The first step is to become aware of your fear of success and acknowledge its presence. Understanding that it is a common fear and that you’re not alone can help you approach it with greater clarity. There’s no shame in experiencing achievemephobia. There’s no shame in experiencing any of the mental health conditions that might make you more prone to achievemephobia.

Challenge your beliefs

Examine the beliefs and thoughts that underlie your fear of success. Question whether they are rational or based on evidence. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and realistic perspectives.

Set realistic expectations

Recognize that success doesn’t mean perfection or a flawless journey. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Understand that setbacks and challenges are a normal part of the process.

10 Tips to Move Past a Fear of Success

Break goals down into manageable steps

Success can seem overwhelming when viewed as one big leap. Break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps. Focus on one step at a time, celebrating each milestone along the way.

Turn to your support system

Reach out to friends, family, or mentors who can provide encouragement and support. Share your fears and concerns with trusted individuals who can offer guidance and reassurance. You might be surprised to find that people you really admire also experience achievemephobia.

Challenge perfectionism

Let go of the need for perfection. Instead, embrace the concept of growth and progress. Understand that mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning and improvement, rather than reflections of your worth.

Visualize success

Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself achieving success and visualize the positive outcomes. Embrace positive imagery and allow yourself to feel the emotions associated with success. As you get increasingly comfortable with imagined success, you can get increasingly comfortable with real success.

Celebrate your achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Celebrating your successes can help build confidence and reinforce positive associations with achieving your goals.

celebrate your achievements

Practice self-compassion

Be kind to yourself throughout the process. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Remember that everyone experiences setbacks and fears, and you deserve kindness and support.

Therapy can help

If your fear of success significantly impacts your life and well-being, consider seeking support from a therapist. They can provide guidance, help you explore the underlying causes of your fear, and develop strategies to overcome it.

Ready to work with a therapist to move past your fear of success? We would love to help. Contact us today to work with a therapist.

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